In this discussion, industry experts Kirsty, Harry, and Sam discuss the importance of public relations (PR) for startups, particularly at the early stages. They address when startups should consider PR and how to craft a compelling story to capture journalists' attention.
Sam emphasizes the need for startups to set clear objectives and differentiate between marketing and PR. PR is a long-term strategy focused on building trust and reputation, while marketing is geared towards short-term growth and customer acquisition. Startups should align their PR efforts with their objectives, such as gaining market share or securing funding.
Harry takes a slightly contrarian stance, suggesting that PR should be strategically used for specific moments, like company launches or major announcements. He advises startups to focus on messaging, networking at events, and strategic PR during the early stages. An ongoing PR agency or freelancer engagement might become more relevant during Series A to Series B funding rounds.
Kirsty highlights the importance of considering PR early on, even if it's not immediately implemented. Startups should incorporate PR into their budget planning for investment rounds to understand the potential costs. Being prepared and having a well-defined story are crucial when the right moment for PR arises.
In terms of crafting a compelling story for journalists, Harry stresses the importance of understanding competitors and unique selling points. Founders should articulate how their startup solves problems better than competitors and consider the broader impact their product or service has on the industry. Creating a category or niche for their offering can also help distinguish the startup.
Ultimately, the panelists agree that while PR may not always be "always on" for early-stage startups, careful planning, messaging, and timely execution are essential for making PR efforts effective when they are needed.