PR Fish Bowl

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How PR Can Treat Every Company Like a Start-Up

How PR CanOnce an established company decides to engage in public relations activities, the decision presents some wonderful opportunities to burnish, refresh and create anew – much like what a start-up does as it enters the marketplace. Here are some ways that strategic PR planning can help leaders regain that “new company smell.”

Re-examine the mission. We have often seen a company begin with one mission only to shift subtly or dramatically after a stint in the marketplace. For example, a medical device client launched with a heavy b2b focus for their products and services, only to migrate a year or so later to a more consumer-oriented positioning. Pivots like these require companies to educate their staffs and partners to make sure everyone reads from the same script. What often works well is a company retreat or other “off-campus” brainstorming to reassess and shift gears to align internally and agree on a strategy for external communications.

Get me rewrite! As a general guideline, companies should update their website, rewrite background materials, down to press release boilerplate, as often as milestones happen within the company, e.g. new products are added, new leaders appointed, or the company marks a key anniversary. However, many companies are guilty of infrequent materials review. Beginning a PR campaign is just the impetus these businesses need to assess all external communications materials and get everything up to speed.

What’s new? Before the PR team begins any outreach to press, the established company needs to align with their marketing calendar to see what news can be announced. As with a start-up, the PR team will be looking for financial announcements, new products on the horizon, important partnerships and other hard news. As well, the team will seek “soft” news, interesting data points, or ways to connect to seasonal topics: state primaries, holidays, etc.

Pleased to meet you, again. In this reassessment phase, a mature company can take a good, hard look at the last time they garnered media attention. If a few years have gone by, it can be a great time to reach out to many of the same press which covered them before, to provide a “look at us now” kind of update piece. There are also opportunities to reach out to all the media who cover a space, but who haven’t ever covered the particular company.

Get a handle on content. Some companies have been out of the limelight long enough to have missed the rise of “thought leadership” as a PR tool to building reputation. But that doesn’t mean said companies haven’t been producing content for other reasons. These speeches, presentations or other materials can have second and third lives as bylined articles, blog posts and white papers. Whenever we begin a PR engagement, we always ask for everything leadership has written so we can cull some very usable content from what already exists.

As the second quarter of 2016 begins, now is an opportune time to think like a “start-up” and get some fresh PR perspective.

There are certain things any company needs to know before working with a PR team — especially tech startups. Download our free tipsheet on the 7 Things Tech Startups Need To Know About Working With PR. 

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