For many startups, PR is the last thing they’re thinking about. In some instances, it simply never occurs to them to pursue media opportunities or work with a tech PR agency. Others figure that PR is a luxury expense that is appropriate for established brands that need to manage their reputations but not for a startup that’s trying to get to market. In fact, there is no better time for PR than in a company’s infancy.
Here’s what you’re missing if you neglect PR.
There’s no better ‘advertisement’ for a product or service than positive coverage from an objective news source. A skilled PR effort that is able to get your company covered by a credible news outlet sparks genuine curiosity and interest among those consuming the news. It prompts some of those who read the article or watch the segment to immediately check out your company by clicking to your website. Others will become aware of your brand and be more likely to gravitate towards it when they’re in the market for whatever you’re selling.
While a tech PR agency focused on startups often has more insight and experience in helping their clients gain positive media coverage where it counts, there is no reason why a startup can’t start small and begin testing the PR waters. Swyft even published a comprehensive Tech Startup PR Guide to help you out.
Getting in the news is a good way to attract new investors. Many VCs voraciously consume the tech and business press, always on the lookout for a promising new investment opportunity. Even if they don’t see the news when it comes out, you can bet the first thing they’ll do before agreeing to a meeting with you is check you out on Google –– it will certainly help your case if they learn about your company through credible media sources and not just your website.
Does seeing your competitor quoted in the news about your industry annoy you? It should! Especially if your own company wasn’t mentioned. By letting them hog the media spotlight, you’re forfeiting a major opportunity to be perceived as an industry authority or thought leader, which gains credibility for your brand.
Many tech PR agencies specialize in understanding your industry and competitors. They know how to plan and execute PR campaigns that steal the limelight away from them and toward you. There’s no better way to gain credibility in the eyes of your target buyers than to have a news outlet say favorable things about you.
A lesser known benefit of PR is its ability to boost your startup’s long-term SEO strategy. If you work with a tech PR agency that has relationships with reputable news media outlets like TechCrunch, Forbes, or WSJ, you’re increasing your chances of landing earned media coverage on sites with high domain authority. This translates into more credibility for your startup, but not just in the eyes of the buyer. Google will also recognize your website as a trusted source once it’s linked to these reputable sites.
Social media traction
PR efforts overlap with your social media marketing strategy. Coverage in mainstream press outlets or niche websites will naturally boost your social media following. It’s this type of attention that can serve as a crucial catalyst to jumpstart your social media presence and create a snowball effect. In fact, there’s a high correlation between getting mentions in mainstream news outlets and gaining a huge following on social media. Nothing excites the passions of tech enthusiasts and professionals quite like hearing about VC fundings, product launches and customer wins. Cold sales emails certainly don’t, nor does your typical marketing content geared towards promoting your product.
Attracting top talent
As you scale up the organization, you want to attract employees who are looking for more than a paycheck. You want people who are excited to be on your team and believe in your mission. A PR strategy that consistently communicates your values in the media will go a long way in connecting you with smart, ambitious prospective workers.
Sales funnel support
Not only does PR increase brand awareness and reputation, and boost digital marketing efforts, but it also supports your startup’s sales funnel. PR helps drive leads down the funnel by creating media coverage opportunities that lead to a boost in website traffic. With an increase in Direct and Referral traffic to your startup’s website, startups can increase their chances of converting visitors into sales qualified leads.
PR is being used more and more often by savvy tech startups to augment their sales enablement content, providing sales professionals with a great excuse to share relevant breaking news with their top prospects. At the end of the day, a tech PR agency should be well-versed in how startups can start leveraging their media coverage in support of not only the sales funnel but also customer retention, a key metric for many SaaS startups. If they aren’t, it may be time to shop around for a new agency.