Public relations is too tricky to be left to entrepreneurs

By: Martin Stein, Pitch PR Powered By TrizCom PR

Telling other people about stuff: that’s essentially the stock in trade of public relations. And telling other people about stuff should be an entrepreneur’s top concern.

Build a better mousetrap, but don’t tell anyone, and see how long it takes for the world to beat that path to your door. It won’t happen, not without PR. But it’s more than simply telling potential customers that you exist. As every early stage entrepreneur knows, there are two factors that are as important – if not more – than customers and that’s employees and investors. In both cases, having news stories written by a third party about your startup is crucial. That media presence will attract both a better quality of worker (i.e., someone excited by your project versus someone who just needs the money) and give early-stage investors a greater sense of security.

However, getting that much-valued press in the beginning can be extraordinarily difficult for entrepreneurs. Leaving aside that they are getting a company off the ground (and often working at their “day job” while they do so), PR isn’t as easy as I made it out to be at the top. Skill enters the equation when it comes to deciding which stuff is worth telling, who best to tell that stuff to and what the best method is to tell people about said stuff. These are all problems that a professional publicist is best suited to handle.

Entrepreneurs suffer from the same sort of pride that possesses new parents – there has never been a more beautiful, intelligent and charming baby, and everything Junior does is a miracle. As friends of new parents can tell you, this is simply not true. That’s why entrepreneurs need to enlist the help of an objective person who has an understanding of how the media works and what constitutes news value. Your new website isn’t news, and simply blasting a press release into space rarely accomplishes much.

In addition to having that knowledge and tactical understanding, a PR professional will have a strong sense of strategy. She or he will know which outlets to approach first; how to split your story into different, newsworthy angles; and even when it’s the best time for your particular story to break.

The results of a PR effort in the hands of someone unskilled in the trade can be disastrous. The entrepreneur may burn a reporter (i.e., annoy or anger them), possibly to the point where a company is blacklisted from coverage. The story may get some press but be buried in the back pages – which is still considered “covered” from a news perspective. A poorly written release will give everyone a bad impression of the company and actually scare off employees and investors.

The stakes are simply too high for a fledgling startup. Being an entrepreneur and launching a company should not be a solitary occupation. Entrepreneurs need teams to make their visions a reality, and a publicist should be occupying a center spot.

Martin Stein is vice president of Pitch PR Powered by TrizCom PR

Pitch PR, a division of TrizCom PR, was created in partnership with The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) to assist startups & small business with their public relations needs. Through a unique partnership with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC), Pitch PR is able to shepherd the communications objectives necessary for any PR strategy. Pitch PR admits that they are not one-size-fits-all; they can right-size according to the trajectory of the life in a startup environment. Pitch PR knows that media placement draws new customers as well as garners the attention of influencers, stakeholders and investors. Public Relations can shorten the awareness curve for brands. Pitch PR is geared for companies that have completed their initial funding round and believe in the possibility for high growth driven by powerful messaging in the media. From a simple PR 101 workshop, to a retainer-based strategy and action items to increase a brand’s public exposure, Pitch PR is ready to pitch and win. Ala carte services are available as well. For more information on Pitch PR call 972-247-1369 or www.PitchPR.co.  

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