Is Your Startup “PR Ready”?



Original Artwork by Katie Rhead

I’ve been engaged with Public Relations (PR) since I was a kid (my dad was a PR executive), and my brother went on to start his own PR company. I’ve hired and worked with many PR agencies over the years (including BAM, who works with us at Thomvest Ventures). Given all the money I’ve seen wasted over the years on PR by various businesses (including startups), I’d like to offer some ways to help ensure your investment in this incredible and unique marketing discipline is money well spent.

Reality Check: AirBnB and Tesla Are Exceptions Among Thousands of Brands — We’ve all witnessed the power of positive press for a startup. Examples include the story of Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia who were unable to afford their rent in San Francisco; it eventually led to the creation of AirBnB. Tesla spends nothing on advertising and has been the star of countless stories of being a fearless pioneer in the electric vehicle industry. The best part (from AirBnB and Tesla’s POV) is they got all this positive coverage without hiring a PR firm or reaching out to reporters.

Any founder’s dream is to attract that kind of press coverage without having to invest precious startup funds in traditional marketing. Unfortunately, for 99.9% of startups, you will have to spend money on marketing (including PR) for your startup to get the associated benefits (i.e., awareness, customer leads, fundraising boost, recruiting enhancement, etc.). The critical success factor is to be thoughtful (Read more...)