Whilst many tech startups dream to feature in Forbes or Techcrunch, featuring in these media outlets will not necessarily help you attract clients or achieve your startup PR goals. A good PR strategy can help you gain relevant press coverage with your target audience which can help you acquire potential customers or investors. This article explains the basics of PR and how to prioritise your PR efforts to grow your business.
What is PR?
Public relations (PR) is the set of activities involved in influencing how the media and the public tell your story. Advertising is the opposite of PR in the sense that you can control your story. Establishing media contacts, explaining what you do, sharing your thought leadership with journalists as well as news worthy stories are some examples of PR activities.
What are the benefits of PR?
Investing in PR efforts can help elevate the brand awareness of your company name with target clients. For example, if your sales cycle requires support from many buyers in an organisation, targeted PR efforts can help you gain awareness with stakeholders which can help you close deals. B2C companies can also benefit from PR if their product or app is easy-to-use and can be adopted massively. When media outlets quote your company online you will also receive backlinks to your website which can increase the credibility of your website domain and in turn help improve your online visibility in search engines. Developing your PR strategy alongside your SEO efforts can increase the impact of your efforts by increasing the likelihood of your stories being found by your target audience on search engines.
How to define your PR strategy?
Before doing any PR, it is important to define your target audience in order to understand where they source their information and what types of content they read in order to make decisions. For example, small business owners might follow entrepreneurial media outlets and read articles from bloggers on medium. You can then identify journalists, influencers and bloggers who cover topics relevant to your business and start building media relations by sharing feedback on their content and identifying opportunities to collaborate. This can be in the form of content, thought leadership, an invitation to a podcast a review of your product or services or news that might be of interest to them. Running PR campaigns helps manage these outreach efforts and track conversion metrics so that you can work towards meeting your media coverage goals.
Early-stage startups should invest in their content marketing strategy early on as this will give the journalists and bloggers you are targeting a preview of who you are and the vision of your company which will in turn increase the likelihood of them accepting to collaborate. Your social media channels can also be used to amplify your PR efforts by distributing your media features to a wider audience. For example, a B2B startup can reach potential clients by sharing their press releases on LinkedIn. Startups can choose to build their own in-house PR team within marketing or hire a PR firm depending on the strategic value of PR for their business, their stage and budget.
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When to send a Press Release?
Not all news is worthy of a press release which is why it is important to plan and review your company's upcoming news to determine what should be released or not. For example, a new product feature is not always worthy of a general press release but it can be released internally to your product users. However, a new product launch is rarer and novel and can therefore be released to the press. News should not be released to the press if it should be kept confidential. Moreover, you can choose to release news exclusively to a media outlet and can put an embargo on you news story until you are ready to publish it.
How to draft a Press Release?
You can stick to a simple template when drafting your press releases. Use an attention grabbing headline followed by a short paragraph which describes the news followed by quotes from key figures involved in the news. You can then end the release with an about section which briefly describes your startup and contact details. You can also work with a PR agency to craft and distribute your press releases. PR agencies are usually paid a retainer and will build media relations for you whilst identifying opportunities to share your story.
In conclusion, every new business should consider PR as a way of amplifying their brand awareness and reaching their target audience. PR campaigns help structure your goals and monitor your results. Media outreach efforts are likely to be successful if you can take a collaborative angle with journalists and clearly identify how you can create value for them. You can partner with a PR agency to build those collaborative relationships, position your company as a thought leader and design your press releases or you can invest in your own in-house team.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.