PR for Startups: Why It's Important

You’ve spent months, even years, thinking up your business concept and writing a business plan. Now, with the capital in hand, you’re ready to show your business to the world.

There’s just one problem—you need a startup PR strategy.

If this situation sounds familiar, you’re in good company. In the hustle and bustle of forming a startup, many new businesses neglect PR efforts.

That said, the startups who do take charge of their PR strategy usually find themselves in a much better position right out the gate. In this article, we’ll discuss why PR for startups is important. We’ll also give you some tips on how to establish a strong company press release, so that your startup can get the attention it deserves.

What Is Public Relations for a Startup?
In short, public relations is the culmination of activities businesses take to connect their brand with their audiences. These activities usually involve third-party media; companies will use the media to provide information to the public to influence the public’s perception of their brands’ content.

While public relations is important for all businesses, it’s especially important for small business startups. Strong PR efforts can help startups in the following ways:1
  • Build brand awareness – Startups are often at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with established companies for market share. This is mostly because, while the public doesn’t know about the startup yet, the established company has been in the public’s hearts and minds for years, maybe even decades. Strong PR coverage can help startups compete with established companies early by building brand awareness.
  • Attract investors – Unless your startup relies on a substantial personal cash flow, chances are you’ll need to attract investors. Without investors, your startup won’t have the funds to make it long-term. A strong startup PR strategy can help your business raise capital by alerting potential investors to the worth and viability of your business.
  • (Re)Motivate employees – While startups can be incredibly rewarding, a startup’s early days are often fraught with indecision, anxiety, and employee turnover. In fact, many startups lose a significant amount of money in their first years.2  As a result, employees may lose sight of why the startup was founded in the first place. Good PR activity can help motivate employees and promote good company culture by generating a “buzz” about the company.
  • Increase backlinks – By building brand awareness, digital PR campaigns can also help startups accrue backlinks. In short, backlinks are links on a third-party website or platform that link back to your company. Digital PR campaigns can help startups receive backlinks by alerting industry insiders, such as journalists and bloggers, to the merits of your company. These insiders may then promote your company on their platforms.
Now that you know why PR for startups is important, let’s dive into how PR for startups differs from that of established businesses.

PR for Startups vs. Established Businesses
Although PR’s beneficial for all businesses, most startups require a different PR campaign approach than established businesses. This is because established businesses already have viable brands, relationships, and histories of success.

As a result, many established businesses may be more interested in preserving their brands and fending off competition than building brand awareness and raising funds.

Startups, on the other hand, must start from scratch and navigate how to get press. Unlike traditional PR for established businesses, PR campaigns for startups generally focus on brand visibility.

To this extent, most startup PR campaigns have the following goals:3
  • Education – Unlike established businesses that likely already have large followings, startups must educate audiences about why their companies are worthwhile. Traditional PR campaigns focused on education often release information about new products and services. Education’s especially important if the startup deals in technology or financial services that are unknown to the general public.
  • Attraction – As stated above, attracting investors is one way PR can help startups. But strong PR campaigns can also help attract another important group: the industry’s top talent. Attracting the best-of-the-best is incredibly important when it comes to company culture, product innovation, and acquiring market share. The best PR campaigns show prospective employees why they should join your exciting new startup rather than join an established company.
  • Consistency – While consistency pays dividends in most businesses, consistency’s especially important for startup PR campaigns. New businesses should consistently release information about new products, partnerships, management structures, etc., to keep audiences engaged. In short, sometimes, no news can be bad news.
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By aiming to achieve these objectives, startup PR campaigns can make serious industry headway during their first couple of years.

How Much Should Startups Spend on PR?
The amount startups should spend on PR’s largely determined by the startup’s size and budget.

In general, most startups should spend roughly 15% of their annual revenue on marketing campaigns such as PR and advertising.4

That said, it’s helpful to have both a short-term and long-term PR and marketing strategy, as these strategies can help dictate what you’ll need to spend to achieve your goals.

To formulate these strategies, consider doing the following:
  • Perform yearly market analyses
  • Shop around for the best PR firms
  • Forecast how much annual revenue you’ll gross
By completing these three simple tasks, you’ll be better able to gauge what’s in the PR budget and what’s not.

Tips for Establishing Strong PR
Now that you know the importance of PR for startups, the difference between startup PR and established business PR, and how much you should spend on startup PR, let’s dive into a few PR tips.5

1. Know Your Industry (And Who’s Writing About It)
Strong PR’s really about building strong relationships with industry insiders. That said, not all industry insiders are created equally or are the best fits for your brand.

To establish strong PR for a small business startup, do your research when it comes to your industry’s best journalists and publications. Furthermore, aim to only connect with insiders in your industry. For instance, if you’re a technology company, what’s the point of disseminating information to a journalist who writes for a nature magazine?

In addition, be sure to heed the following:
  • Aim to build many relationships, but keep a select few really strong
  • Don’t settle for second-best; if there’s a press you like, go for it
  • If a journalist or publication isn’t interested in your pitch, don’t bother them
  • Use social media, especially Twitter, to form connections with journalists
In short, all good PR starts with relationships. And relationships start with research.

2. Personalize Your Pitches
The PR industry’s a comparatively small world. As a result, news travels fast about startups who are serious about building personal relationships and those who’re sending the same generic pitches to every media outlet this side of the Mississippi River.

To this extent, make sure you personalize your pitches to meet the vibes and needs of specific media outlets. The last thing you want is to send a pitch to one media outlet that was clearly meant to go to another.

Even worse: addressing the pitch to the wrong outlet.

To personalize every pitch, consider doing the following:
  • Research each media outlet’s characteristics, editorial board, etc.
  • Rewrite each pitch to make it outlet-specific
  • Never reuse pitches in their entirety
3. Hire a PR Firm
Although you could manage all PR in-house, this takes time, money, and dedication. What’s more, as a new startup, you may not have the connections needed to get your messages where they need to go.

As a result, hiring a PR firm to manage your news is a great way to get your name out there early and often.

However, not all news distribution services uphold the same standards. For the best news distribution service in the industry, choose ACCESSWIRE.

With ACCESSWIRE, you can be sure your press releases will be shared with the widest possible audience. Through wide distribution and flat-fee pricing, ACCESSWIRE makes sure your news reaches the most important desks and ears.

4. Make Your Pitches Pop With Hard Data
Let’s face it: most people don’t have the time to read long, verbose press releases—no matter how beautiful the writing may be.

Instead, many journalists want hard-hitting facts and objective data.

Satisfy their need for precision by including statistics and data in your pitches when possible.

For example, if you’ve already sold 150,000 units of your latest robotic vacuum cleaner, include this number in your pitch. That way, journalists, bloggers, and publications have a solid number to rest their claims upon. After all, their credibility’s at stake, as well.

For the Best Startup PR, Choose ACCESSWIRE
Starting a business can be one of the most fulfilling endeavors. That said, getting new businesses off the ground requires a lot of work. In addition to raising capital, you’ll have to introduce your startup to the world.

Fortunately, ACCESSWIRE can help.

By making it our mission to connect your news with the most important industry insiders, our press release service makes it possible for you to engage with your target audience. You might even pick up a handful of new investors along the way.

And the best part? ACCESSWIRE helps save you money through flat-fee pricing.

It’s time the world learned your name—introduce yourself with ACCESSWIRE.