Do Start-Ups Need A PR Agency?

Own a start-up? Looking for PR? Do you need PR? Why? 

When start-up companies think about public relations services, they think press releases, BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, Straits Times, Business Times etc. Frequently, this "ah-ha, I need to find a PR agency" moment also comes at a time when the team is hunting for investment dollars.

While coverage on mainstream media lends credibility to businesses and helps in pitches for funding, there are steps that all businesses have to go through before landing that front page news or getting into the hot seat. 

1. Build Your Credibility

If this is your team's first bootstrap start-up, it is important to recognise that probably, nobody knows you. Just like how an employee has to prove his capabilities to the bosses to gain recognition, the same applies in the media industry. Journalists want to speak to thought leaders, change makers, industry shapers and shakers. We need case studies, statistics, surveys, expansion plans, projected revenue numbers, market share numbers. Numbers numbers numbers.

Facts, or it's fiction. 

2. Question What Makes You Newsworthy?

As a PR agency, we want to pitch stories that interest journalists. With the start-up world getting increasingly competitive, journalists have also become more selective in their stories. Some of the key questions to ask yourself as a business owner would be:

  • How is your product or service different from the rest of the market? 
  • Start-ups are usually spearheaded by passionate innovators finding a solution to existing problems. Is your business solving a problem or helping to create new demand? 
  • If your business has already launched, are your numbers strong enough to make the media (and start-up community) sit up? If not, what are your plans? 

I've met businesses who believe that their technology is so exciting that journalists will be crazy not to feature them, in spite of the fact that they are adapted from existing models and technologies in the market. They are so passionate about what they do and failed to see those who might think otherwise.

3. Set Your Objectives, and Know Why You Want a PR Partner

Marketing and PR goes hand in hand. You may need to spend some time on marketing, SEO, social media advertising and engagement to build your customer base before PR comes in for the big bang. Set the objectives clear at the start among all parties to know what you want to achieve with the different pillars, including PR. 

If you are looking for someone to instruct, hire an in-house communications executive. If you are hiring an agency, respect their professional knowledge and work together as a team. You know your business inside out, and we know how the media works. 

So, what's your story?