Public Relations For a Startup Venture

Public Relations (PR) is the spreading of a company’s information to it’s selected target audiences. It’s also a term that is less spoken about in the entrepreneur world because many entrepreneurs forget to implement a PR strategy in their business plan.

Most likely due to the amount of work that is required in managing the day to day operations of their startup. Despite this, effective public relations is a necessary tool that allows entrepreneurs to stay in constant contact and maintain channels of communication with their specified target audiences.

PR helps to:

Keep potential customers informed about the company & any product information

Reassure startup investors about the future and success of the company

Expose a startup’s brand in front of industry media outlets

Nowadays, PR is seen as more integrative. Integrative Marketing is a term commonly used to describe a communication tactic where companies blend public relations and marketing strategies together.

With the rise of social media, many PR and Marketing strategies often overlap. Which also makes it easy to incorporate into your startup marketing strategy.

By now you’ve identified the objectives and goals for your startup. Here are PR strategies you can use to accomplish them:

Brand Messaging

An overall branding plan is essential for any startup. From a well-thought out name for your company, to logos and brand colors, branding helps to give an image to your products and services.

When releasing information about company updates such as the launch of a website, events taking place or even social media updates, it’s important that any information released to the public reflects favorably upon and aligns cohesively with the brand identified.

Online Press Kits

In the PR world, press kits are created with the purpose of giving media outlets (journalists) the correct information when they write a feature or make a media mention of the company. Press Kits generally consist of PR materials such as Press Releases, Backgrounders, and Fact Sheets.

For entrepreneurs, having an online press kit can be as simple as having professional bios of your startup’s board members and CEO listed on the website so that members of the media know how to spell it right.

Having a sidebar with links to media mentions of your company also goes a long way towards highlighting the success of your company in front of your audience.

Social Media

As I mentioned above when implementing brand messaging strategies, social media sites for your company should resemble each other and adhere to brand strategies. For example, all social media sites should have a recognizable logo and name of your company/website URL listed so that onlookers can easily identify.

It’s also important to coach any social media managers about the brand identity and personality of your company so that they know the specific tone of social media updates they should write.

For instance, maybe your social media manager thinks a certain political belief or comedic joke is entertaining. If your company’s brand values professionalism and doesn’t want to alienate followers, you should explain this to social media managers well in advance.

Newsworthy Events

A great way to attract the right kinds of attention from media outlets and those in your target audiences. You can even utilize the strategy of using press kits to highlight details of these events in press releases.

However, what may seem newsworthy to your company may not exactly be the same as the media outlet you’re trying to court for publicity.

A great way to pinpoint what will interest media outlets is to find out the kinds of topics or beats that these reporters typically cover. 9 times out of 10, if your event lines up with a topic that this reporter regularly covers, you can rest assure that your event will be covered.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a great way to jump start the effort to gain attention for your company. Influencers are well respected, influential individuals in your company’s industry. Influencers can also be clients who have had positive experiences working with your company.

Past clients can post client testimonials to your company website so that prospective clients can get a sense for how your company interacts with clients.

Additionally, hiring brand ambassadors through an internship program or paying hourly can be a great way to spread awareness of your company’s brand messaging to your target audiences at industry events. Related: Why Your Company Needs to Hire Brand Ambassadors

Investor Relations

Investors of your startup most likely invested funds because they were impressed with your business plan and believed in the future of the company. However, it’s important to always keep investors informed of any major decisions being made.

For instance, any decisions such as your company hiring new talent, looking to expand, or partner with other companies for sponsorship warrants being in communication with investors.

Monthly contact to investors go a long way towards maintaining an investor’s support in your company. A great way to show appreciation for your investors is to plan a party for investors thanking them for their support.

Crisis Communication

An important, yet sometimes forgetful element of public relations. It’s one thing to implement brand strategies and messages. But, what happens when these strategies fail?

For example, perhaps a tweet from your company rubbed some of your followers the wrong way. Instead of pulling your hair out as you’re looking at email after email from angry followers, having a plan in place for how your company will react to scandals is the best proactive stance to take. Related: How To Handle a PR Crisis

 

Cover Image: Wikimedia

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Philanthropist TaschaHalliburton.com Tascha.Halliburton@live.com

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