Why good PR is essential for a start-up
Posted on: 2019-04-04
Good PR can be a decisive advantage for a start-up. It makes sense: if your target audience don’t know what your business is, they’re far less likely to work with it.
But PR isn’t just about getting seen, heard, and noticed: it’s often tied to tangible business outcomes. To make the most of it, your start-up needs to have definitive strategic outcomes in mind – and it therefore needs to understand what it’s trying to accomplish with its campaigns.
So why should your company use PR? Here are five good reasons.
1. To be first past the post
At The House Crowd, we were on the cusp of something new – property crowdfunding – and we needed to seize the first mover advantage. Impressing on customers and investors that our company was the first of its kind was essential. It was also safe to assume that other people might have the same business idea: the charitable interpretation would attribute it to parallel thinking; the uncharitable one to intellectual property theft. Either way, the quicker you’re out there as an established force, the better.
And spreading your message through quality PR campaigns is an excellent way to do just that. Don’t let the competition gazump you while you’re focused on the details. Sit for interviews, write op-eds, fire off press releases. It’s hard to take a company from nothing to something – so use PR to make your company a ‘something’.
2. To raise funding
Effective PR can give your company much-needed legitimacy on its journey to raise funds. Early successes can catch the attention of VCs and angel investors, who are more likely to invest in a company with a substantial public profile.
But PR activity can also be used to drum up interest in crowdfunding campaigns: Monzo, for example, achieved great success with this – as did The House Crowd, which benefited from a network of crowdfunders in the earlier stages of the business’ existence.
3. To hire talent
A growing business needs the best talent available – but the best talent generally won’t work for an unknown quantity.
A PR campaign can help you attract and retain the people you need to take your company to the next level. It’s an opportunity to showcase your brand, your corporate culture, and your essential difference.
4. To manage costs
It doesn’t always apply, but PR is often a cost-effective way of getting eyes on your business – far more so than advertising and marketing, which require a great deal of trial, error, A/B testing, metric analysis, staff training, and other time consuming activities before seeing a return.
For a start-up operating on a strict budget, it can be an incredibly effective way of getting noticed by the right people in the right places.
5. To build a reputation for thought leadership
One of the benefits of getting out there and selling yourself to your target audience is that you’re laying the foundation for future PR efforts. That one-off comment for an industry publication could turn into an editorial for a business publication – and enough of those could turn into national coverage.
Good PR breeds better PR opportunities – so with the right campaign and the right partners, you can make sure that you keep flying once you’re off the ground.
Don’t underestimate the power of PR. It can provide a decisive strategic and commercial advantage to a growing start-up. When people know you, they’re more likely to trust you – and to buy from you.
By Frazer Fearnhead, CEO, The House Crowd. The House Crowd is a peer to peer lending platform that enables people to invest in short-term bridging loans to property owners and development firms, including via an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).