As a startup founder or marketer you know that PR is something you should eventually integrate into your brand’s communications strategy. But how early should you run a PR campaign?
The short answer is, it’s never too early to start thinking about PR for your startup. Whether you’re early-stage, pre-seed, or already funded, PR is a powerful way to raise brand awareness, capture the attention of potential investors, and carve out space for your product in the market.
There are, however, a few things to consider to determine when the right time is for PR, whether you decide to launch a campaign in-house or work with a tech PR firm.
What are your goals?
Like anything you plan on implementing at your startup, it’s essential to review your goals before diving in. Whether you’ve just launched or have been on the market for a couple years, your goals will be slightly different depending on the stage you’re in. Maybe you have a product launch coming up and want to ensure that the news gets covered in key media outlets. Or, perhaps your goal is to improve your website traffic through a backlink strategy. In this case, increased media coverage is key. Figure out what you want to achieve and how PR can help get you there. Understanding your goals will also help you determine whether you can handle PR initiatives internally or if it’s better to bring in a tech PR firm.
Have you done any marketing?
Before you can get started with PR, take into account any marketing that’s already been done. If you work with a tech PR firm, they’ll want to know what’s already in place, what’s working, and what could use improvement. Even though PR and marketing activities differ, the two go hand in hand. For instance, PR can have a significant impact on SEO. If your startup lands earned media coverage in reputable tech news media outlets with high domain authority, like Forbes, WSJ or TechCrunch, your website traffic will subsequently increase which will give your site’s credibility and ranking a boost.
Consider what marketing activities have already been done, what the results were, and whether or not PR could better achieve those goals. At the very least, a tech PR firm should be able to work with your current marketing strategy and use those activities to supplement their proposed PR strategy.
Did you receive funding?
If you’ve received funding or plan on raising funds down the road, PR plays a critical role in spreading the word about that major milestone. Whenever you see headlines about a startup raising X amount of money, someone in PR, whether that was an internal marketing person or a tech PR firm, was responsible for getting that news to the right people.
Startup funding is a major announcement that the media will pay attention to. This means it usually calls for a PR campaign. Work with your tech PR firm to put together a press release that highlights the most important aspects of the funding, including the amount raised, who led the round, and any relevant data that backs up your growth. There are also other creative ways to spread the word about the funding, like using LinkedIn to announce it or getting all of your team members to share the announcement within their own networks. Funding is a major moment for startups and PR can help amplify the news and continue the positive momentum.
Is PR in the budget?
Arguably one of the biggest concerns for early-stage startups who are considering PR is whether or not it’s in the budget. Startups need to operate on a lean model, carefully divvying up funds to whatever activity is the highest priority at the moment. Depending on everything we’ve already mentioned — your goals, whether or not you received funding — you may or may not be ready to prioritize PR.
Working with a tech PR firm is an investment. But if you’re an early-stage startup, it’s key to work with a tech PR firm who understands startups and can work with a lean budget. If it’s still too early for you to work with a PR firm, check out our Startup PR Budget Checklist to figure out how to create a PR budget internally.
If your startup isn’t sure when the right time to start PR is, reach out to Swyft. Our startup PR experts can help you determine the best time to launch a PR campaign. Contact us here!