Words you thought you'd never hear from a PR professional: Sometimes PR isn't the answer. But it's true.
Executed properly, a communications program can serve as a catalyst for a variety of business objectives. But it should not stand alone or be a company's only avenue to success. There are too many startups that hire PR firms too quickly, way before they truly need the on-going assistance. Sadly, many hire big agencies with big budget requirements simply because they think that will prove to reporters and potential investors that they’ve hit the big time. Instead, they are draining their cash.
Whether a company is consumer-facing or focused on business-to-business transactions, its success revolves around its customers. Without customers, you have no company. Throughout your company’s history and particularly early on, you need to devote your attention to the product and your customer base. The PR will come over time.
PR is a complementary component of any successful marketing and customer acquisition campaign. It should not be a stand alone program on which you spend all of your effort or budget, especially if you are early on in your founding. Your key objective should be acquiring customers.
For example, if you haven’t officially launched your company -- that means your website and social media channels aren’t live or if they are, they don’t share any details of what you are doing and who is involved -- it might be beneficial to have a short-term PR program to help make the announcement. But you should not be spending your entire marketing or customer acquisition budget on an on-going PR engagement -- at least not yet.
Have conversations with various agencies and freelancers about short-term campaigns early on so you understand what they need to be successful on your behalf. Identify company and product milestones that you believe are critical for external parties to hear about. Really look at whether that list warrants full-time PR support or if small engagements will suffice.
Sometimes PR just isn’t the answer.
Welcome to ROAMings, a compilation of thoughts and musings about the PR and media industries. This is an opportunity to discuss the “here and now” of the industry, interesting events or case studies, pivotal moments that affect how we approach PR, etc. It isn’t about brand loyalties or preferences -- and we will not be publishing self-promotional materials or talk about our clients in this setting -- but how those brands, individuals and events are leveraging (or in some cases abandoning) PR.