10 step plan for using public relations as a start up accelerator
Public relations is a powerful tool for a start up to raise its profile and build relationships. It can help prove the viability of a product or service and build a business model. Start ups are early stage businesses that face a unique public relations challenge. They need to identify and build relationships with a public around an innovative product or service. Cash is typically tight.
Investment in public relations can be incredibly valuable as an accelerator for early stage and start up organisations. At its best it enables the start up to build a community and long term relationships with potential customers and partners.
I ran a workshop earlier this week for a group of start up founders. Here are ten areas that we explored.
You need a clear, measurable objective based on an outcome. This is likely to relate to raising the profile of your organisation and engaging with a prospective customer. Use the headlines in this blog post to help build a plan.
Identifying potential audiences, or publics used to be a challenging task. The internet provides access data and tools to cut this challenge down to size. Research your market and study adjacent categories. Free tools such as Facebook Power Editor provide a useful proxy for the size of a market.
Once you’ve identified potential prospects and partners you need to need to work out the engagement cycle. In sales and marketing speak this is known as the funnel or pipeline. Different content and media need to be used at different stages depending on your product or service. Google’s Consumer Barometer provides a useful signpost.
Identifying an organisation’s purpose is the most challenging aspect of public relations planning. Your organisational purpose needs to be rooted in addressing a higher human need. Getting to why will provide you with a clear point of view and platform for creative and content. Use Simon Sinek as your mentor.
Modern public relations uses content as a means of engagement between an organisation and a public. A purpose rooted in human insight and emotion response is a powerful theme. Make your product or service the hero of your story. The benefit or solution that it delivers should be your conflict.
Public relations has been built around traditional media and the press release. Modern campaigns are based on text, images and video. Digital forms of media provide a means to rapidly iterate. Split test, and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Explore your market and adjacencies on social media as a source of inspiration.
Think hard about the best media to engage with your public. This is likely to be a combination of earned (traditional media), owned (blogs and websites) and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter), and you’ll almost certainly need to use an element of paid investment to work algorithms and amplify your content. Modern public relations campaigns are integrated across all forms of media.
#8 Relationship management
Getting attention is easy, building and sustaining a relationship is harder. Data capture is typically used as used as a means of building a relationship and retargeting for content, events, and product demonstrations and reviews. Community management using an owned online community is a more sophisticated way of achieving the same goal. It’s social.
Cash and resources are typically tight for a start up. Marketing or public relations is often a part time role for a founder with commercial acumen or a junior member of staff. A plan will help identify priorities to staff against. Consider buying in talent on an agency or freelance basis.
#10 Return on investment
Define key performance indicators (KPIs) for each area of your campaign. Proving a direct relationship between what you do and the outcomes that you achieve is the quickest way to justify investment. Every conversation about measurement at Ketchum is based on AMEC’s Integrated Measurement Framework.
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