The Five Keys to PR Success for Tech Startups
When it comes to startups, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all PR and marketing strategy.
Over the last eleven years, KCD PR has worked with dozens of startups of all shapes and sizes in a variety of different industries including artificial intelligence, robotics, financial data, payments, cybersecurity, and enterprise software. Creating a PR strategy that serves the needs of the startup differs from that of a larger, more established organization. Startups looking for funding or building their customer base from scratch don’t often have the same resources as a well-known brand. They must be scrappy with nearly everything they do, including PR.
Here are the top five tips to building a tailored public relations strategy that integrates PR as a critical business function, and ultimately meets each startup’s unique goals.
Tip #1: Focus on building relationships with reporters in the media.
Public relations is, after all, a relationship business. Avoid jumping the gun by using the tactic of pumping out fluffed press releases that the media is unlikely to cover. Instead, begin by building relationships with reporters by reaching out and introducing the company and offering value as an expert open to providing commentary on topics in the startup’s field.
Tip #2: Build a voice for the vision
Create a clear, concise company messaging that is easy for the media to digest. A common mistake many startups make is to start their messaging by describing the product itself. Good company messaging does not merely describe what you do but instead paints a picture of what you can do for your customers. It’s your secret sauce that makes your startup indispensable to the target audience. Avoid getting wrapped up in the technical features your product or service contains and instead voice your vision for the effects your startup will have on its target audience.
Tip #3: Hire a PR agency as your strategic partner
If you are a small team, be sure to assign a person who will be able to work closely with the PR agency. Many startup CEO’s simply don’t have the time to work closely with an agency and that doesn’t help either party. You will need to invest time in the PR team to attain the best ROI.
Tip #3a: Don’t hire a PR agency if you’re not ready for a strategic partner
Many startups just aren’t ready to work closely with a PR agency partner. In some cases, it can simply be budget-related, but in many instances, a marketing and PR strategy is only as good as a business strategy. If you’re still trying to figure out your business model and don’t have the resources to work closely with an agency on marketing and communications, then you’re not ready.
Tip #4 Focus on key segments that attract interest from prospects
Unless you are a disruptive startup like Uber or Tesla in the early days, you’ll need to focus on differentiating to attract media attention. Have an agency or internal team that can create and drive a targeted PR strategy. For some clients, this means engaging critical industry trade media to help them on-trend stories and pain points impacting the industry that your startup can help solve.
Tip #5 Solve a pain point for your audience
Focus on a trend or pain point and how your product solves it. The media is increasingly ignoring product announcements unrelated to the current pandemic, or if it’s not a game-changer to an industry. Too many startup founders lead with products when they should lead with outputs – e.g. we solve this problem, pain point, and so on.
When implemented correctly, public relations can serve as a springboard for a startup’s growth and success. Aside from the obvious benefit of publicity, public relations serves as a medium for entrepreneurs to gain credibility, visibility, and stand out amongst its competitors. Many investors place importance on what well-recognized journalists have to say about a new business when making investment decisions. It is almost impossible to overestimate the long terms results of a well-tailored PR campaign when paired with a stellar team.