5 PR Mistakes That Every Start-up Makes
The Start-Up Checklist:
- Big idea √
- Business plan √
- Initial funding √
Great, you’ve done that, so let the sales and success come at you, right? If only it was that easy. Finding a way to spread the word about your fab new company is one of the biggest challenges your start-up faces. Big brands bombard consumers with messages day after day, so it seems nearly impossible to cut through the noise to tell your story.
Without a big marketing budget, good public relations can mean the difference between running a business out of your garage and smashing your financial year targets out of the park.
What do we mean when we talk about PR? Essentially, it’s getting your brand’s messages in front of the audience that is going to buy your stuff. That way, you can let them know who you are and ultimately motivate them to buy. (There are a million ways to explain PR, but when it comes to start-ups let’s assume that is the number one objective.)
So, how do you do PR? It might mean working with journalists so they write stories featuring your company on websites that your audience reads. It could mean creating a video campaign that will get your audience so excited that they’ll share it on their social networks. Or… or… or… there’s so much you could do.
But this blog isn’t about what you should do, it’s about what you shouldn’t do. Many start-ups do their own PR simply because there’s not enough money to do anything else. However, it’s very easy to screw up PR and once you’ve screwed it up, you need to waste your time fixing it before you can move forward. So, do yourself a favour and skip that step by reading these tips.
Don’t Make It All About You
You’ve started your own business! Good on you! Your Mum must be really bloody proud. Sadly, your target audience doesn’t care. New businesses start every day and to them, that means one more business trying to get their dollar. To make an impact your message needs to be about the audience. Why their lives will be easier thanks to the product you’re bringing to market, or which of their daily challenges you can solve when no other business has. Your story needs to be about your audience, not about you.
Splashing Cash Doesn’t Guarantee Success
A big, fancy-pants launch can seem like an awesome idea, but spending all your budget on a B-Grade celebrity emcee and indoor fireworks likely won’t translate to sales. You’re much better off focusing on making an impact with smart, creative concepts that will directly reach your target audience.
One Size Fits All Won’t Work
We get it. Resources are tight and trying to be the CEO and the accountant and the head of HR eats up your time. But that doesn’t mean your business will benefit from sending generic messages to a long list of people. To be effective, you need to focus on each of your targets. Don’t send the same pitch to every journalist email address you can find. You should know the journalist’s beat, understand what they deem newsworthy and give them with something exciting to take to their readers. Each journalist will be different.
Lay Solid Groundwork
You can’t turn on a good PR program with the flick of a switch – you must build it. Take a good few weeks before your planned launch to draft key messages, lock down objectives, and to learn about your target audiences and what makes them tick. If you don’t do this your PR activities won’t be consistent or measurable and your brand is unlikely to resonate with those you’re trying to reach.
It’s not enough to think about PR when the next product release rolls up, then ignore it for the next six months. Just like customer relationships, media relationships take time to build and you need to nurture them. Similarly, if your target audience doesn’t hear from you regularly they’re not likely to remember you. Take the time to develop an annual PR plan with regular activity checkpoints that keeps your brand in the game.
A strong PR plan will help you lay the foundations for future business success. Find out how to build a foolproof PR strategy for your start-up in five steps: