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Is Public Relations crucial for your start-up?

Posted on 11/12/2019

Public Relations (PR) can provide the credibility you need to prove to prospective customers that you have a trusted, well respected brand.

You know your brand and your product are the best they can be because you have worked hard to establish them correctly. But how do you get that external stamp of approval when you don’t have any customers yet?

Why do you need credibility?

Credibility influences people’s patterns, behaviours and thoughts, therefore if your brand is not credible, people won’t trust or rely on you and subsequently not buy into what you have for sale. Having credibility influences how you behave in the market.  It gives you the confidence to talk about your new business, product or service, even if your product is not fully in the market.

 

PR is seen as a third-party endorsement, therefore having your business, your product or your start-up story published in a well-respected national, trade or online publication, can help establish, build and protect your brand credibility.

Benefits you can expect by having an excellent PR strategy

  • Exposure to your target audience: if you get PR coverage in the right publication, you can get your brand in front of a good spread of target customers, suppliers and partners.
  • Cost effective brand development: if you are willing to do it yourself, you can gain exposure to a wide target audience which is much more cost effective than paid for advertising.
  • Influence: audiences are more likely to trust messages coming from an objective source (such as a respected publication) rather than paid-for advertising.
  • Helps establish you as a thought leader: If your start-up is working in an emerging market, or you are creating a product or service that is extremely innovative, you can use PR to gain respect in the marketplace. Journalists like to write about something new and interesting and are always looking for innovative angles.

Getting started

  • Make a list of all the interesting things that are happening in your business over the next 12 months for example product launches, new client acquisitions, raising funding, expanding the team, winning an award, expanding your Board.
  • Consider the external factors that will affect your target market for example political factors, legislation changes, technology changes, changes in consumer behaviour
  • Identify the key publications that will reach your target audience and may be interested in your story
  • Build relationships with journalists at these publications: follow and engage with them on twitter, phone them up and invite them for a coffee, send them an introductory pack about your start-up
  • Find interesting angles that will attract the attention of those journalists
  • Write and issue your release to these journalists. Ensure you have a good photograph or video to go with the story.
  • Follow this up to see if they require any further information
  • Track your media exposure using Google Alerts
  • Share links to your news articles on your own social media channels

 

In this digital age where good backlinks to your website (e.g. a successful story in a high-quality, online publication) has value far beyond the brand awareness it generates – it also has the potential to improve the organic search performance of your website.  This can significantly contribute to your ranking on Google and as we all know, we need to be in the top 5 on Google to be taken seriously.

This is the second blog in a series for the Women in Innovation programme. Follow #WomenInnovate or sign up to our online community to stay up to date with future articles.

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