As mentioned in a previous article, PR still holds an air of mystery instead of being thought of as tool to communicate your product or service effectively. Startups and entrepreneurs need enough attention in order to gain more exposure and awareness while also growing their audience. But how can they achieve that when the market is full of larger, well-known companies? It’s like a newer version of the big pond – small fish story, and if you don’t want to be the small fish, it’s going to take some hard work.
The big fishes —well-known and established mega corporations— receive tons of media attention almost effortlessly, whereas new startups —the small fishes— have almost zero budget and almost zero exposure and recognition. So, the question still remains open. How does a startup or a small business grab media attention? The answer is quite simple —by developing a unique set of tactics, and that’s where PR comes into play.
First, a word of caution: don’t do it on your own
If you are considering getting started with PR, then bear in mind that many entrepreneurs and startups still consider PR as an unnecessary expense. However, it is important to note that PR, just like many other marketing strategies, has its own magic. The market is full of stories of founders who decided to take that road alone, only to see things go south sooner than they anticipated.
As an entrepreneur, you definitely don’t want to receive negative press, especially if you just launched your startup. Negative press is like a scar: it’s hard to get it off even if you want to. The market is full of businesses that failed in their early stages because of a bad review or bad press. Once your company or your startup is ready, tell your story.
PR is your ally!
Although there are several ways to calculate the ROI from media coverage, every single statistic suggests including PR tactics are an advantage for businesses regardless of their size.
Studies show that Public Relations allow businesses to convert up to 50% more than traditional advertising, and even outperforms branded content in terms of effectiveness.
Most mega corporations today were startups in the past. Airbnb and Uber, for example, as many other startups that are in the big leagues today, used PR strategically to get to this point. This simply suggests that PR offers something different, something traditional advertising cannot produce. If you are an entrepreneur and want to tell your story while scaling up your startup you need to invest in PR.
Here are several PR tactics that will help you attain all the exposure you deserve:
Identify the story you want to tell
Defining your message and establishing your PR goals will definitely set you on the right path and will prevent you from making mistakes. Ask yourself questions to get to the bottom of why exactly you need media exposure:
- Is your story associated with increasing your current sales?
- Do you want to attract more leads?
- Is your primary objective about gaining more exposure and increasing awareness?
- Do you seek to establish yourself as a thought leader in a specific field?
All of the aforementioned aspects are in summary PR goals. Once you have identified what you want to achieve through PR and build a compelling message around it you are ready to take the next step.
Be creative with your message
Being noticed amid today’s fierce competition is no less than a daunting challenge: the market is full of much larger companies with much larger budgets. How to stand out? With creativity! When coming up with your story choose subjects that are enticing for your audience: your own launch, or a new product or service, or a rebranding announcement. Being a startup means it is rather difficult to compete with well-established companies (imagine sending out your message at the same time as Sony is sending out theirs), so pay special attention to the timing so you don’t fall through the cracks.
It’s all about storytelling!
Storytelling is one of the most tried and tested PR tactics. Storytelling has the power to create a bond with your target audience on several levels, especially on an emotional one. We all know how powerful emotions can be, and you can use it to your favor when engaging journalists about your startup and your announcement.
In fact, storytelling is an ongoing process that starts way before you choose the topic you want to announce. It starts by choosing a subject that can develop itself into an engaging story. Pretend you are the journalist here: what would your audience want to read about? Once you outline everything regarding the topic you’ve chosen, you will be able to see whether your story will be engaging enough for a journalist to pick it —anticipate weak points and be prepared for questions.