If you want your Startup to succeed, you need visibility. There is no doubt you need a good idea and a responsive Target Market, but visibility is key and there is no better way to gain visibility than through PR.
PR will help you get noticed by both customers and investors, driving sales and potential investors forward. Most successful companies have their in-house PR department to promote their products and brands, but they obviously have the budget for that. As a Startup, it is unlikely you have such a big part of your budget to dedicate to PR, so we’ll be looking at ways to do PR on a shoe string.
Take every opportunity to connect with journalists. Search carefully and thoroughly for journalists who could help you spread the word in your industry (for the expert in your field), but also the ones who reach out to consumers.
Invest time and effort in connecting with journalists and nurturing them. Make sure you invite them to any product launch and company public events. Also keep in mind that journalists are avid for content so the more you provide them with fresh interesting content, the more you are likely to get it published. This can be done by drafting Press Releases that look at the business or the idea from a particular angle. Any product launch, product update or exclusive information could trigger them to write about you.
The more connections you have, the most likely you are to have the “right” ones. And a simple “very good” connection could earn you a lot of publicity. It could also help you in turn connect with the right people, including journalists.
Another good way is to target the relevant publications directly. You might be able to get an article published when buying advertising space. It doubles the exposure to give you more coverage. Moreover, buying the advertising can be a good bargaining tool for getting an article published. Make sure you target both industry based and consumer targeted publications.
The public (& therefore journalists!) are always very interested in company founders. So make sure you align with the image of your company. Ensure you transpire the qualities of an entrepreneur, are confident and look the part. If people find you interesting, they are more likely to be interested in your business. Many founders have become the image of their company. Think of people like Sir Richard Branson (Virgin), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Mark Ashley (Sports Direct) or even Lord Sugar (Amstrad) just to name a few. They definitely drive their company’s PR, bringing massive exposure and therefore Sales.
So who knows, if you do it well and are lucky enough to be charismatic, you could be the next Richard Branson!