Boost Your Startup’s PR Strategy With These Four Action Steps

Maria 01 interviewed John Cozzi from San Francisco Agency, to figure out how a startup should get started when building their PR strategy.

PR is the reputation business. PR is how well the public relates to your organisation. It’s about engaging with influencers, media, journalists, and getting earned media coverage.

John Cozzi

PR is not a one-time action activity but an active process of relationship building. It is very common to misunderstand this process by sticking to the old thinking “ I’ll contact the PR guy James for our product launch”. Scratch that. Doing PR is all about standing out from the crowd and building networks and connections with the right people. Whether you’re a startup or corporate, every business needs meaningful relationships.

The benefits of doing PR in your company are significant when done right. Even if you are early into your company, building brand recognition should be in your books from day one. Building brand recognition through PR will help your company gain credibility in front of your customers and investors. Being in the right media at the right time, with a great message lets investors know that you’re a viable and worthwhile company who deserves their time and money.

Making great products is one thing, but your story and purpose is the thing that people really connect with. If you have a great product or service and an interesting story to back it up with, investors are far more likely to be interested in your company. If you’re active in the PR scene, through time when you publish relevant updates, this will start to turn into a strong lead generation tool for your business.

Nailing your strategy

A key part of any successful PR strategy is to understand clearly who you’re helping with your product/service because that is exactly who you want to reach. Everything in your business boils down to “the problem you’re solving in someone’s life”. Regardless of whether you’re early into your startup, you need to understand who you’re helping and communicate that in your company updates.

Here are some easy steps that will help you put your thoughts in order when deep diving in the PR scene:

1. Clarify Your Messaging

Let’s say you already have an idea of the most relevant outlets for your story. This is rather self-explanatory, but to steer yourself in the right direction, ask yourself the following questions first:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What is the problem you are helping them solve?
  • What is the solution you offer for their problem?
  • What will be the impact of your solution on their lives?

Once you have answered these questions, craft a message that stays away from industry jargon. The only exception is if you are writing for an outlet that is so niche, that you really need the jargon. You always want to make sure that your message is the best possible fit for your audience.

2. Set Up Short- And Long-Term Business Goals

It is recommended that you set both short- and long-term goals for your PR activities that support your overall business goals. As an example, if you’re looking to enter a new market, you need to think about generating media hits around specific keywords and industry trends that will make you visible to potential customers online.

Map your goals and schedule your actions!

3. Deep Dive In The Media Landscape

Doing PR is not just about mapping the media outlets and becoming friends with the journalists. Some of your time has to go into investigating your direct and indirect competitors. Something as simple as checking for stories that are being written about them and trending topics will paint a better picture of the stories that work and those that you should avoid.

On top of this, come up with a new story or update you can send to the journalists of your choice every month or so — as long as it’s newsworthy. Consider the audience you’re working with. For example, if you need visibility with investors, keep them in the loop with partnership releases or even case studies — you need to show them your business is growing.

4. Track Your Media Hits, Learn And Optimise

You should always track your media hits. A great way to do this is with a tool like CoverageBook which can estimate the online readership, coverage views, social shares, and domain authority of the outlets writing about you. This will give a very clear overview of what worked and what you need to improve in the future. Use an agile process of optimisation to continually improve your PR effectiveness.

Finally, do not wait until it’s too late to do PR. Sometimes you’ve worked so hard on a new product or service that you’ve forgotten to tell anyone about it. As much as timing is pivotal for market entry, timing in PR is just as important. You may not be ready to issue your first press release but you should be talking to journalists and the media today. We suggest you download the San Francisco PR Plan Template to get started. DO IT!

About San Francisco Agency

San Francisco Agency is the first marketing agency in Finland to offer integrated marketing & PR services and focus on internationalising growth companies. It is headquartered in Helsinki and founded in 2009.

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