Marketing a startup is one of the biggest struggles for any entrepreneur. You need to increase sales and grow your customer base, but effective advertising is expensive. While the internet provides significant opportunities for low-cost and no-cost marketing, many business owners overlook the value in establishing an in-house public relations system.
What is Public Relations?
Public relations encompass the work that needs to be done to get your company in the news. The efforts should include building relationships with appropriate news editors, writing effective press releases, and planning how to best use press relations to enhance your marketing plan. Of course, it is possible to hire a PR firm to do this work for you, but they can be expensive and do not have the same stake in seeing your venture succeed as you do.
In addition, a PR firm will have to be taught about your company — what you do, how you do it, what will be newsworthy, and who should be targeted. You will be charged for the hours it takes to get them up to speed. A better entrepreneurial option is to teach yourself all you can about effective public relations, then assign the tasks to your key employees as you grow.
The primary objective of public relations is to expose more potential customers to your company and product(s). You may have a secondary objective of exposing potential investors to your company, as well. Thus, your first step is to define what is and will be newsworthy about your business. Sending out sporadic press releases is far less effective than developing a steady stream of publicity. The editors who review hundreds of press releases per day are more likely to notice yours and hopefully become interested in your progress if they see your company name on a regular basis.