When should a startup engage in PR activities?
Note that we start with a “When” and not with a “Why”. For those who still believe PR should only backup products or services, let us put a spotlight on PR outcomes that are mostly needed by startups and are overseen or forgotten: increase visibility to support fundraising, atrract the best talent, announce business developments, enhance employee sense of belonging, profile your management team…among many others.
Most companies tend to associate PR as a tool to give visibility when launching a product or service, and startups sometimes have a long time to market. PR is not on their to do lists. This is a misconceptions as PR should and does help startups give format to the reason why your startup was born in the first place, and spread the story adapted to each audience. The PR agency will know which media, journalist and editors are most likely to engange wih your message and amplify it accordingly. It is advisable though that you chose an agency which is specialized in your market, they will probably have a better understading of the media that a general one. Before your product is ready, a knowledgeable PR agency will help increase the visibility to make a larger impact when launching. Communicating fundings, new hires, research, participation in events, etc, starts cultivating your specific relation with the media as a newcomer in the market, or even as the creator of a new market. Then, when launching, you will not start that relation from scratch, so its most liketly you will have a wider impact.
How to find the best agency that suits you requires a bit of research based on recommendations. VC’s may know which agencies work with other startups and probably know also which ones delivered and which ones didn’t. Start there, chose one or two, and then do a research on your market and see which other agencies are doing PR for companies you know. Then invite 3 or 4 and have a conversation with them individually. Chemistry and realistic ideas are key, and budget awareness is also needed. So if you are a startup, dont forget to put PR Agency Services in your canvas !