When’s the best time to hire a PR agency? The short answer to this is – before you actually need one! And for startups, it is crucial to get word out about their products and services as early as possible. Especially now, it might seem prudent for entrepreneurs to tighten their purse strings and not invest in public relations. But, effective PR helps maximize opportunities in the already crowded startup space and enhance visibility where most required. So if you’re thinking about hiring a PR agency, here’s what you need to know.
Scout around before narrowing down
A costly mistake that a startup can make is to go with the first PR agency that they come across. Just because a PR firm has spent decades in the industry doesn’t mean that they are the best fit for your new business. Take some time to explore agencies that other startups may have used. Setting up a few conversations also helps in communicating your business goals and assessing exactly where an agency can be a definite value-add. Gathering this information will also help fuel a brand’s long-term success.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Your startup story is unique to you! And it is the nitty-gritty’s of why you founded the company to how you got to where you are that will help your audience connect with what you bring to the table. Some PR agencies specialize in working with startups and know the best ways to bring a founder’s story to life. Hiring a firm that can communicate your message effectively to the right people is a surefire way to make yourself heard.
Align your PR strategy with your larger marketing strategy
No, this is not a task for you to accomplish on your own. The easiest way to ensure that your communication strategies (whether PR or marketing) are aligned is to hire an agency with a solid understanding of consumer behaviour in your specific market. PR agencies have a lot more to offer than just organizing press releases and press conferences. For example, once your product or service has hit the market, it takes an army to handle initial customer reviews, brand communications, crisis management (yes, a crisis can rear its head in the early stages too) and social media channels. It is no secret that consumers spend hours doing research before buying a product. A negative review on your website or a poorly managed social media page can quickly send your customers running for the hills.
Embrace digitally-led strategies
A well-informed PR agency is a powerhouse of information. Their media connects and outreach can help you find the best reporters to feature your story. While these are more traditional methods of engaging with the media, PR firms also have an abundance of contacts when it comes to picking the right influencer for your social media campaign. While they explore a range of digital strategies to help you meet your business goals, agencies also simultaneously monitor the media for reports on recent articles about your company. PR firms are drivers of content marketing, copywriting and can offer a holistic package of services that are right up the startup alley.
To hire or not to hire?
If you’ve read the article so far, it is apparent that hiring a PR agency that matches your business needs is absolutely crucial. But more importantly, be sure to partner with an agency at the right time. PR professionals are trained to handle all sorts of circumstances, while keeping their cool and making strategic announcements on your behalf. The way that consumers are currently engaging with their favourite brands all depends on the message that is being communicated. As a startup, it is vital to ensure that your new business is communicating exactly what your target audience wants to hear.