World-changing ideas command headlines in the Manila Bulletin and the Washington Post. But despite their hopes, many startups can’t even make the inside business pages. The lack of media attention is worrying and may even be damaging for a company that needs attention to attract more investors. The situation compels numerous startups to turn for help from PR agencies.
Unfortunately, many utilize agencies in the wrong way. Startups pay thousands for the agency to simply pitch stories, which likely get ignored by an overworked editor who has already seen dozens of similar ideas just this week.
Instead of hiring a PR agency for media pitches and placements, startups should consider engaging the agency as a mentor, consulting its best brains in its other specialties: media and brand strategy.
Refine Core Brand Messaging
While entrepreneurs believe in their concepts, their belief is not enough to sell to the media. Concepts need a message or a narrative that lifts them from the competition. Formulating such a message is where PR agencies excel and have tons of experience. In this role, startups should engage PR consultants ASAP because these messages will inform all aspects of communication with investors, customers, journalists, and more.
Find Media Opportunities
Unless a startup’s idea is truly revolutionary, it will need opportunities to tell its narrative to the media. A PR agency can identify the occasions when the chance presents itself, such as product launches and partnership announcements. Pitching only newsworthy items improves media relations because it doesn’t waste the journalists’ time.
Media Outreach Strategy
Media organizations prioritize people who have proven themselves as reliable resources about a topic or an industry. PR agencies can introduce key people in the startup to the media and even send blogs and thought pieces when content is requested. This and other efforts can build a startup’s reputation and make it likelier for media to look at it fondly.
For cash-strapped startups, a PR agency can seem like an expensive luxury. But used selectively, it can have a huge effect in the future of the brand.
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