Your guide to conducting pocket-friendly PR

28th Sep 2016
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Andy Warhol once said “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” That prophecy has long come true.

We live in the age of digital drama – a drama that is momentary, its plot changing by the minute. Its info-hungry audience and fame-crazed actors have put an end to the muted spirit of the common man and his humble security of the Small Business. The little startup cannot afford to be little or a startup for long. It needs to quickly be the Big Story. It has to find its place in the news, be sensational and be inspiring, or God forbid, become a warning.

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From time immemorial, humans have had the soft corner for rags-to-riches stories, for the Garage David who slew the Corporate Goliath. If you are a Garage David, what is your plan to script such a story for your startup?

“Reporters don't just write about how fabulous you are or how wonderful your company is. Journalists want to learn about what makes you tick and what obstacles you've had to overcome to get where you are today. Stories are the heart and soul of PR.” - Jenny Finke, founder, Red Jewelled Media

Here are five easy tips to conduct pocket-friendly PR that will put your business where you want it to be.

Gather the small and gain big

Little drops of water make the mighty ocean. It would do you good to look for other little startups for ways to collaborate. Instead of waiting for established events for startups, plan and execute your own event by collaborating with other startups in other fields. Get the logistics planned by logistics startups like e-lorry. Book tickets and accommodation for the delegates using fellow startups dealing in travel and stay. Get food centric startups to do the catering, and finally, get a PR startup to get the word out.

Be mindful of the Local

Take a good look at your neighbourhood. Does it need a clean-up, or trees, or does its jogger need a refreshing drink of tender coconut water? Plan and participate in the wellness of your neighbourhood. Be consistent. Soon you would be a talking point. As Meghan Gross, Founder and President of GEM Strategic CommunicationsDoing 'active' public relations, even without a full strategic communications plan in place, allow you to test and hone your messaging in real time.

Go Guerrilla

Shock and surprise, and they’ll never forget you. Guerrilla marketing is one the best ways to get the word around. With a little bit of creativity and smart thinking, you will be able to generate cost-effective ideas to gain top-of-mind recall.

Tag along with the season

Be it Ganesh Chaturti or Christmas or Diwali, Summer or Winter, have a plan to go along with the mood or one that goes so against the grain that you will be surely talked about.

Have a point of view and let it be known

Publish. You think therefore you are. Put down your thoughts and take pains to write an interesting article. Maintain a blog consistently. Publish your articles on LinkedIn and other free content sites. According to Domenick Cilea, President of Springboard, a PR, marketing, social media and design agency, “There are hundreds of online industry news and blog sites that accept contributions for no charge. These are free opportunities to legitimise your expertise.”

A good marketing strategy is one that does not look or feel like a marketing strategy. The Ola boats during last year’s floods in Chennai are a good example. Be honest, be earnest, be interesting and there would be no reason why you won’t be seen and heard.

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