Why PR is crucial for start-ups

When you haven’t got much of a marketing budget, or your business is shiny and new, then it is the perfect time to approach the media with your story. Whether you want the ensuing publicity to create awareness of your business, its founders or to attract investor interest, you can never underestimate the power of editorial coverage.

What publicity will bring to your business is credibility. The implied endorsement of an editor or inclusion in an industry magazine or newsletter makes your business seem ‘real’ to the readers. It gives it gravitas, if you will.

And why is PR crucial if you have a small or limited marketing budget? Because it gives you more ‘bang for your buck’ than any other form of marketing. If you do it yourself, you can get the ball rolling with a media release and media contact lists for well under $1000. Then you just send it out and follow up with the media yourself. If you advertise you should know that you need to place more than one ad to start to gain awareness.  And if you want coverage in the leading business media, then you will need to have to dip into your pockets for any coverage other than editorial.

So if you want to get awareness of your business and money is tight, then PR is the way to go. And DIY PR is the most cost-effective option.

How to get coverage in the media if you have a start-up

Luck is on your side if you are an entrepreneur or the owner of a start-up with an interesting story to tell. Business journalists love to hear directly from the owner of the business so DIY PR is an obvious way to go. Even if you used an agency they would probably just do the initial intro and then the journalist would want to speak to the owner or founder of the business anyway! Kath Walters, BRW and AFR journalist, says that the best pitches she gets are ‘from the CEO of a company’.

The first thing to know if you want coverage in the business media is that you should tailor your pitch to each journalist. Know the media that they write for – and ideally the topics they like to cover – and work out the best angle for that journalist. Then either call (their preference) or email the story and offer it to the journalist as an exclusive.

Next article: Some of the things you might want to consider when working out the right story angle.

Jules Brooke, founder and owner, Handle Your Own PR


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