To say that PR and the media has changed in the last decade is an understatement. We’ve gone from a 24-hr news cycle to a multi-platform, 24/7, saturated media culture with up-to-the minute headlines that change with the slightest of input.
So what’s a startup to do? Can you still make headlines? What’s changed and what’s still the same? The answers are in the new book; Snow Tires for Startups: How to Get PR Traction. Here are three of the tried and true takeaways from the book that your startup needs to know about PR today.
1. No Matter What Brand You Run, PR Can Help Stabilize Your Trajectory.
There are forces in this world that could bring your brand to a screeching halt, whether it’s a company like Apple secretly designing something similar, a scandal that shakes the very core of the industry, or a global disaster that throws life into chaos. No one is safe, and those that act like it are only kidding themselves.
While PR can’t be the only thing your startup has in its favor, PR can get you noticed by the right people. It can help make you a known thought leader in your industry. It can make the world more likely to take you seriously. And these things can help stabilize your brand’s trajectory so you can focus on moving forward faster and more accurately than you would have. It can mean the difference between being known and existing; being forgotten and falling by the wayside.
2. Think Like a Storyteller (not a salesperson)
Storytelling is central to humanity because it elevates our shared experiences. The biggest barrier startups and new brands often have to PR is they don’t yet understand how they fit into the larger narrative of the universe. They might have their company “story,” but they haven’t yet wrapped their minds around what it is to be a “known” character in the larger narrative of their market, their cause, their space, or even their time.
To begin to understand this, ask yourself what your startup fighting against? Dig in and identify real pain points and issues that compound if your startup fails. Ask yourself what is your startup fighting for? Who is it fighting for? These are the elements of story and identity that you want to champion and support in your PR efforts. Without them, you’re not going to stand out enough to survive for long.
3. Startup CEOs (Should) Have Better Things To Do Than Pitch
The debate on whether or not a startup CEO should pitch their own company rages on, especially in the early stage startup community. Of course, when your startup is “brand new” as in, not-yet-funded and still in infancy, the CEO might email a few selected reporters because there is no one else to do it yet. However, if your CEO is still pitching reporters after you’ve received your first round of funding, and you’re no longer working out of their basement, you may have a problem. If your startup is finally in a real office space, and you have a few team members, your CEO should no longer be pitching reporters. Let them move on to better things.
Are there exceptions? Yes. Your CEO might be really good at pitching and have five or so reporter friends that expect pitches from them. But make this the exception–not the rule. CEOs have better things to do than micro-manage whomever is in charge of a company’s PR.
To read more about startup PR, go to: https://jacobsoncommunication.com/snow-tires-for-startups.html
About the Jennifer L. Jacobson
Jennifer L. Jacobson replaces global PR firms for her clients and gets better results. She is a communications executive who has spent twenty-plus years designing successful campaigns for startups, nonprofits, and growing brands. She has won her clients hundreds of thousands of media stories that reach billions of people. Jennifer has worked on campaigns for hundreds of startups and brands as well as Sony, Lady Gaga, Coheed and Cambria, Volkswagen Group of America, Paulo Coelho, Chelsea Clinton, Freedom to Marry, and Seattle Counseling Service.
Jennifer is the inventor of the Gadget Census, a study that investigated tech ownership trends in the United States and received national press. She was the first to popularize the term “social media addiction,” predicting many of the modern issues that have arisen from the mass consumption of social media. She is also the founder of Nimbus Haus, a volunteer youth art program focused on elevating youth voices and building stronger communities to support LGBTQ youth and youth in foster care.
Jennifer is the founder of Jacobson Communication, a Seattle-based boutique PR firm and the author of 42 Rules of Social Media for Small Business, as well as Snow Tires for Startups: How to Get PR Traction.
About the Author
Jennifer is a storyteller who connects big ideas with audiences. She specializes in public relations, brand development, and creative services for startups, theme parks, musicians, authors, nonprofits, and more. From audience awareness to brand development, and positive social change, Jennifer works with clients she believes in and that she believes she can help.