How PR Can Attract Investors and Add Value to Your Startup

Individual venture capital companies receive more than 1,000 proposals a year and are primarily interested in businesses that require an investment of at least $250,000, as stated in Embroker. However, according to the same source, only 1% of startups turn out to be the next Uber, Airbnb, Slack or Stripe. That is why it is tough to get a VCs’ attention. But PR can significantly increase your chances of getting funded, and here’s how.

PR helps you show off your expertise

Founding a startup doesn’t make you an expert in your field. If nobody knows about your expertise, investors might see you as an outsider. Investing in PR, you are investing in building a portfolio of your public opinions, mentions and columns in the outlets that matter in a startup scene.

Being a guest on a podcast talking about the future of your industry, authoring an opinion column or giving a quote on product innovation will help you build your credibility. Publications don’t publish articles from authors that have nothing useful to say to their readers, and journalists don’t ask for quotes from random people.

Every word you say in the press is your chance for investors to notice you, and see you as an expert who explores daring innovations and has the knowledge and courage to create a fast-growing, successful company.

When the investor’s FOMO kicks in, PR is gold

While you still have to be working on your concept, business plan, MVP and risk management, PR has to be your “significant other” if you are looking for funds. Every investor’s FOMO is to miss an opportunity of catching another unicorn. VCs are constantly looking for the best deals — they open TechCrunch, VentureBeat and Crunchbase every morning to find another potential multi-billion dollar company.

This is why you have to create hype air around your startup using PR:

  • Get articles about your startup published in publications
  • Work on different formats to reveal the best angles of your business (ex. articles, mentions, interviews or commentaries)
  • Focus on what problems your startup solves, and why the world needs it
  • Make it a big deal, give bold statements and provocative quotes to create a buzz around your company.

PR sells you and your vision to investors 

Your early-stage startup data undoubtedly contributes to investors’ decision-making. However, at the beginning of your startup journey, you sell yourself and your vision and not the product yet. Therefore, you have to make sure you are telling your story right, and take your name out in the right publications. Remember that PR is not all press releases and interviews. Secure placements in online media, but grab more innovative opportunities as well, such as:

  • Clubhouse appearances where game changers in your industry hang out
  • Reddit “Ask Me Anything” sessions, where you can participate as an expert and authority on a subject that matters in your field
  • Product Hunt launch campaigns
  • Twitter and LinkedIn chats, where you can create a buzz around your persona as an expert
  • Alexa Flash Briefings

PR helps you stand out

Competition is fierce for venture capital, and budgets are tight. You may have a service or product that is innovative and so needed for your potential customers. But if investors never heard of you, it can be almost impossible to prove that your startup is worth investing in, especially if your market is already crowded. What are the odds of you standing out? 

This is another reason to be active in the press and on socials to get the funds. Seeing you in every major tech publication and on social platforms is a form of proof that you are worth their money and time.

Differentiate your brand and yourself from other startups by strong PR appearances and get the money you need for your company faster.

PR adds value to your company

PR helps you and your business become known for all the great things you and your team do. It increases visibility and raises your company’s profile — everyone wants to use the products and services of the go-to company with a good reputation. Engaging your customers with case studies can build trust and a positive attitude towards your brand. PR drives demand among your customers and helps you build strong relationships with VCs. Therefore, it attracts investments and pushes your business towards new goals, metrics and success.

The article was published on Entrepreneur


How To Get The Best Results When Working With A PR Agency

It’s not a rare story when a business owner hires a public relations agency or a consultant and, after a while of working together, becomes disappointed in PR as a whole. As the founder and CEO of a PR firm, I’ve found this often happens because of inadequate expectations. Some entrepreneurs believe that PR must drive sales directly; others don’t accept that it’s impossible to get them on a major magazine cover right away. 

Actually, PR can do a lot for a business if used wisely. PR has the power to present a startup founder as an expert and increase their chances of having a company funded. Brand awareness and reputation built by PR can also attract partners and employees, which could ultimately make growth easier. I’ve seen that PR can influence sales in a positive way as well, even if it can’t always be as precisely measured as digital marketing.

Here are five tips on how to get the best results from working with a PR agency.

1. Choose the right one.

All PR agencies are different, so you need to find the one that’s right for your business. First of all, pay attention to see if the agency you are considering has expertise in your field. A clothing brand, for example, should be looking for an agency that has experience with lifestyle media and fashion magazines.

You should also be looking for particular soft and hard skills in the PR team with that you are going to work. From my perspective, PR specialists have to be able to get on well with people and be jovial because their job requires them to be in touch with both the business they are working for and the journalists they are approaching. Creativity, leadership, eagerness to learn, the ability to express thoughts clearly both in writing and speaking, and curiosity are also necessary. 

2. Define your objectives.

Your work with a PR agency should start with setting accurate key performance indicators. Think carefully, and be honest about what it is that you want to achieve with PR. Whom are you targeting? What for? How are you going to measure success? Share thoughts with your PR firm, and collaborate with them to set goals. Don’t hesitate to ask what you can expect from them in terms of results and timings because, sometimes, business owners have unclear and misguided expectations from PR that will lead them to disappointment in the future. 

3. Treat it as a partnership.

A relationship between a business and a PR agency works well only if they both understand it as a partnership. You and your PR firm should become a tandem in which both sides invest time and effort. Respect and trust your PR partner; they’ve got expertise and experience and have your best interests at heart because your wins are their wins, too. 

4. Be straightforward, and provide information.

Provide as much information about your company as possible. Your PR agency needs it to understand your business deeply. It’s the only way they can come up with better ideas on how to approach the goals that you both have set. Be transparent and trust them, even with the information about your weaknesses. If your PR agency works in the dark, they are more likely to make mistakes, some of which may be crucial.

5. Be responsive.

It’s very unlikely that a PR agency is able to carry out its duties to the maximum without involvement from its client. Today, everything moves fast, including communication and media. You should be ready to respond to emails, texts and messages from your PR team quickly because it could be a journalist on a deadline who is seeking to talk to you or get some information. Your PR agency works to provide you with opportunities, but these opportunities won’t become publications without you. Introduce all the key spokespersons in your company to the PR team, and make sure they, too, understand the importance of being responsive.

PR helps business owners build a reputation for their brands, products, companies, teams and themselves. Miracles don’t happen overnight, but you can achieve impressive outcomes if you work with your PR agency effectively and wisely.

The article was published in Forbes


How PR Helps You to Achieve Your Business Goals

Public relations (PR) is often misunderstood. Some believe it is only about getting the press to write about you. Others think it is more to do with crisis management. But PR is so much more than that and is an integral part of any business that wants to succeed.

PR is about sharing the most impactful information to the right places and people at the right time. It helps build your brand reputation, gain exposure, and build trust with your customers. PR agencies not only help you build your image in your chosen industry, but they also help you promote your agenda. When used appropriately, PR can give you the power to overcome almost any obstacle.

Here are a few ways PR can help you achieve your business goals. Let’s get the obvious one out-of-the-way first.

sanuas / Pixabay

PR will increase the visibility of your products and services

This is the area most people think of when they talk about PR. A PR agency will help you identify the right angle, build a press release, craft an exciting pitch, and send it to the right journalists at the most relevant publications. If all goes well, you’ll end up with one or more articles about your news in significant publications, and the impact of that can be the difference between make or break.

Slack, for example, generated massive exposure and reach with pre-launch reviews from publications like VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and Inc. Slack received 8,000 user requests in the first day and 15,000 by the second week. Only six years later (and several more milestone articles in between), Slack now has 12 million daily active users, and 156,000 organizations subscribe to the app. While its PR campaigns cannot be wholly praised for Slack’s growth, they were undoubtedly an integral and significant part of its marketing strategy and success.

Good PR won’t only land you new users and prospective customers. If you have a business that will succeed faster by forming partnerships, finding ambassadors or affiliates, or two-way business and promotion arrangements, being featured in the press will help make those opportunities happen.

PR will strengthen your brand

PR doesn’t only give you an outlet for your launches and milestones. It helps you connect these stories with your brand’s core messaging and your tone of voice. It not only allows you to paint a picture of what you stand for, but it reflects the way you want to address your customers and partners.

A good PR agency will help you in this regard, either taking your existing tone of voice or helping you develop one. And they’ll work your brand values, messaging, and principles into every pitch and press release. The result? Consistency across the board, not just in your advertising and marketing materials, emails and communications, and website, but in your approach to journalists and the answers you give them to any questions they answer. Some PR firms even run media training sessions to help you ensure that your answers reflect your brand values from start to finish when faced with an in-person interview.

PR adds value to existing clients

One often-overlooked weapon in the PR armory is the ability to tell your clients’ stories – not just your own. Anyone that works on creating great angles, crafting eye-catching pitches, and writing engaging press releases can also work with your customers to tell their story, and craft case studies that keep your prospective clients’ attention from start to finish.

PR helps you raise funding

Getting funded is an art. You need to have everything lined up, including an impactful idea, a fantastic team, the right advisors, initial traction, a compelling story, and more. PR can make a massive difference to whether you get that initial or next round or miss out to another startup.

Firstly, a great PR agency can help you craft a story that captures the attention of your target investor. Then, just as using PR to strengthen your brand, the same storytelling approach can help you make sure every slide of your pitch deck and every word you use to illustrate it will make people sit up, listen, and ultimately give you the funds you need to grow. And, of course, getting an article published in a major online media will go towards legitimacy and trust. Imagine walking into a VC with not only a great pitch but published articles from everyone’s favorite publications.

PR helps you land the best talent

Think about it. You’re looking around the industry for your next role, and it comes down to two target companies. Both have been around for the same length of time. Both have traction. Both are in the same niche. But one of these appears in Google News searches, and the other has no visibility at all. One has unique educational content and thought leadership articles, and the other is invisible. One has consistent, clear messaging, and the other seems to be shooting from the hip.

Which one would you focus on? A good PR agency will show you how to apply everything they help you achieve to multiple areas of your business, and that – in turn – will help you to attract the best talent.

PR helps manage your reputation

PR isn’t all about sending out positive messaging. Sometimes, PR is about crisis management and dealing with significant issues as they arise.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, was being sued over the contents of its meat. The lawsuit alleged that its “seasoned beef” was only 35% beef. It went on a PR offensive, stating that all claims were false, and it shared its percentages openly and publicly (if you want the details, “seasoned beef” is 88% beef and 12% secret recipe). It also shared the ingredients used in the secret recipe. A multi-platform PR campaign followed, and Taco Bell’s existing consumer base responded positively across every channel. Less than four months later, the lawsuit was dropped.

PR really can help with your business goals

There are so many more ways PR can support your targets, requirements, and needs – way more than we can cover here.

Just remember: it isn’t all about getting press in your favorite publications. PR agencies, executives, and assistants are incredibly well-placed to assist you in many marketing communications and crisis management areas, so use them accordingly.