5 ways for tech startups to act big. Big like a bear.
Learn how to use PR to look bigger than you as you scale your company
If you meet a bear, the advice is not to run but to make yourself look as big as you can.
Same advice applies to startups. You need to look strong and behave like the company you want to be. Make your company look bigger than it is and people will pay attention and trust you.
And if they trust you, they will buy from you, invest in you and work for you.
This blog is for tech startup founders and their marketing teams.
It will demystify some of the processes of PR and give you tools you need to get coverage for your tech startup. But first…
Why do I need to look big?
Because you have competition. You are not the only company in town. Be honest, there are probably hundreds doing exactly what you do or something like it. Take a look at your pitch deck. You’ll find them all listed there!
You need to break through the noise and be the brand everyone’s heard of. By getting media coverage you not only become talked about but you also become credible.
Credibility is a curious feeling when you first experience it. Nothing has changed on the surface, you are still the same people, doing the same things, facing the same challenges. But now an independent third party has written about you, you feel different.
I’ve heard startup founders describing it as becoming a ‘grownup’. No longer a child but an adult with opinions that matter and a voice that gets heard. There is a shift in perception, you, the company is a ‘thing’, it is real, no longer just a good idea and a team of people.
You are a contender.
So how do I look big?
By acting big. By doing everything a big company does and thinking like the company you want to be. PR is the most effective and affordable way to do that.
When you’re starting out you don’t have the market penetration, geographical reach, financial backing or the brand recognition of your more established competitors. Neither do you have the advertising budgets to go toe to toe with them.
What you can do is use PR and the media to level the playing field. Here are five key tactics of PR that will help you look bigger than you are.
1. Offering comment to journalists
Tech startups are the change-makers of industry, the disruptors, the next generation. Your voices need to be heard and your opinions sought. Getting yourself included in articles about trends and issues facing the market gives you authority and credibility.
Often you will be quoted alongside bigger, more established companies. You are not only securing share of voice and raising awareness of your brand but you are positioning your company as a leading player in the market and a challenger to the big brands.
2. Press Release your milestones
Big companies work hard to keep their brand in the media and also in the public eye. They keep a timeline of news announcements primed to make throughout the year. These don’t need to be the stuff of global headlines, they are the standard milestone announcements that business sites and specialist trade media cover.
Large and small companies pass through the same milestones - they win new contracts, hire senior people, create partnerships, secure investment, win awards, launch new products and report annual results. Do what they do, believe your news is important and press release it to the relevant media outlets.
3. Create a PR strategy
Your PR strategy should be firmly tied to your business strategy. Every one of your business objectives should have a PR objective supporting it. If you start your media strategy in the early days of your growth, you put yourself on a trajectory to grow and be the big company you want to be. PR objectives can be to:
4. Bylined articles
Building on the idea of thought leadership. Why not write a full article or blog and offer it to a media outlet your customers read? By having your byline in an independent media outlet you will be positioned as credible and opinion formers for the sector.
Your unique insights will be valuable to the media outlet and its audience. The more ‘opinion’ you can offer (not just sitting on the wall and being vanilla) the better. Again, this is about your role as challengers to the status quo.
Don’t be afraid to be controversial as long as you work within the framework of your business and communication objectives. As tech startups you can be the ‘enfant terrible’ of the industry.
By giving journalists a steady stream of news and comment you are building long term relationships with journalists and the media outlets that are important to your company. So when something big happens in your industry or sector journalists will be looking for independent comment on that news.
And that’s where you come in. Because you have already built a relationship with specific media outlets, the journalists writing there will trust you. They may call you direct asking for comment on breaking news or you can proactively offer them comment - this is called newsjacking.
Having the vision and determination to succeed and to make your startup the one that breaks through is a mindset you need from the start.
You want to scale. You want to keep moving forward. You want to face down all the bears in your way.
PR is one of the levers you can choose to accelerate your growth and support your sales and marketing efforts.
PR is not a vanity project. It should be tied tightly to your business objectives and directly impact your business strategy and support growth.
So think big from the start. Building relationships with journalists, being part of the conversation and maintaining a steady drum beat of news. Act like a big company and you will be treated like a big company.
Don’t be scared to make yourself look bigger than you are because one day, you’ll find you are one of the big guys.
Find out more about getting PR for your tech startup at www.PingGo.com
Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash