Public Relations for start-ups

Corporate sector has never ever been so open, agile and vibrant, the way we see it now. Modern day corporate world is ever evolving and welcoming fresh challenges and, is adaptive to new and unique ideas. This can certainly be defined as an incredible transformation in outlook, and sky is the limit. So overall, it’s a happy and optimistic scenario which we are a part of.

One very often hears of new companies (of all sizes) being formed, termed, as we all know, Start-ups. Being part of a start-up itself is very exciting yet challenging as obviously nothing is devoid of initial hiccups. It’s a different story that not all of them survive for long, succumbing to the pressure of competition, incorrect strategies, unclear vision or wrong branding. To grab eyeballs and to make themselves be known, each start up requires a good PR strategy. It is important to tell their story. Securing positive PR is neither easy nor guaranteed, it takes dedicated efforts and that is why big companies hire full-fledged PR firms.

There is a direct connection between the success of a product and the effectiveness of brand messaging. A specific brand needs to be cultivated with a lot of caution and attention and for doing so, one needs to hire the right PR expertise. More so in case of start-ups, as their success depends on the right PR, to a great extent. So for building brand awareness for your company you need to seek out your own positive PR.

A good PR strategy can benefit in multiple ways:

Attract new talent

 

Increase visibility leading to enhanced business development

 

Boost exposure for fundraising efforts

 

Increase customer acquisition

The first step while formulating PR strategy for a start-up is to develop a strong pitch with the idea to try and sell the company to right people. Ensure the pitch is clear, concise, meaningful, and compelling while pitching to media houses. Summarise in one sentence the key reasons that a journalist might want to do a story about the start-up.

While reaching out to media, there are certain key elements to be kept in mind. Always personalise your emails by using the journalist’s first name, referring to their articles that you’ve actually read, thereby creating authenticity. Limit your pitch to few sentences, try and pursue one journalist at a time. Focus on time zones in order to ensure that you’re emailing media personnel at appropriate time. Follow ups should be done politely with no expectation of every pitch resulting in a story. In terms of start-ups, the feedback should be taken very seriously and attentively with a view to learn from it.

Never write extremely long emails full of unnecessary background information and over-the-top language. Do not send the same pitch to countless publications at the same time and do not do random and continuous follow ups. Adequate research must be done in order to determine which blogs, newspapers, other publications and journalists cover the specific niches and markets in which the start-up operates. A successful PR strategy is a continuous process rather than a one-time accomplishment.

It is crucial for a start-up to think beyond product launches in order to take full advantage of positive media coverage and press stories. There are various elements that can be pitched to media: announcing new appointments and new investments; new product features and company services; important changes in the industry/market, etc.

PR for a start-up comes with its pros and cons. It is undoubtedly exciting but at the same time needs to be done extremely cautiously as you are launching something new in public. A good PR can take a start-up to new heights.

Ritu Bararia
A passionate Public Relations and Communications professional with a progressive experience of over 18 years, Ritu is an expert in the realm of Travel, Hospitality and Aviation. Her forte lies in strategising communication plans basis the essence of a brand with a strong focus on media management aiming to create focused visibility and awareness.

Some of her professional milestones include, setting up of Aviation Industry Group for CII, facilitating launch of India’s first Premium Airline – Kingfisher Airlines and establishing the brand in media as the official spokesperson, facilitating launch of Luxury Retail Brands like Porsche Design, Bally and strategising and executing launch of the brand Roseate Hotels and Resorts.

Prior to founding Little-joy Communications, Ritu was Group Head - Corporate Communications with Bird Group/Amadeus India.

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