What is the biggest problem that every startup faces? It is where to start. Don’t worry, though. You’re not alone. Henry Ford beat you to it. You see, while you may think that you’re inventing the wheel, it’s actually been created before in a similar form. Why not learn from it? Look at where it was a success and how you can make it better? You’re probably thinking right now that that is what you’re doing (or have done). Well, maybe so - with your product development. Can you say the same is true with your public relations? Recently I sat down with students of the Startup Leadership Group at Wilson Sonsini and shared what it takes to roll with your public relations.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
More importantly than knowing how to do your own public relations - which you probably won’t do - is knowing what to do. Get schooled by attending sessions taught by veteran public relations professionals or speak to your PR friends just to get an idea if your startup is approaching an opportunity in the best light. Maybe bring an “advisor” onto your team to oversee your PR efforts to keep your efforts in check.
Walk Before You Run
Think about your goals. What are you trying to accomplish – business wise – and how can public relations get you out in front of the right people, at the right time? What tools do you need? How can you get your story in front of the right press contacts and convince them to write about your story? Have you come up with a plan?
Plain and simple: test out your public relations outreach before committing to a long-term engagement. Just as you can pivot your business strategy, you can pivot your marketing. Whether drafting a press release to distribute, publishing a story or infographic, or pitching a story, re-evaluate the strategy to learn how it resonated. Did you achieve your goals? Yes, great. If not, what can you do better, differently next time?
Baby Step It
So, you’re first public relations campaign was a success? Congrats! Don’t go whole hog. Break up your public relations program into digestible bits that are in alignment with your business strategy. Try not to grow too fast. Look at the next three months and think about what you can accomplish. You may be surprised that you have a lot in the hopper and that only a portion of that bucket will translate into public relations opportunities.
Have you heard a public relations professional speak lately? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you learned.