Sunday, October 27, 2013

PR for Startups: Why & How You Should Be Doing Things Differently

PR is a crucial element to any type of business, but especially so to startups. It will make or break your success and it is important to keep in mind that you should be doing your PR differently than the brands you see on TV. They already have an established reputation and name, and you are trying to achieve that, so mimicking what they are doing in their stages of success won't work for you and your business. Your PR efforts need to be entrepreneurially tailored to your startup. 

Here are five tips for you and your emerging brand:

1. You're not Google or Apple, yet. 

A lot of startups expect huge media hits right away, and to put it bluntly...that's not going to happen. We get it, it's your baby and you are so close to it and so proud of it, of course you think the whole world should share your sentiments. And if you do your PR right, they will one day. It's ok to aim high and dream big, thats what essentially makes you an entrepreneur. You're a doer, a dreamer, you've got a fire lit under your butt and want to make stuff happen and that's what we love about you. But on the PR and publicity side, things don't move so fast and at this stage in your business (almost) any publicity is good publicity. 

2. You need to have a designated PR person. 

Too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of attempting to wear too many hats. Just because you can wear all the hats doesn't mean you should. This is true for any business, but especially for entrepreneurs. Your startup is essentially your baby and this can result in you being too close to it to be able to accurately pitch/explain it to other people. You don't want to have to deal with worrying about your next media hit or rejection, how people are perceiving your brand, etc. You are too close to your project and that's exactly where you should be.  Think of it this way, if you were applying for a job you wouldn't send your mom in for your interview, would you? Of course she thinks you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, she made you. You submit a resume, a carefully curated accumulation of your accomplishments that is (should be) factual. Think of your PR person as your living, breathing resume. 

3. Be very, very careful. 

Right now you are attempting to build your brand, so this is a kind of double edged sword. It's amazing because you have the opportunity to create and project any image that you want for your business, but if you don't predetermine what you want to put out there, then you leave the opinion up to the public who may or may not understand your business. No business should suffer a major slip up, but if, heaven forbid, it happens to Apple yes it will be tragic, but they have their already established reputation to fall back on. People will think "Yea Apple screwed up, but they are still an innovative leader in the technology industry." Your company doesn't yet have the luxury of having a recognized name/brand. These early stages will determine the future of your name, so approach them cautiously and be prepared. 

4. You're important too

Remember that it's not just about your company, your image is also important. You are the face of the company, and many times with startups their teams are usually small or nonexistent, so the public and the media will most likely be turning to you for interviews, information and more. In today's world of social media and cyberspace it is virtually impossible to avoid transparency. When people look up your brand they will look you up too. On Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, LinkedIn, everywhere. Small businesses have that personal connection and everyone will not only want to know about your company, but about you. Be active on social media and try to ensure that that your actions/thoughts are in line with those of your brand. 

5. Do this. 

Exactly what we are doing right now. Blog. Create content. Post pics. You need to give people material to learn about your company and actively putting out content will help you know your audience and converse with them. It's great to retweet this and share that, but don't limit yourself to merely sharing other's content. Create your own and get people talking about you

What PR tips would you add to our list for startups and entrepreneurs?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why Ragan's PR Daily Rocks Our Socks

Ragan's PR Daily is without a doubt one of our go-to sites for anything PR related, and we're certain that we aren't alone in this sentiment. Based on the sheer volume of shares, engagement and laughs their articles get out of us and our peers on social media, it is obvious that they are an example to follow in the world of communicating and social media. They're laugh out loud funny, informative and current; basically they are that it girl in high school that all the gals want to be best friends with and all the boys want to date.

So, why are they so awesome? Let's make a little list à la PR Daily of the top 3 reasons we love Ragan's so much:

1. To the point & on point.

As PR professionals we are used to concise writing coupled with a hectic lifestyle, and anything that takes more than a minute or two to read through might get tossed to the side. Ragan's PR Daily masters the art of the top 5 list (and even the top 10, 15, 20 etc) and keeps their information both light yet knowledgeable. The content is always relevant and is usually somehow tied into today's pop culture, thus allowing you to remain up to date not only with your field, but with the world as well. Two birds with one stone? Heck yes, PR professionals love anything that ups efficiency levels.

2. They know their place.

There is a very fine line in the social media world between being consistent and being, well, annoying. Too many companies overwhelm you through not one social network, but multiple; while others are merely wallflowers that never seem to speak up or own a voice. Ragan's doesn't feed into either of these extremes. They consistently have content, yet somehow never seem to bother or overwhelm. They are like that comforting cup of coffee first thing in the morning saying "Hey, we got you. We're hear whenever you need us, and if you need us a little later, that's ok too." They are extremely active on   Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but even when I miss a day or two (which doesn't happen often) I never feel completely out of the loop. A good 15 minutes roaming around the site will get you all caught up, and even if you are a regular, there always seems to be something new to discover. This is gold in the world of social media and makes Ragan's a star pupil.

3. Memes. Oh, the Memes. 

I don't know how old the people running Ragan's are but it sure feels like they are right there beside me in Gen Y. They know memes, heck, they could teach a class on memes. Always appropriate, always awesome. Their articles are always accompanied by the perfectly suited meme, acting as a teaser for whatever witty piece they have written. Let me just tell you that my Instagram feed is full of memes courtesy of Ragan's that  I only wish I had thought up first.

Basically, if you are in any PR, comms or any social media field Ragan's PR Daily will be extremely informative, and amusing to you. They are a leader in the industry and an example to be followed.

That concludes our love letter to Ragan's PR Daily
Do you have as much of a crush on PR Daily as we do? Who are your go to websites for information in the PR industry?