Three PR mistakes tech startups make

PR is a powerful way for startups to punch above their weight and get media attention without buying expensive adverts. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

You assume your customers are just waiting for you to launch so they can sign up and start paying you.

Wrong.

If you don’t tell anybody what you are doing, how will they know? The saddest thing in the world is to see the look of disappointment on a startup’s face when it dawns on him or her that no one really cares.

Tip:

Ask yourself what problem your product or service solves? Identify three key benefits. Explain each benefit in one sentence using no more than 10 words. Do not use long words, jargon or acronyms.

You hire a PR agency and expect to see your company reported on Guardian Tech and Mashable over night.

After all you’ve paid the agency to do exactly that.

Wrong.

No PR agency, however resourceful, has a magic wand or can insist TechCrunch write about you. It doesn’t work like that. It takes time for the agency to understand your technology and be able to explain why anyone should write about you, let alone buy your product.

Tip:

When you start out, you are the person who knows the most about your product.

You need to convince others that it is the next big thing. There is nothing stopping you doing your own PR. If you do hire a PR agency, do your research. Do they have similar clients to you? Do they have the right contacts? Do they ‘get’ your tech?

As a company, you think you don’t have any news.

Time and time again I speak to CEOs and Marketing Directors and they tell me they don’t have any news. Every company has news. You just have to look for it.

Of course, not every milestone is going to make the six o’clock news but by keeping your news ticking over and making regular announcements you can avoid being forgotten. Even if your story is not big enough to send to the press, it could make the lead story in your own company newsletter.

And at the very least, it should be listed on your website, included in a blog post and shared on social media.

Tip:

Start speaking to your customers and your team – what are the biggest challenges facing them? Has that changed recently and is it affecting new sectors? Does your company solve the problem? Read the papers (business and consumer) what is trending? What are the journalists writing about? Can you tie your company to that angle? Start writing down a list of ideas so you can look at it when news dries up. Call up your press contacts and see what they are writing.

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