Are you trying to crack PR for your startup? This framework will help.

The Startup Guy
3 min readSep 27, 2020
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If you look at the mainstream media, you will realize that there are a few startups that keep getting covered over and over again. What is it that they do differently, to get that disproportionate advantage?

There is also some context needed for this.

Though brand-new startups can get some publicity in the media talking about the story of the founders (especially if you were part of another successful startup) — or got funded by some well known Angels or VCs, that coverage is not sustainable. One-off PR is okay at that stage, but It is not the time to focus on full-fledged PR. I’ll explain why.

Keep in mind, that PR does not get you leads — only creates visibility. The goal for an early-stage startup is one: Achieve product-market fit. How? Get that initial set of users (100 customers for B2B), or that set of users who love your product (for B2C) enough that they can't stop talking about it.

Before achieving PMF, PR can simply add noise to what you are doing and confuse the messaging as to who your customers are and might get you interest from those who don’t fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). I’d recommend working with a focused, cohort-based “sales” approach to achieve PMF First, at this stage.

As the startup matures, so does the messaging and the expansion of channels through which you do. You also start focusing a little bit upstream in the funnel. You can start targeting profiles who are not just product-aware, but also solution-aware and problem-aware. (Five stages of customer awareness)

Stage #1: Sales — you start with this. Focus on low lying fruits that you can win, so that you achieve PMF.

Stage #2: Value Marketing — you focus on value (our product helps achieve xyz, cheaper / better / faster). RoI focused. Leverage channels where you can clearly measure the cost of acquisition and can scale up — aka — digital channels.

Stage #3: Brand Marketing — You focus on values. eg. Artists like x, use the products we make. Nike, Apple, etc.

You need to know the right time to transition and expand your focus. A “brand” will do all three as part of the overall campaign, with emphasis on values.

Your PR strategy should kick in, when you are in Stage #2 and Stage #3, and you have to do that consistently.

For one of the startups that I work with, I created a framework that the PR team can use, to work with the stakeholders creating consistent artifacts that the team can leverage. It is at the heart of how to create sustainable PR for your startup, brand, mission, or company — and to not come off as noise to journalists. Close to 1000 people have seen it so far and have given very positive feedback. It is free to access, and use.

Some have asked if I’d do a webinar to walk them through the context — how to set up a PR team, the structure, and also through the framework in detail, with examples. I am organizing a work-shop style webinar (limited to 50 participants) on the 3rd of October, 2020 at 10:30 am — 11:30 am IST. You can register and attend if it is of interest.

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The Startup Guy

The Startup Guy. An Entrepreneur of Entrepreneurs, building a Startup of Startups. I focus on building People - Products & Startups follow.