PR For Startups: Busting the Most Common Myths

By Pablo Londoño Published: 18 September, 2018 Last updated: February 18th, 2022 at 10:02 am

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Despite the fact that PR has been around since the early 1900s, it still holds an air of mystery, even in 2019. CEOs of growing businesses still struggle to understand PR’s role in achieving their goals, or how exactly to implement it.  

Because of PR’s supposed complexity, it is often easy to dismiss it as something a company does not need, or to misunderstand its role entirely. Failing to address these misconceptions early on commonly leads to future frustrations and stunted company growth. When coming up with a PR campaign for your startup or your business, it’s important to check expectations against reality.

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PR Myth: PR will make my company become a thought leader in no time

Reality: The reason why startups reach out to PR agencies is that they know how to help businesses project a positive and interesting image of the company to their target audience. Image is everything: it can boost a company’s business or lead it to the worst possible scenario.

To survive in today’s market, exposure is a key factor when it comes to attracting media. So prior to becoming a thought leader, your company needs to generate awareness and attract enough attention. When someone, whether it be a journalist or a blog or website, etc., writes positively about you, your company and your product or service, it provides you with credibility—the credibility your audience is looking for.

PR can in fact help your company become a thought leader in a specific field. But without the right product or service, your business is doomed to become a small fish in a big pond. PR can help to get your startup the attention it deserves, and excellent PR has given many companies the reputation of being thought leaders, but this goes hand in hand with an innovation that targets a gap in the market. Without that, it is practically impossible to achieve the reputation a business needs to survive.

PR Myth: I don’t have an announcement, so I can’t get in the press

Reality: Regardless of whether your business has an announcement or not, you still should focus on getting some media coverage. Given today’s constant urgency to stand out from the host of other startups and businesses, it definitely makes sense to always promote your name and business as much as possible. After all, maintaining a public presence is an important factor if you want to thrive in today’s highly competitive scenario. But how can you make a media appearance when you haven’t got anything new to announce, or say?

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PR processes are based upon two basic pillars on which PR campaigns rely: announcements via press releases and guest articles. However, the main objective of PR lies beyond announcing new things. It’s possible, and even necessary, to maintain a public image through guest articles. Remember that PR is a tool for raising awareness, building the image of your startup or your company, and, subsequently, achieving sustainable growth.

Thus, via increased media coverage and guest articles you can become an industry leader and establish your startup and yourself as an authority in your own field. By doing so you will be ensuring more media coverage down the line.

PR Myth: PR will make me appear in the first page of Google Results

Reality: When combined, PR and SEO can be a powerful combination for improving page rankings. Press releases should include ranked keywords within the text so it gets syndicated in search engines— so you should use them in the title, headers and the body of the text.

Remember to avoid generic keywords with both inbound and outbound links, and share a link to your press release on your social media channels and your company blog. Try not to use jargon and make your press releases clear, concise and understandable. If your press release happens to be covered by industry media, you will find yourself on the verge of a snowball effect: the higher the awareness, the better the chances your company, product or service stands of being covered by journalists or bloggers.

Get all the resources you need to write professional press releases and turbo charge your media coverage with our Startup Press Release Toolkit:

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PR Myth: It’s impossible to measure the effectiveness of PR

Expectation: This is one of the most common misconceptions. It is understandable that CEOs and decision-makers need to feel confident that their investments will result in an attractive ROI. When it comes to PR, measuring its effectiveness and its impact can be quite laborious; however, there are several ways to measure the effectiveness of a specific PR campaign.

First, calculating the number of media impressions for a previously defined period is a wise way to evaluate and assess PR campaigns. This depends, of course, on who is mentioning you: if the New York Times mentions you and it has, let’s say, a circulation of three million, then you achieved three million media impressions.

Media impressions actually go hand in hand with press clippings. The number of press clippings that mention either your startup, your business or your product or services. It’s a good method to raise awareness and generate higher-quality conversations about your company.

Man looking at a screen displaying metrics

Additionally, journalists want more than simple press releases and guest articles these days—they actually crave content. Content analysis is another way to assess whether or not your PR efforts are resulting in a positive ROI. Did the journalist mention your message the way you wanted to? Is your product or service being addressed properly and in a positive way? Prior to answering “Does a PR campaign work?” you have to evaluate whether the coverage you’re receiving is generating high-quality content and high-quality conversations.

Other Important Metrics

There are of course other metrics you should pay attention to:

  • Website traffic —is your company receiving more traffic after launching a PR campaign?
  • Number of leads
  • Conversion rate – how many of those leads became customers?
  • Lead source – how did they hear about you? You may be surprised at how many of them actually come as a consequence of a PR campaigns
  • Social Media Mentions —are you being mentioned on social media? Are people talking about you and your company, products or services?

The aforementioned metrics will definitely help you stop wondering whether PR works and grasp a much deeper insight on how PR can help you grow your business.

Are you ready to step up your PR game? Take the following quiz and find out how your PR strategy stacks up!


Learn how your startup can create a valuable PR strategy after investing time, effort and resources into a new venture: