For startups, hiring a PR firm hinges on 4 key factors

Every new business has hiccups, but prematurely enlisting public relations might be a mistake. Here are cues for taking the plunge—and guidance for reaping the rewards.

4 signs you're ready to hire PR help

Your startup is gaining traction, and you want to rev up your sales and marketing efforts.

You might consider hiring a PR firm to put your company on the map and cement your credibility in the minds of customers, investors and potential hires.

No matter what size your budget, you’ll need key elements in place to increase your chances of campaign success.

When is it time for your startup to invest in PR? Here are a few signs:

1. Your product or service is solid. Every new startup has some kinks, and you don’t want to turn on the PR game until you’ve addressed major bugs, glitches or other hiccups. For a tech company, this means doing due diligence in building your product—including running a successful beta, gathering ample feedback and getting the product market-ready. Understanding why and how your product or service resonates in the marketplace will guide your long-term PR strategy.

2. You have clear goals and objectives.PR can do many things for a brand, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What do you want your agency to help you accomplish? Do you need to raise awareness? Accelerate growth? Hire? Is there a certain market perception you want to shed—or strengthen? Without knowing what you’re aiming for, your PR firm can’t do an effective job on your behalf.

3. You know whom you need to reach. Early on, you might target a particular market segment, only to find your early adopters are in a completely different place. Having a clear idea of your target user helps PR pros tailor a campaign to your audience and anticipated growth areas. Your audience might go beyond potential customers. If you seek or have secured a round of funding, you’ll want to target investors, too. They want to feel confident and know that you’re increasing market traction. Landing coverage will raise your credibility among investors and other stakeholders.

4. You have news (and a compelling story). Without a strong story that journalists and their audiences will care about, you probably won’t see the PR results you’re looking for. Funding announcements, new hires, product expansion, significant company growth or milestones are all newsworthy items that can help generate awareness.

Nicole Fallon is CEO of Lightning Media. A version of this post first appeared on the Flight PR blog.

Topics: PR

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