Possibly the most exciting time in the life of a startup is when you are ready to reveal your product or service to the world. It’s also the scariest. The pressure’s on; will people like it and think it’s any good? Will you sell enough product to pay Grandma back the loan? And how do you even go about telling people about it? No doubt everyone around you, including your Uber driver, will be giving you advice on what they think you should be doing. It might be Facebook ads, SEO, Adwords, eDMs, but what about PR? Should you be considering the addition of PR strategy in the mix?
Yes, you absolutely should. Why?
1. To build trust and credibility
It makes your company and your product real when someone not connected to your company writes about you. When someone searches for your brand, they will find stories written by independent journalists and that says so much more than an ad ever can. People are far more willing to purchase a product reported on by trusted media.
2. Move up in Google rankings
Google looks for genuine, trustworthy content so if a trade magazine mentions your company and links to your website then this will increase your ranking on Google, too.
3. Lead generation
When your brand appears in the media, it naturally raises your profile. People read or hear about it and it puts you front of mind. The phone starts to ring and your web traffic shoots up. Now you just need to convert them!
4. Boost employee and investor morale
Your early employees may have been working their socks off for months, even years, prior to launching. Seeing the company’s name up in lights can be a real boost and motivator. It reinforces that they backed the right horse.
5. Educate potential customers
Telling people what your product or service is about is particularly important if you are shaking up an established category.
6. Attract great talent
Don’t underestimate the power of media coverage when you’re looking for the right people to work for you. Much of the success of small businesses is based on the people they employ.
7. Position yourself as an expert.
One of the best ways of securing media coverage is to put yourself forward as an expert in your area. Not only does this raise your personal profile, but also it cements the foundations of your business and further establishes the credibility of your company.
8. Draw in investment offers.
If you’re looking for funding in order to scale up, then getting mentioned in the press is a good way to attract the attention of potential investors. With the right messaging and a well thought out approach, you become all the more appealing to those looking for new companies to back.
So you’re convinced your business needs that boost PR can give, but how to do you go about getting some of that magic?
Well you have two options. You could hire a PR agency. Engaging a PR agency can be expensive; most agencies won’t touch you if you don’t have a budget of at least $4000 per month, that’s $48,000 a year! And it’s unlikely you’ve got that kind of cash floating around to begin with.
So the other option is to do it yourself. It might sound scary, but if you’ve got a good story and a good product then the media genuinely wants to hear from you and they’d much rather hear from the founder of a business directly. The key is to do it right first time. Our online tool, I Do My Own PR, enables small businesses to do their own PR properly so they can build their own relationships directly with the media key to their success.
Jocelyne Simpson, Co-Founder, www.idomyownpr.com