When do startups "Do PR"?

Mark Nardone

You had a breakthrough idea, identified a good target buyer, recently received financing via seed or Series A, and are ready to build a company for external consumption. What’s next? As the founder who is passionate about their “project”, do I handle marketing myself? Hire staff or bring on expertise via consultants or agencies? Or forgo this effort all together and build a business on WOM/referrals?

In a recent Entrepreneur article, Kathie Green, director of marketing at a startup called TapSense, noted “for startups, public relations is one of the most valuable and cost-effective pieces of a marketing mix in comparison to other channels… .”

We couldn’t agree more. But also understand that needs may differ depending on where you stand in the corporate evolution. Aligning to goals and ensuring that marketing drives ahead of set goals will offer significant impact to the brand equity and recognized revenue. But are you ready to take on that marketing or PR effort?

There's a variety of PR agencies that excel in startup PR – and we’re no stranger to the process. Over the course of 20 years, we’ve launched hundreds of startups, some exiting through M&A or IPOs while others never made it the market. As a result of our experience, we decided to share the knowledge and launch an eBook series to further help guide teams with building the right formula for success. This eBook, Public Relations for the Life of Business, covers a four-step approach for emerging businesses to consider while evaluating and establishing public relations. In step 1, we explain how recently funded businesses should evaluate their situation before signing on their first PR agency and/or hiring the resource in house.

Just take a look at the launch of mobile payments client LoopPay or the CES success of client ClearView Audio. These companies understood that the first step of self-assessment is paramount to PR execution. One must gather insights to better align and engage with the target audience while assessing the competitive landscape, prepping available spokespeople and teeing up early staged customer successes before jumping in the deep end of public relations. Client Perfecto Mobile is a great example of a newly funded company that used PR early on to position itself as a leader in the competitive mobile testing and automation market.

Yes, there will need to be time allocated (like every investment) to ensure proper execution of any PR or marketing program. In addition, visibility into the business plan and goals will help set realistic expectations from the get go in order to experience impact and traction. But when done right, the magic of PR in the startup environment becomes contiguous and the vibe electric whether on the recruitment, sales, future investment – you name it.

So take a read (downloaded here) and let me know your thoughts @markcnardone.

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