When we first talk to a startup founder or marketing team, a common discussion item is if the company is, “ready for PR.” “Ready for PR,” is code for a number of questions:
Are we at the right stage for media relations?
Do we have the resources to afford marketing efforts?
Do we have news that reporters will find interesting?
All of these are legitimate questions and something a PR proposal should take into account. No matter what phase you’re in, the right media relations program can amplify your growth efforts and pay off for your company. The phase you’re in just influences how your company can use media relations and what areas the team will focus on.
So how does PR contribute to each stage of startup growth? Let’s go on a journey.
As a company gets off the ground, it must have a strong communications program to explain the value proposition of what it’s offering. Market messaging is key to establishing a presence.
An experienced media relations team provides guidance to avoid common missteps and offers third-party perspective. Depending on your company’s business model, PR can help appeal to future investors or drive early prospective customers’ interest.
A Series A funding round is the moment in time to capture the attention of business and transactional reporters. It’s a milestone for a growing company and reason for celebration. It’s also the beginning of what can be a long journey, but it’s a crucial moment for media relations.
After the big announcement, it’s time to focus on both thought leadership and educating the market. The media relations team can support important internal initiatives and keep up the momentum post-funding event.
For each subsequent funding round, the funding itself brings attention, but having a comprehensive strategy that reaches target audiences is more important to business success. You need a public relations team that understands your category and sales funnel in order to build a sustainable business.
We find talking to internal subject matter experts keeps our campaigns creative and helps bring in media leads that serve a business purpose. At this phase, we carefully monitor Google Analytics to determine which announcements and media coverage are driving goal conversions.
Once a startup reaches maturity, its media relations needs shift. From mitigating crisis communications risks to supporting large hiring initiatives, a more sophisticated program with additional resources is necessary.
As your company heads toward IPO, it’s important to establish a track record of success and build strong media relationships with reporters covering your area. This takes consistency and a dedicated team that has a strong grasp on your unique industry.
Finally, as a public listing nears, the media relation teams shifts into investor mode. All the years of work to build a solid brand reputation pays off. The transactional media that has covered the business for years brings a new level of scrutiny to the company’s spending decisions, revenue and profitability. C-suite executive have to be on point with media training and develop tight responses to commonly asked questions.
The years of dedication to the company come together on IPO day and your media relations team should be beside you for the wonderful moment.
Through this journey, having a flexible, knowledgeable PR team is key to success. If you’re ready to talk discuss how you should be using media relations to fuel success, no matter what phase of growth your company is in, reach out today.