PR for start-ups: getting ready to promote your business

StorytellingSome of the smartest start-up businesses or SMEs we’ve worked with have understood the value that good PR can bring at an early stage of their business. But often they don’t know where to start. Here’s my list of 10 tips for PR for start-ups, and what you can do to get the best value from PR.

  1. Get your message right from the start. Your message should be clear, concise and compelling. It should run through everything you do, starting with your website.
  2. Speak in plain English. When you start out, you’re so close to your product or service that it’s easy to forget not everyone understands your acronyms. Avoid them.
  3. Have a clear three-word descriptor that clearly tells people what you do. (Tip: it won’t be an integrated solution, or be world-leading, or leverage anything.)
  4. Have an opinion. If you have a view on the future of your industry, for example, don’t be afraid to express it. Assuming it doesn’t hurt your business or your customers, of course.
  5. Be different. Why would someone buy your product or service over someone else’s?
  6. Create a platform. Whether it’s a white paper, a piece of research, a campaign or an issue, take ownership of something that will make potential customers say: “That’s interesting, I’d like to know more about it.”
  7. Ask for endorsements and case studies from your first clients. A strong case study can do wonders for your reputation, and means that media are much more likely to take an interest in you.
  8. Watch what your competitors are doing (but don’t be distracted by them). Read their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and don’t be afraid to talk to them occasionally.
  9. Make time to write a blog. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but set aside a couple of hours a week to research and write your post. Blogging can give people a real sense of who you are and what you stand for, as well as creating authority for you (and your business). Don’t forget to set up Google Authorship.
  10. Talk directly to your prospects. Not all PR is about press coverage, and for some firms, social media is a great way to get involved in a conversation with customers and prospects. Look carefully at Twitter and Google+ in particular.
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