To PR or Not to PR? Startup Owners Get Lots of Advice

ribbon cuttingIf you are the owner of a startup company looking to promote your business, you may find a lot of conflicting information out there. Just enter “PR for startups” in a Google search and watch pages of articles loaded with advice come up.

There are articles with tips from PR pros and journalists, the business owners who proclaim you can – and should – do your own PR, and even a “virtual PR firm” that takes the place of an actual PR person. It’s all out there for you to choose from, if you have the time and the inclination to do it.

While it’s true that most startups don’t have a large budget for public relations, they also don’t have much time to do all of the recommended activities on their own.

We do not advocate spending money on a PR firm if it’s a struggle to do so; that just spells disappointment for everyone because effective public relations often takes time. What we do suggest is that you come up with a simple strategy and a clear message to identify your target markets and how you are likely to reach them.

Many people think that PR is synonymous with media relations, but there is so much more to it. Yes, public relations people do try to get their organizations media coverage, but media coverage is part of the overall strategy. A flurry of media coverage that doesn’t hit the target market is useless.

The most important things to think of when developing a strategy for a promoting a new business are:

  • Who am I? Remember, at first you are selling yourself, your credentials, your abilities and your record of success.
  • What is my product (or service) and why is it different? This is especially important in a crowded marketplace.
  • Who would be interested in what I’m selling? This is your target market.
  • How do I reach my target market? What tactics are likely to work?
  • What will move my target market to buy my product or service? This is your message – the “What’s in it for me” that your would-be customer wants to hear.

Only after you have answered these questions should you consider implementing a public relations program.

Posted by Margot Dimond