Demystifying PR for Your Startup
by Stephen Moyers, 31st May 2016
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Have you heard the story of the entrepreneur who had an innovative idea, built a beautiful website, and assumed the world would beat a path to his door? It’s a sadly common tale, but it’s not very entertaining. Most people prefer the one about the other trail blazer who had a remarkable idea, built a good website, had fantastic public relations, and retired a few years later.

The truth is the digital marketplace is so crowded that not enough traffic is going to stumble across your business to make you rich. Your clients are out there, but you have to go get them. It’s easy enough to get a business up and running, but for most startup owners, good PR is still something of a mystery. 

 

Know Your Audience:

It’s trite at this point, but it can’t be overstated. You have to know who you’re selling to. No matter how universal you think your product or service is, some people aren’t going to be interested – and those who are still may not buy. Understanding your ideal consumer’s pain points takes careful deliberation, patience, and a vast understanding of the marketplace. There are many ways to develop this knowledge, including research, analytics, and testing.

Even if you think you know who your target audience is, give it some extra thought. For instance, if you design an app that helps children read, it’s easy to assume you need to make it appealing to juveniles. Kids need to like the app and want to use it, but they’re not going to buy it. Parents are the ones who are going to buy or ignore your product, so you have to focus at least part of your PR campaign at them.

Age, income, and location are just some of the criteria that define your target market. If you’re not sure who your audience is, there are several ways to find out. If you’re just starting out, the easiest is to look at your competition.

Competitors may have an advantage over you because they’ve been in business longer. But you can make that work for you. Pay attention to their PR campaigns, see who their social network followers are, and look for data about who buys from them. In all likelihood, this is your audience, as well.

 

Know Your Value:

It’s Now that you know what your competition is offering, figure out why your services are better. Do you have a better price? Does your product have more features? Can you provide more experience and quality to your customers? If you want successful PR, you need to know why people should buy what you’re selling.

Your product or service may be valuable, but if consumers can get it somewhere else, that innate value diminishes. Why is your product worth their attention? When you find the answer, you’ve found your pitch.  

 

Give Them More Than a Sales Pitch:

Hucksters bombard people all day long. So much so that many users have become at least partially deaf to the typical ad. A poor (but common) solution is to get louder and more aggressive. The smarter answer is to offer potential customers something for free.

That doesn’t mean sending out free samples of your product. Offer them information or entertainment. Propose something that will give them a positive association with your brand. Most important, find a service that will keep them coming back.

If the only content you ever post is “Buy me!” your audience will turn away immediately. Is there a noteworthy story in your industry? Link to it and ask for comments. Engage your audience with something more than just your product, and soon you’ll have a fan base.

 

Research, Research, Research:

There’s a nearly overwhelming amount of data freely available. Making sense of it and applying to your business may be a little more difficult than getting a hold of it, but with practice, you’ll learn the trick to panning for gold among the statistics.

Take a look at what’s popular in ads, and think about how you can apply that to your own campaigns. This is an incredible way to get started; falling behind trends is death to your PR.

Source: Marketing Charts

Your research should also include data on the best times of day to post content. Many social marketing platforms make this info available to users for free, so start there. Sharing at the wrong time is like airing a TV commercial on the wrong channel when no one’s watching. An ad for the latest toddler toy isn’t going to generate many leads if it’s shown at 10 p.m. in the middle of a crime show.

Internet usage has high and low times too, and different demographics access at different times of day. By finding your target audience’s peak times, you’re more likely to engage with them – and active engagement means a good customer relationship.

 

Keep Adapting:

Ever notice how most major brands change their catchphrases or tweak their logos every now and then? Large PR firms know that while an audience demographic may not fluctuate much over the years, trends, platforms, and consumer desires do. People also start to tune out what they’ve become accustomed to, making minor updates critical. 

Sometimes a company’s image can become outdated, and it needs an update to keep it feeling modern. This can be something as simple as an outmoded web design (your customer’s first impression is often your website) or as risky as a statement that’s become politically unfashionable. Successful PR is based in part on your customers believing you’re tuned in to all aspects of society. Falling behind in one area can give your audience the impression that your company’s skills are as rusty as your image.

To make sure your company image doesn’t fall out of fashion, keep a finger on the pulse of digital trends. Is your site starting to look unintentionally vintage? Keep a constant eye out for changes in your competition, as well. Are they offering new products or services to stay with the times? Overall, flexibility is your ultimate resource in managing PR. 

 

Hire a Professional:

The It’s vital for you to know and practice good digital marketing. Having said that, as soon as possible, you should bring in professionals. Digital PR firms have the experience and tools needed to keep your business favorably in the public eye. They have access to more data and can schedule your posts with more accuracy. They’re also going to be aware of new trends, migrations to new social networks, and other information they’ll need to keep your enterprise in the limelight.

But don’t stop there. Hire a writer to tell your story. A personal touch, even to a highly technical business, goes a long way toward establishing trust with clients. People want to be reminded that another human is on the other side of the screen – someone they can relate to and even trust. Web writers have the training to tell your story and connect you with an audience in a way that “Buy me!” never could.

Good public relations doesn’t have to be a mystery, and your company doesn’t have to suffer without it. Use these tools and work with your PR agent to give your company the best display possible.

 

Stephen Moyers is an avid tech-savvy blogger, contributor & online marketing manager. He is associated with Los Angeles based SPINX Digital Agency, which provides a range of digital services like web design & development, website maintenance services, digital marketing and more. He is creative learner at heart with a strong passion for writing blogs on entrepreneurship, startups, online marketing, web design & development and much more. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.


Author: Stephen Moyers

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