Starting a new company can be difficult. Burning the midnight oil, struggling to provide enough funds to stay above the bottom line, and exhausting all the resources available to get your feet off the ground.
Many things go into building a new business, whether an eCommerce store, a brick-and-mortar store, or some type of service; no matter what, it can be overwhelming.
Many established businesses have their PR and marketing tactics down. However, they also constantly evolve and change as their companies grow. But how can you focus on strengthening your marketing and PR strategies and skills while staying afloat?
This article unfolds ten common PR mistakes that start-up companies make. A lot goes into a PR campaign; this list should help you understand more about PR and mistakes you can avoid right from the start.
1 – Publishing Press Releases Without Knowing Exactly What It Is
Many companies use press releases when there is a new and exciting announcement about their company. For instance, Kellogg released a press release this month informing the public about a new product launch– protein snack bars with their Special K brand.
Press releases are written to inform journalists and the public about newsworthy events and other information about your company or things going on within the industry. This is a publication that journalists can turn to in order to write a more in-depth entry about your newsworthy announcements.
Press releases are often used for announcements of new products, technologies, events, donations, and more. Anything that feels newsworthy can be considered for the topic of a press release.
Understanding what a press release is, its target audience, and what it’s highlighting can prevent you and your brand from publishing a press release just for the sake of publication. Instead, you can build a strategic narrative and create an announcement that is newsworthy and ready for the press.
2 – Beginning A PR Campaign Too Late
It is likely that the better you plan for your start-up, the better the chance of success. The same goes for PR campaigns. The more planning you do, the better strategy you will have, and the more room for success you leave for your campaign to thrive.
Many companies start planning PR campaigns six months to a year in advance, and then as the day of the event or launch of a product comes closer, more details can fall into place, and the real work begins.
Starting early in the planning process allows you and those helping with the campaign to build a strong narrative and help you to find your brand’s voice. Planning helps to learn when you should create the release as well.
Timing is everything, if you’re too early with your press release or other parts of the campaign, then the media isn’t going to pay much attention, and it could foil your plans.
Knowing what to do and when to do it is a big part of the strategy that goes into planning a PR campaign. Finding the right time, so you aren’t too early or too late with your campaign is key to striking success.
3 – Ask Yourself What PR Can Do For You, Not What You Can Do For PR
Entrepreneurs eat, sleep, and breathe their start-up, giving them an internal view of their company, brand, and even the world around them.
Most journalists have seen start-up companies come and go. In fact, in the United States, about 600,000 new businesses are created each year, and about half of those companies fail within the first five years of operation.
Reporters are looking for validation, innovation, and credibility from a company. If your PR team can create press releases that focus on these critical elements, journalists will have an easier time creating a narrative and writing great stories about your company.
Public relations are a great and necessary asset to your company when you let the professionals work for you. Powerful storytelling and strategy will unfold and help your brand enter the spotlight.
4 – Leaving Key Messages Undefined
This step takes us back to adequate planning and knowing what messages and values you want your brand to convey.
Planning and presenting three to five key messages is crucial for any PR effort. Knowing these in advance will help you create clear goals and cultivate meaningful messages for your releases.
Brainstorming these key messages and strategizing to ensure they fit in with your brand’s voice will also help generate more ideas and inspire future PR campaigns.
Without clear, defined messaging, the time, money, and energy spent on PR campaigns may go wasted.
5 – Not Creating a Budget For PR
Many start-ups understand the importance of PR and what it can do for their brand and business; however, some may experience shock when they first hire a PR firm.
Although it may seem like public relations teams only generate content, knowing how to write compelling messages as well as cultivate a story around your brand is one of the most powerful tools for your business.
The difference between poorly written press releases and those that are meaningful and strong is clear. Using the right word can make or break your press release’s credibility, story, and validity.
Each PR firm charges different amounts; find the firm that works for you and your budget. But, know that the price is worth paying, and if you try to do it yourself, you may get bad press.
6 – Taking PR Into Your Own Hands, Not Listening To Experts
Many entrepreneurs, especially this new generation of upcoming entrepreneurs, have a great, can-do attitude, leaving them to want to do everything on their own.
This attitude is great in many instances for starting a company. However, when it comes to PR, you are making a grave mistake if you don’t at least ask for expert advice; if not, hire PR experts.
It’s worth the price or at least the networking to get advice on marketing and PR strategies to help you take your brand to the next level. If you ignore advice or try to do everything on your own, you’re not only risking burnout as a business owner but also the brand you have spent many hours and months building.
7 – Targeting The Wrong Media Outlets
Each industry has its niche in the media. Targeting the right niche and contacting the right reporters allows you to cultivate great relationships with the media and connect with the right audience for your brand.
Doing adequate research on reporters and media outlets and checking profiles and previous articles written can help you find the right audience and who to target.
Overall, PR professionals spend a lot of time researching, planning, and strategizing before making any contacts, writing press releases, or developing PR campaigns.
Ignoring a niche audience and blasting it out to all media channels may work in some instances, but targeting your audience will create a much better chance for success.
8 – Ignoring Analytics And Not Tracking Results
Creating goals and objectives is key to tracking accurate results from a PR campaign. This may seem simple, but it is often a step that is overlooked. Analytics and data tracking can give you key insights, enabling you to increase your success for the next campaign.
Be sure to ask yourself how you will reach your target, how many articles you want to see published, what people you are trying to reach, and how many? These questions and more can help you develop meaningful goals and objectives, leading you to accurate analytics and results.
9 – Failing To Follow Up With Media Coverage
Tracking data analytics and results can help you gain powerful insights for your next campaign; however, it is equally important to follow up with the media. Many start-ups forget about following up and potentially damage relationships built with the media.
Once you have built strong relationships, the real work begins. Following up with contacts and media outlets on what they are working on and how you can help them is a great way to maintain these vital relationships.
Showing interest in not only the work they are doing for you but all the clients they are working for shows genuine interest and allows you to cultivate a powerful friendship and trust with the media and journalists you work with.
10 – Not Planning With The End In Mind
There are a lot of things that go into a brand’s communications strategy. PR is just one branch of the communications and marketing team, but it’s a vital part of the company’s long game.
PR is not paid media; it can be available online for a long time, so thinking with the end in mind or being in it for the long game is crucial to helping your brand, and its voice succeed.
Starting a business can be daunting, but it also has the potential for great reward and fulfillment. Learning how to balance all the marketing, PR, and other communications can be a difficult task.
However, learning from this list of mistakes will put you one step ahead and closer to receiving that sweet taste of success.