PR For Beginners
Creating a startup is a lot of work and PR for beginners can seem like a daunting task. But it really comes down to avoiding certain things while building contacts. When the public relations, or “PR” for a startup initially begins the most common mistake is putting all of the companies eggs into the publication basket. For example, a tech company may be aiming for a shout out from TechCrunch but keep in mind that they don’t pay the bills. While that might be a desirable publication in the tech industry it not only is a difficult goal to achieve but the efforts of the company can be useful in other places. A startup that can provide an expert service or product to its customers can benefit in so many other ways when it comes to PR.
First it’s crucial to make sure a clear product or service line has been defined for the business. Otherwise press coverage and publications are a rather large mistake. How can a company meet the demands of new customers if there is no product organization? The simple answer; it can’t. Being ready for the customers being sought by the PR campaign is a most important first step. However, if these things have been established then it’s time to start seeking out good relationships for PR.
PR For Beginners vs. HR
When building a relationship with journalists or potential partners and news outlets keep in mind that they are people as well. Contacting said individuals only when the business needs them is a great way to kill a friendly asset. Consider making contact months before seeking any PR from anyone. Viewing the daily public relations of the startup is a two way street and it can garner close ties that will bring more than just good PR.
Examine the difference between PR and “HR” or human relations. While the startup needs relationships with the public to be on a large scale and in a positive light, its more beneficial to treat these contacts as friends. Actually, they shouldn’t be thought of as just “contacts” at any point. There is a benefit that keeps on giving when publishers and news sources know that your startup is committed to not only its product but to being helpful towards its own PR sources. Journalists have a huge workload and promoting a friendship between them and the business can help them cut out a lot of the initial busywork of publishing. The same publishing that’s promoting the startup, so build friendly terms with as many sources as you can.
A sales pitch on a cold email or phone call is so commonplace with startups. The goal should be to stand above whats typical for gaining PR. Again, the effort shown in making friends will help with this as well. It leaves a lasting impression that the company will keep giving back as a business and not just drop off the face of the planet when the PR push is over. It can also come off as desperation. Imagine a write receiving a pitch with absolutely no thought or care put into it from a company they have never heard of before. The first thought is usually: “How badly do they need this PR”?
Social Media Is Your Friend
The value of social media shouldn’t be lost in the effort to gain friendships. But be aware of the same cookie-cutter responses and desperate attempts at attention. Take time to monitor Twitter, Facebook or whichever outlet is relevant to the startup. Some of the best free PR is as simple as responding to questions, concerns and generally being involved with the community surrounding the product. Using social media as a base for growing PR can be immensely beneficial.
Journalists and news outlets are as big a part of social media as the company should aim to be. Take advantage of that! Thinking ahead of time about whom would be beneficial to make friends with and referencing not only their work but their individual knowledge is a fantastic thing to do on social media. Not to mention all potential customers can see the relationships growing between the startup and its press outlets. This looks professional and can bring traffic to the very journalists who are making or breaking the PR efforts for the business. Scratch their back and they will take care of the startup in their own way.
Word Travels Fast
This presents a unique idea that the business isn’t trying to get something for nothing. That attitude rarely works in the favor of startups and can kill PR for beginners before it even begins. If journalists are networking with each other, and they are, but a startup can’t see past getting what they want then every journalist in the corresponding network will know that. First impressions are important with social media because of the transparency involved. However, transparency is truly an asset of the company.
If a writer or news outlet simply says “no” a more tenacious startup may try to pressure them into changing their mind. This is a huge mistake for beginners trying to gain PR. Nothing can destroy a relationship that may have been built up even over months of time more quickly. As stated above journalists are busy and this ultimately could be a workload that they cant handle right now. Be patient! There is no such thing as a wasted connection and even if they say no this time, in the future it may be more convenient. Make it easy for PR to approach your business after your initial pitch by taking a solid “no” in stride.
In closing its key to remember that media coverage is not equal to the startups success. Product is. The product being offered is what keeps the customers once the PR has bought them. So if the company doesn’t have a product to back up all the PR they have brought themselves then they essentially just wasted time and money. The initial PR for beginners is important but eventually PR will run its course and the company will have to rely on the customers that remain loyal to their services.
Still feeling intimidated by your startups first PR push? PromoAffiliates specializes in networking and can help you build the relationships that can bring your business to the top. We offer free consultation and world-class service.