When we talk to entrepreneurs about public relations and Startup communications, they often ask us “What are the mistakes startups make while communicating their brand to the target audience?” The clue to the answer lies in the very question–‘communication’ and ‘target audience’. Communication can help brands build credibility and establish authority, but for that, how you communicate, and the clear sight of your target audience can make a huge difference. The secret to a successful PR strategy rests in strong insight-based messaging, smart execution, and clear metrics.
To help startups carve the right communication strategy, here are five common PR mistakes that entrepreneurs can avoid.
- Unrealistic expectations: The excitement to share the innovation by your startup is obvious. However, having unrealistic expectations in communicating them can lead to despair. For long-term impact through big ideas, you need time. Time to develop the campaign, time to execute it, and time for impact to show. Of course, you can’t just wait for that, so for sustained visibility, you need to work on quick wins such as industry stories and conversations with the media.
- Not every development is newsworthy: Startup founders feel an unsaid pressure of generating news to be recognized and acknowledged. What needs to be understood is that your audience need “news” and not “events.” Not every story or development is newsworthy.
The best way to decide which story will be received well in the media is by being out there physically. Regularly connecting with the journalists and taking part in industry events and forums can help startup founders in deciding what needs to be communicated and how.
- Do not promote, ATTRACT: Storytelling often relies on the ‘show, don’t tell’ maxim. Constantly talking about how great your brand is can make your audience tune you out. Talk instead about what you can do for them. People want to associate themselves with the brands that add value to their lives and can be trusted. And to build that credibility in the market, brands need to talk about the impact of their product or service.
- One size does NOT fit all: This brings us to the fourth most common mistake that startups end up making. In a world where we are constantly designing products customized to the consumer’s needs, it is equally important to personalize the approach for communications. Again, this means understanding where and how your target audience consumes their information. Are they on social media or only rely on traditional media, how savvy are they in terms of your industry, who do they trust—all these and more are important parameters you must know. We are living in the age of personalization and communications is no different.
- Don’t give up: Entrepreneurs are known for their grit and persistence. These same qualities are needed for their communications journey as well. Do not give up when there are no immediate results. PR is a dynamic industry, and it takes numerous emails, pitches and conversations to hit the right nerve. PR requires patience and compelling and original viewpoint. Staying updated with the industry developments and thinking what new and unique you can add to a journalist’s story can do wonders. Assuming that PR isn’t meant for your brand is a myth.
Building your startup’s reputation takes strategy, hard work, smart execution, and lots of patience. It isn’t a day’s work. It takes time, courage, and focus. If you stay the course and tell your story well consistently, success will come your way.