Why start-ups get PR all wrong // Amber Daines
Amber Daines, CEO of Bespoke Communications
This is an article about a naked truth. The world of PR is a marathon not a sprint.
The best agency in the world is only as great as their media commotions, your strategy and how newsworthy the angle is at the time. Serendipity plays a big part in any social media or earned media campaign.
It’s fair to say that there are no sure-fire PR guarantees, but rest assured you can maximise you chance for meaningful success.
If you are a start-up with dreams of PR success, here are my tried and true pearls of wisdom to consider before get going:
- Wait, but not too long
Many start-ups businesses we have worked with either peak too soon or wait for the news to be over to even pitch their business story to journalists or bloggers, for example. A start up that has been around for a year can be seem an old news. A new incubator that has no web site, staff or a client base can also be seem as a non-story. We need tangibles to cover your story.
Being too early to have any relevance or too late to get known can fast become fatal PR mistakes that will leave you deflated, and asking yourself why you even invested time and money in public relations?
For any business leader wanting their brand into the media-sphere, short, medium and longer term PR planning is 100% vital. That said, you smust have the desire, capacity and the ability to react quickly to golden media opportunity. That sometimes means sidelining other business goals to do so. If you don’t, your competition surely will. The world of breaking news waits for nobody!
- Be realistic but dream big too
The heady start-up world has its own special challenges. Having coached many enthusiastic, switched-on entrepreneurs, whether they be in the tech space or a kitchen-table based start-up business with shop front goals, you all generally have too many competing demands every single day to even plan your PR, let alone implement the ideas. The best way forward is to hire a specialist agency or a freelancer who owns this space and can run with it. Dial up and dial down the PR spend but never abandon it. Seed work does pay off but only if you have tenacity, focus and have understood the value of PR. Imagine how much kudos your staff and client will feel if you do get named in that big feature story or get the chance to reach millions of TV or radio audiences, by showcasing your expertise en masse on a targeted media platform. Boom.
- Accept rejection – and learn from it
Nobody likes ‘no’. Even worse is radio silence. Newsrooms are not for the faint-hearted, and in the current 24-hour media landscape, less reporters are doing more work. This means less time for returning your calls or letting you know via email if you’re story is a winner for them. I know your business is important but so are many others pitching to the same media people. Bloggers and reporters alike are very time poor and are always working in the next big story – and breaking news just happens too so you never can be sure how a story will run until it does. For my clients, I like to get feedback on why a story has not been included, or where else it could work, but I don’t expect it. I always make a point to thank the journalist when the editorial finally gets up. Old school manners go a long way for building connections and getting you remembered for all the right reasons.
Good news. You are not alone, brave and bold start-up people. There are ways to get ahead of the pack. Go forth, and make sure your PR is done right.
Amber Daines is a self-made CEO, trainer, podcaster, author and media junkie who is a mother to two boys under 7 years of age. A former international TV and print journalist turned PR powerhouse, she has worked in communications for almost 20 years. She can be found at www.bespokecomms.com.au and www.howtobeheard.net. Her podcast