Responsible startup founders are understandably protective of their resources. With the burn rate always in mind, entrepreneurs have to carefully pick and choose which needs to support over the short term, which ones to green light indefinitely, and which ones to decline altogether. Unfortunately, when it comes to PR, too many founders try to cut back on time and expense by “buying” the promise of one or two big press hits instead of backing a well thought out program mapped to company goals. Pursuing those one-off PR hits or short-term projects is not only ineffective, it’s a waste of precious resources. Too many early-stage startups go looking for short-term PR projects when what they should really do is hold off until they can support a more strategic program with internal frameworks, clear strategy and sustained activity. The nibble-here-nibble-there approach might get an entrepreneur that single press hit he thinks he needs to get his business where he wants it to go, but it’s highly unlikely that 15 inches of space in any publication will sway a discerning VC, create a customer base or initiate partnerships. And if your company doesn’t have all of the supporting pieces in place, those short-term results may prove elusive, anyway. Before you embrace a PR program of any size, make sure you know what you’re selling and what differentiates you from the competition. Make sure you know the difference between PR and advertising. Make sure your website is ready for the eyeballs PR will bring, and your team has the bandwidth to manage and measure activities. And finally, make sure you have the funds to invest in a comprehensive PR and marketing program that offers the long-term, continual activity a promising startup needs to thrive. Check out “How to pick a PR firm” for more on how to choose a partner that offers a full menu of services.
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