Start-ups and SMEs require an entirely different public relations strategy as compared to a much larger enterprise.
While bigger corporations opt for a sustained public relations strategy that spans multiple years, many start-ups and SMEs do not have the luxury of resources.
The only way to generate publicity through PR is having concrete news angles, and this can only be achieved if the brand has strong company announcements to make or new ground breaking products and services to launch.
It requires considerable effort to develop some of these initiatives to make news. Many start-ups are more focused on driving sales in their early years.
We’ve put together some pointers of consideration for start-ups and SMEs who wish to explore public relations as a strategy.
- Understand that PR is an awareness tool
PR is not a strategy for you if you are looking to drive sales.
You need to consider other marketing strategies like lead generation or direct marketing if this is your objective. The role of PR is to leverage on the reach of various media in order to reach your target audiences. There may be an increase in sales or leads but it is not the sole intended objective.
You also need to understand that you cannot control the content or guarantee coverage — these factors are dependent on editors, their news agenda for the day, news trends etc.; go for paid advertising if you want to guarantee coverage.
- Be Laser-Focused
PR is a very different strategy from other forms of marketing where content is produced on your own platforms.
The best PR strategy involves announcements with strong news angles, differentiated products/services that is very different from what is available on the market
To make the most out of your PR campaign, you should be clear about your objectives.
These are some of the questions you can consider.
What do you want to generate awareness for? Is there a new product/service your business is providing? A new partnership? New research findings about your industry? Profiling your company’s founders? Putting out thought leadership articles about your brand?
- Pick The Right Timing
Bigger corporations have the luxury and budgets to have PR agencies on retainer for many years to create a sustained pipeline of publicity efforts for them. Start-ups and SMEs, on the other hand, do not have always have that.
Start-ups and SMEs may also not have constant reasons to make the news — the launch of a new product/service or partnership announcements may not happen that regularly.
Thus, it is good to determine exactly what your brand plans to gain publicity for and when it is a good time to make the announcement before committing to a PR strategy (we know many start-ups and SMEs who are overly-optimistic about their product/service being ready for launch and as a result, start their PR campaigns too early).
- Building Your Infrastructure
Have a user-friendly website, marketing materials, lead generation and customer-relationship management system in place before you do PR.
This is so that once you get awareness through certain media sites, you have direct channels and ways for your audience to reach and connect with you. From there, you can continue to reach out to them, nurture them and possibly move them towards making a sale.
Have your product/service ready and ensure that you have already built some form of traction. Some start-ups/SMEs want to generate a PR strategy for a product/service that is simply a blueprint or a concept.
The very least is to have a working prototype and early traction in the form of a good number of early customers and potential partnerships so that the media will take your business seriously.