Listen up entrepreneurs and start-ups! I need to tell you something – when you invest in Public Relations, it is a bit like a marathon, rather than a 100m sprint race. It takes time to build a brand and an authentic leadership voice in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And yes, it requires an investment of time, ideas, and actions. Make sure you make every dollar count.
Richard Branson, a global start-up legend and Founder of the Virgin empire once said that “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”
And he’s 100% right.
But … and this is a big BUT …
The truth is this – no matter how good your product is, how innovative your technology, or how successful your ‘to market’ strategy is; no matter how big your profit margins are or how impressive your CEO is, the mainstream media really needs you to be “good media talent”.
Every business is special and has a lot to offer its audience … But I’m speaking from 25 years of experience here. Furthermore, if I’m really being honest, serendipity really can play a big part in whether you get three pages, two paragraphs, or any social media hits when it comes to PR.
Yes, there are some fundamental principles behind every PR campaign, and a lot of research too, but sometimes even the most considered strategy or solid news story can fall flat, simply because there are no ‘sure-fire’ PR guarantees.
Those who succeed are agile and don’t stop pursuing relationships with the right media. It just takes time, consistency, and creativity to get long-term traction when it comes to media engagement. PR is an essential element of any marketing campaign and that remains.
Most people running a start-up won’t have a massive budget for marketing, communications, and PR – that’s to be expected.
Here I’ve put together some top tips so you can avoid costly mistakes!
Above all – and this is critical – if you’re embarking on PR then be prepared.
Biggest tip: journalists are ALWAYS on deadline. So have headshots ready, or make sure that your spokesperson is camera-ready, or zoom-ready. Make sure you’ve got logos in different formats, that your website is up and running, and that you have an up-to-date company profile or an annual report. Also, make sure that your spokesperson is absolutely 100% crystal clear about your message, and media training is always important before you pitch to a journalist. You don’t always get a do-over… so make sure you have everything lined up at your end, ready to go.
It’s a good idea to have a media folder that you can add to over time so that whatever you’re asked for, it’s current, and at your fingertips.
Remember that when you’re embarking on a PR campaign, planning is vital. There will be key dates in the year (International Women’s Day, or End of Financial Year, for example) that you can organise well in advance but if you’re jumping on a story that’s current, then you need to be prepared to GO FOR IT. Newsjacking works. The news waits for nobody!
Other things to consider: