When is it too early to engage PR for my startup?

Jun 14, 2022
3 mins

PR for startups is a brilliant way to grow your brand, profile and business, and compared to some other marketing practices, PR can be relatively low cost if you think creatively about how you go about it.

So, if you're thinking about PR for your startup and want to get started, here are six top tips you need to know before you do:

1. Know what your goal for PR is

The opportunities created by public relations are endless.

PR sparks conversation, shapes how you're viewed by your customers, and helps to establish your credibility in your industry. PR coverage can also attract investors, drive business leads, and most importantly, support the growth of your business.

So, where should you start?

With the end goal, or in other words, understanding what success looks like to your business: are you looking to increase brand awareness, educate a specific audience or establish yourself as a thought leader? These are great goals, but choose only a few and stick to them.

If you’re looking for a quick marketing hack that will drive instant revenue then look elsewhere - PR is not the solution.

2. Define your audience and understand where they consume media

It’s easy to get lost in the romantic idea of having your business written about by the BBC or featured in The Times. Yes, they're great media publications but they serve a particular audience. And that might not be the best fit for your business goals.

Let us imagine you’re a B2B SaaS platform in a niche category like motorsports fuel looking to educate other businesses on your new product that's more efficient and eco-friendly, while also trying to attract investors.

At Words + Pixels, we would build a media list featuring journalists who cover motorsports, travel, and even sustainability industries. Your business will gain more value from stories in industry-specific publications that are read by your customers and peers.

3. Build your story with data and insight

We all want the big headlines and prime-time stuff, but these features don't come overnight because business reputations are built over time. If you're an early stage startup, it's likely that most journalists will not have heard of your startup before, so you'll need to educate them.

How do you do that? Well, the best way is to start small and build momentum.

Every conversation with a journalist and every piece of coverage you generate will form the basis of your PR efforts going forward. Each touchpoint you build within the media, whether it's a comment from your CEO included in a wider industry piece, or a full thought leadership or business profile piece, each bit of coverage or coffee had with a journalist helps to establish you (or your spokespeople) as a trusted voice in your sector.

So, the next time someone Googles you or your business guess what they'll read? And trust us, journalists use Google more than most.

Has a journalist reached out to you? We've got a useful blog post with our 12 top tips for handling your first media interview.

4. Align your messaging across all marketing channels

Your PR strategy is informed by your marketing strategy both of which support your wider business goals, and it's important to have synergy across all your communications.

There's no point saying one thing in your social ads, and saying a completely different thing in an interview with a journalist.

Keep banging the drum and deliver a consistent and unique message. This is what people will know you for.

When you do start getting results in PR, amplify them across your marketing channels.

Share your coverage on personal and company social media accounts (don't forget to tag the journalist). Include links in your customer emails and add them to your website too. It all builds credibility.

5. Getting PR support in-house, from a freelancer or an agency

So, you know your objectives and you've identified your audiences.

But maybe you don't have the time to commit. Perhaps you've tried and haven't succeeded. Or maybe things are going well and you want to increase your efforts.

What are your options?

Freelance PR

There are plenty of great freelancers who can help, and many have industry specialisms. You pay them for a dedicated amount of their time each month, and they bring their contacts and experience. This is a great place to start and the flexibility means it can be very cost effective.

PR Agency

PR agency teams have a wealth of experience, contacts and specialisms which will really supercharge your efforts. Perhaps you're getting ready for a big launch, or gearing up for some company news, dealing with some crisis management or simply want to invest in PR as a key pillar of your marketing mix. They should act as an extension of your team, understand your brand and provide consultation on how to take PR to the next level. But they will still need management, so you'll need to think about who is best placed in your business to maintain and cultivate that relationship.

In-house PR 

Hiring an in-house PR Manager is something you should think about when things are going well. Like really well. Well enough to take up someone's whole day, five days a week well. This is a great hire when you're looking to expand into other markets. They should work closely with all areas of your business and any agency teams to ensure that communications are aligned.