A crash course in public relations for startups


It’s no secret that thousands of startups across industries have mushroomed across the country, especially in the last two years. This month, a research firm revealed that a staggering 40 percent of these startups have already shut operations. While lack of sufficient funding, core skills, and shoddy marketing are a few of the top reasons why startups fail, minimal light has been shed on the importance of public relations.

PR is vital for the simple reason that it connects organisations with their audiences.

PR is all about making the right connections

Relationships are important. PR teams are deputed to identify the target audience and build a relationship with them, backed by a strong marketing strategy. While large companies hire an elaborate team to build these relations, more often than not, startups tend to underestimate the significance of customer feedback. It may look like a small task, but there is serious effort behind highlighting organic positive feedback. Customers – satisfied with the service/product or not – need to feel valued. When a startup successfully delivers to a customer, it’s something to cherish. And when it doesn’t, it compels the team to troubleshoot and fix issues. Prioritising customer relations, startups like Flipkart and Myntra provide customer care through prompt tweets.

Get involved with the media

I recently stumbled upon an article that elaborated on how some successful people like Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey take out a certain amount of time to read. While how much one reads in a day varies, on an average, these visionaries devote two-four hours a day to update themselves on industry insights. I adopted a similar approach at my startup job, and spent about an hour on Twitter each day to explore upcoming events, campaigns, running offers, and read up on elaborate startup stories.

More time reading also gives us a chance to discover journalists who cover specific industries; in fact, over time, it makes sense to nurture such professional relationships by offering exclusivity of product updates and company announcements. This symbiotic relationship is worth the investment.

You know what they say: Content is King

These days, marketing teams of established businesses are constantly working to create content that is click worthy, evokes an emotional response, and is deserving of a Share or Like; this is exactly the kind of material startup PR teams should work on. Viral content is bound to drive more traffic to the website, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately, increase sales. Take startups like Popxo that are making a mark by creating trendy, youthful, and relatable articles focusing on young girls as their target audience.

Personal branding builds brand reputation

In another article, I talked about how more and more influencers from all over the globe are focusing on developing themselves as a brand. Personal Branding is key in helping a person stand out in a sea of people and emerge as an expert in a domain. Founders, investors, and even employees can use their brand currency to voice their opinion on industry insights, connect with the audience on a more human level and ultimately, build a following for their company – leading to positive development of their company brand.

Always analyse what’s working and what’s not

Some marketing and PR strategies work for certain startups, while others don’t – this depends on factors such as demographics and demand for a service/product in that area. Startups usually lack patience and have a reputation to skip hiring a public relations team. After a couple of hit and trials, a startup should finalise on a PR plan to help create their product into a well-known, easily approachable brand.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)