How to write your brand’s story, and why you shouldn’t do it yourself.
Every successful company once started without an audience or a story. It’s easy to look at a big brand like Nike or McDonald’s and try to employ some of their Public Relations strategies, but we believe that start-ups should take a different approach.
An established company has a track record of successes and failures to build on, so using their PR efforts as a framework for your start-up won’t bring the results you’re looking for and may leave you feeling defeated.
You don’t have a story yet, and it’s time to build one.
Before looking outside, it’s important to get your house in order. This means that your company’s content and own channels should be maintained before you do external outreach- this gives you a tangible space in the industry, and something to trace your brand back to. It’s unlikely that a journalist will be interested in including your brand or spokesperson in a story that does not give the impression of being trustworthy or reputable. Content that you may want to get started for your start-up includes but is not limited your company’s website, social media and blogs. If your start-up has some content to work with, preferably consistent content, it helps you begin your narrative from an early stage.
Aim for the Small Hits
Now you may feel ready for the world to know who you are and what you have to offer. As incredible as it would be to dive straight into Forbes or The Wall Street Journal, it’s crucial to aim for the small advances first. Start-ups should understand that it’s OK to slowly work your way up - the most important part is that you are true to your brand and its message.
As you begin your media journey, it is important to understand that some stories are not newsworthy to the press when weighed against hundreds of competing stories each day. Your PR efforts may want to extenuate an angle of your company that is different from others, explain its relevance to current events, and other tactics to help you stand out. Assessing the publication you are reaching out to and ensuring that they are industry-specific and suitable for your company and/or spokesperson is half the battle.
Leave it to the Pros
If every business had the time, the experience and the connections to do their own Public Relations, they would. It’s important to recognize that if you have the means to hire one, an agency can work to arrive at a strategy that can place your company in the position you want them to be.
Time equals money for many entrepreneurs, and they can underestimate how much research and time is put into sourcing media lists, assessing the respective industry, reaching out to media, following up, among other outreach efforts. Entrepreneurs are pulled in a million different directions every day – and trying to execute a PR strategy on their own might be more detrimental than beneficial to the company.
For some, the reason for hiring a PR firm may not be as much about time or money, and it may be the company wanting to refrain from being the messenger. As simplistic as this reason sounds, it’s true for many. Many businesses hold the idea that it looks more professional if the messages are delivered from someone not in the employ of the brand, and this avoids the discomfort of “tooting your own horn.”
Starting up a business can bring forward many hardships- don’t let doing your own PR be one of them.