Founder and CEO of JMG Public Relations, an award-winning PR firm for innovators and their mission driven startup companies.
For every founder of a startup company, gaining exposure, focusing on innovation and growing the brand is top priority. To succeed, an extremely important yet sometimes overlooked component is Public Relations (PR).
While it might sound a bit overwhelming to spearhead your company’s PR strategies, who better than the founder?
After all, beyond being the face and voice of the brand, you’re likely the most enthusiastic, passionate and invested team member. Additionally, you know everything about the company, including the everyday workings and milestones.
Even after bringing on a PR professional to take the reins, it’s still a smart idea to remain informed and involved in the process. Until that day comes, there are a handful of tips that will help even the most novice in this area get started.
1. Understand Who You Are
A clear vision of your identity as a company, including what it stands for and the goals you hope to achieve, is an important piece of the PR puzzle. In order to communicate effectively with your customers, you have to understand who you are as a brand. It will allow you to make the emotional connections needed to establish trust with your audience.
2. Understand Your ‘What’ And ‘Why’
A company’s core values are what help guide teams on a day-to-day basis, as well as guiding the vision for business goals. You need to have a clear understanding of what you want your brand to represent. So if someone were to ask you about these core values, what would you say?
Think about how you want to be perceived by others. What do you want people to know about your business and what do you want them to share when talking about you to others? Answering questions like this will help determine the type of messaging you want to issue and how you want the information to be perceived. Infusing your core values into your brand’s messaging will ensure people are aware of them.
3. Create An Impact
Public relations is all about perception. How do others see your brand? This affects whether they decide to support you. Creating a positive image is like building a house: There are certain steps and specific materials needed to achieve the final product.
When putting out information or issuing a statement, be mindful of wording and whether it’s aligned with your company’s core values. We live in a digital society where opinions and information are shared instantaneously. Once it’s out there, it takes on a life of its own, and rarely, if at all, can it be taken back. Relatedly, negative reviews and opinions can spread like wildfire. Though having a crisis response plan is a necessity, working proactively to create a positive image is the main goal of PR.
4. Build A Loyal Following
In the world of PR, relationships are the backbone to what we do. We establish relationships with our clients and with the media. If you’re handling your own PR in the early stages of your company, you’ll need to start building similar connections.
The most important connection to foster is with your customer base. They are the people you want committed to your brand, so you must grow and nurture your relationship. Once people feel a connection to you, and trust what you’re selling, they’ll turn into loyal followers.
5. Know Your Competitors
What sets you apart from your competition? It’s a question every founder asks in the early days of establishing their business. Whatever you’re selling or offering may already be available, so what will set you apart is how you sell it. So to succeed in your industry, you’ll need to know who the major players are and what they are doing to address customer pain points.
Uncovering this information, as well as your audience’s needs and wants, will allow you to peel back the layers on what differentiates your brand, product or service from the competition. This gives you a greater understanding of what your company brings to the table. From there, you’ll be able to establish through your messaging how you uniquely address the pain points of your customers. This will help position your ahead of the competition.
PR is an essential component to a company’s overall success. As the founder, knowing how these processes work behind the scenes will allow you to lay the foundation for growth.