5 tips on public relations for early-stage founders, shares Akhila Deshpande of Prime Venture Partners
Effective public relations is a core part of strategy for any startup founder to stay afloat in whatever market they operate in. Today, PR is not just a necessity for outreach, but also a tool to convert leads into sales.
But good PR is not cheap and early-stage founders do not have the luxury to launch 10 campaigns for outreach in the hope that one of them will work out.
Akhila Deshpande, Head of Public Relations at Prime Venture Partners, has worked with more than 25 portfolio companies at the VC firm. She shares five tips for early-stage founders to kickstart their PR campaigns.
Akhila says, "These five are cohesive enough to drive you good PR at a budget. Be smart like you have been with your venture and things shall turn out fine."
Watch the Prime Knowledge series with Akhila Deshpande brought to you by Prime Ventures, an early-stage VC fund investing in technology and product focussed businesses:
Define your PR objectives
As an entrepreneur, you do not need to be reminded of the importance of having clear-cut goals before allocating any resources. So, for your PR campaigns too, set well-defined objectives as to what exactly you are looking for from the initial runs.
Do you want to drive more customers down the sales funnel? Or is it about attracting VCs and angels? Do you merely want to create brand awareness or is your goal to attract the attention of the right employees out there?
Setting PR objectives will work as your foundation for the ensuing processes and also help you to optimise your resources, based on your current priority.
Define your target audience
With objectives, your target audience comes in directly. You will not want to spread your word amidst people who are not interested in your product or service. Similarly, you will not want to sell the same story to the VCs and your customers as one of them is bound to end up confused and turn away.
Read your audience first before crafting your story and hit where their need is. Investors will be interested in your overall vision; your customers will want to know how your products and services will make their lives easier.
On the other hand, your prospective employees will want to have an inside look while the mass, in general, will seek a quick and quirky story.
Identify your media and journalists
Any story will only be as good as the storyteller. In your PR campaign, you will not always be writing the piece directly or speaking in front of the camera. So, you must assume that all journalists will not share your enthusiasm.
Along with finding the niche media house that covers your industry, you must also fish out a journalist genuinely interested in your sector.
Good and convincing stories come out of eagerness and the right journalist can make you a big name, despite your limited resources. Find a journalist whose enthusiasm complements your own.
Create relevant content
Relevancy of your content will, of course, depend upon your target audience but you will also want journalists to consider yours first among the many they receive on daily.
Thus, you must churn content that intrigues journalists, stories that are newsworthy. A new product launch always makes headlines. A big secret is also lucrative.
Compact content like infographics and case studies are also worth printing as journalists find all required information right at hand. In short, to motivate journalists to print your story, do their hard work for them. Present them with news-like materials and you will always find a spot.
Talking to the journalist
Despite your agendas at hand, as an entrepreneur, you should always remember that your ultimate dealings are with people. The same holds true while talking to a journalist and hence, the impression you create with the person in front will always matter.
Interact with the utmost professionalism and convey your message. Explain your ideas and products in simple terms and leave the jargon additions to them. Follow up, offer your greetings, and make sure that both of you end on an amicable note.
The impression you create as a human being will push your case and the journalist might remember your brand during all your future pitches.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)