As a startup, most companies understand the need for Public Relations (PR), but not everyone understands how it works. PR is the way your start-up communicates with the public and media. A PR professional communicates with the target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and sustain a positive and effective image and create a strong relationship with the audience.
People think that the media is under the control of the PR person, which is not so. The first step of effective PR is to be able to understand that the media functions on a mind of their own. Their choices are final, and the story angle depends on them. Therefore, its paramount that you make a lasting first impression.
For a startup that has never directly interacted with media that can be challenging. You might have several questions in your mind like: What kind of questions will they ask, how do I respond to their queries in a satisfactory manner, should I reveal my financials.
So, here is a quick guide for startups to help them have a successful interaction with the media.
1) While speaking to the media, weave a story about what is it that you do and how will it prove to be vital in the existing landscape. Such stories tend to stay for long with the listeners.
2) Talk to them about how the startup idea was born and how you have progressed. Include bits about the founders and share anecdotes. This will make for a great narrative.
3) Be empathetic to the media. Their growth depends on good stories. They are not compelled to do your story.
4) Make a compelling case to write the story. Like Rags to riches is always a good tale and the media love it. Make it worth the journalist’s time who have tight deadlines and are always hard pressed for time.
5) Believe in what you say. Conviction can be sensed by media and they are thrilled to speak to passionate startups.
1) Be condescending or make remarks like when will you publish this story (or) does this make sense to you.
2) Make your narrative about yourself. Unless the story has been pitched to profile you. The focal point of the interview should be your startup and nothing else. The sum of the parts is always greater, and it makes for a compelling story.
3) Assume that the PR person controls the outcome of the story. If the story is positive or negative, it is under the discretion of the media and the information shared as well as available to them.
4) Rush through your interaction or show the media you are hurried/pressed for time. Media hate people who are unwilling to spend time with them. Try to give concise answers with clarity and don’t beat around the bush.
5) Say anything off the record. Nothing is ever off the record and you can be held for what you say. If it is confidential, keep it to yourself.
1) Rehearse what you want to say and make sure you have your talking points in front of you. However, don’t share the document with the media.
2) Stay courteous, stay smart, stay effective.
3) Engage the media through every step of the conversation. Make it a dialogue to keep it interesting. Don’t try to force your views on the media.
4) Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t pretend to be someone you think might please the media.
5) Enjoy the interaction regardless of the outcome. Each experience is a learning. Moreover, such interactions will help you in building your network which can prove to be useful in the future.
PR & Media Contact:
Matt Bird, CEO
C: +1 (646) 401-4499