Whether your startup is on an exciting upward trajectory or bootstrapped (and actively seeking ways to make operations lean), building awareness and brand equity is critical for capitalizing on market opportunities. When effectively implemented and managed, PR campaigns can elevate your company’s credibility and exposure — allowing it to accelerate growth and get a leg up on the competition.
While there are dozens of inexpensive PR tactics and agencies that offer programs geared towards a startup budget, it is important to carefully determine if PR fits into your business’ performance objectives and vision.
Taking into consideration the following factors will ensure that your resources are properly utilized and you are ready to make the most out of your PR investment.
1. Know How to Chart the Course to Business Outcomes
Big corporations can hire professionals with years of marketing and PR experience who know how to direct, manage, and evaluate the efforts of a PR firm. Most entrepreneurs have to juggle multiple functions – lead operations and business development, manage recruitment and HR, foster customer relationships, etc. Very often, as a small business owner you can’t devote vital internal resources to closely managing an agency and maintaining full visibility into how PR efforts are gaining measurable traction.
However, you are responsible for translating media coverage and brand exposure into business growth. Therefore, in order to successfully tie PR to profitability, it is critically important to know how to build the path from brand exposure to market capitalization.
2. Be Realistic about the Time Commitment
Many CEOs expect that working with a PR firm will allow them to outsource public relations while they focus their attention on other business functions. In reality, PR performs most successfully when the company’s leadership drives story lines, message development, and thought leadership positioning.
PR strategy and execution can’t live in a vacuum. They need to be a part of every aspect of business development and executive activity. In working with a PR firm, you will have to often make yourself available on a short notice for media interviews, provide guidance for contributed articles, and be involved with social media on a daily basis.
In the age of empowered consumerism and social enterprises, no one can build your social capital and executive visibility but you.