Pitching for start-ups who want to launch their cool innovative gadgets or services that no has imagined yet? You want to be the maker of next Infosys or Apple? But guess what there are over thousands of start-ups trying their luck every year, out of them over 20% want all the magic that PR can do for them and yes you have one for the show. The media is not naïve either; even they are being bombarded with the suave elevator pitches on how the client’s products are superior blah blah blah…but you have to do your job. You have to position the start-up as the next big thing in the target market and you are all geared to jump and kick the start the campaign. Here are few globally accepted best practices that can guide your way.
- Understand the objective from PR: When engaging with a start-up company understanding its objectives whether it is to create awareness about the company and its offerings, to attract investments or to secure sales leads from the buzz created etc. Once you have understood the PR objectives, outline a long-term (a year) and a short-term (quarter) PR plan for the company. Be very cautious and do not promise what cannot be delivered and remember the thumb rule ‘quantum of coverage will not add value, targeted, thought through and qualitative coverage is the key’.
- Train the company spokespeople: It isvery important tohave a two day media training session for the company spokespeople, as a PR consultant one should induct the client on how PR works – the pitching process, requirements from the clients, timeline etc., then about media houses – the publications of key importance for the company, key journalists covering the sector – the approach, the do’s and don’ts and then craft the key messages which need to be shared during most media interviews. Prepare mock interview sessions and interview the spokesperson before and after the training this will give them the confidence of dealing with some tough questions by the media as well.
- Media Outreach/Engagement: To begin with, invest some time to introduce the company to media, arrange for relationship building meetings and set clear expectations with your client. Next you should explore pitching ideas which make an interesting read for the readers of the publication, for example:key challenges faced by the company when manufacturing the products, get testimony from your first few customers, share details about the vision that investors have for the company. Profiling of the entrepreneurs in magazines and newspapers is not a value add for a start-up company until it shares the founder’s vision and plans for the company going forward.
- Third-party endorsements: Start-ups can also build their credibility by collaborating with the influencer community from the investors, academic institution etc and position them as brand ambassadors for your company. You could team up with them to leverage on the reputation and media relationships they have garnered over the years.
- Awards: Start-upsshouldapplyfor as many industry awards as possible, now this can be time consuming but it will definitely be worth your investment. Bagging credible awards help attract attention of the investor community as well as media.
- Speaker Opportunities at Seminars/Conclaves: Speaking at events like seminars, conclaves, conferences always help position the company spokesperson as a domain expert. It also leads up to interesting PR opportunities as media covering such events would be keen to know more about the company and its offerings.
- Social media and Influential Bloggers:All of us are aware of how social media can help a brand to directly engage with its consumers and have an active discussion with them. Having an industry blog which shares insights, tips and tricks, how to do it posts with the readers will always help to build your company’s perception. Blog posts should be promoted across media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare, etc. and even linked to the company website to increase its reach.
You should also go through the company’s website and ensure that it is resourceful for media, have an updated press kit with all company collaterals, some customer case studies and whitepapers which should also be downloadable.
Do you have any additional ideas which can be explored when doing PR for start-ups? Please share in the comments section below.