Earlier this month, I ventured down to the ‘real capital’ of Ireland, Cork, for a visit to the co-working space Republic of Work run by former Trustev marketing veteran and Irish tech ecosystem legend, DC Calahane.

He had invited me down to be part of the panel of Attention Seeker, an event centred on advising startups and small businesses on how to get their company into the media spotlight.

It was a really enjoyable event, with a great mix of companies, from biotech to goldsmiths, posing some interesting questions. One of the questions that sparked a lot of discussion was: “When is the right time for my startup to start doing public relations (pr)?”

There is no straight answer as every startup will have its own unique circumstances. But it’s never too soon to start thinking about PR for your startup. Take the time to answer the following important questions to gauge whether it’s time your startup begins its own PR campaign or engages a PR agency:

  1. What do you hope to achieve from a PR campaign?
    Write down your objectives. For companies with a marketing or sales strategy, this can be much clearer than for those without. Public relations works most effectively with clear goals and a target around deliverables and having an existing framework can help clarify that.
  2. Are your goals realistic?
    If you haven’t featured in media outlets anywhere before, it will likely take time to establish yourself before top tier outlets begin to take an interest. So ask yourself what a win should look like on a monthly or quarterly basis. Make sure your goals are measurable and achievable.
  3. What are the key messages you want to communicate?
    Perhaps you are trying to tell a growth narrative to attract investors or you are looking to recruit people in a highly competitive sector. Ensure your messages are clear and concise. Write down one to three goals; more than three and you risk running the risk of being pulled from your original objective 

 Answering these questions will make you think about what you can achieve from launching a public relations strategy for your startup. The truth is, you can start pr at any stage of development but, you need to make sure you are prepared.

The final thing to note is that great PR requires time. This is especially true for startups stepping into the public realm for the first time. For the majority of companies, success doesn’t happen overnight and a great PR campaign requires both clarity of focus and persistence so as to avoid gaps in the growth story you will be presenting to the world. A bit of thought in advance can save you a lot of trouble later.

Questions? If you’re exploring whether it’s a good time to start doing PR at your startup, pop me an email over at james@clearstoryinternational.com and I’d be happy to help where I can.