Start-ups are a blend of passion, bravery and a good idea brought to life by an entrepreneurial mind.
The enormous, seemingly overnight, success of a number of Silicon Valley start-ups has made the concept of start-up businesses a new American Dream. But, start-ups are not just dreams that have become reality. According to the US Small Business Administration they are the backbone of the American economy, accounting for 99 percent of all employers and providing jobs for around 57 million people. Around 543,000 new businesses are started each month!
You may have recently taken the leap as a brand new entity, or you might be a few seasons in, feeling like you’ve learned the ropes. Wherever you find yourself today, your start-up business has been your baby – you’ve put time, money, courage and creativity into making it work – facing each new day with enthusiasm and energy.
418 Communications works with start-ups across a variety of industries, and we see daily the combination of hard work and passion that goes into these businesses. However, hard work is only part of the puzzle; it’s hard to sell a product or service to customers who don’t know you’re there.
Generating awareness of your brand or publicity of your product or service often takes the skill of a communications professional and an integrated public relations plan; however, there are some things you can do on your own as you’re getting started. Here are our top 5 recommendations for generating publicity for your start-up:
1. Tell your story
People love to learn about others, and it’s not only stories of success but also of the challenges faced along the way. How did you get to this point? What inspired your idea? How did you manage obstacles? Mapping out an organized version of your story that you can tell easily is a great way to engage with people and capture and focus their attention in a ‘non-salesy’ way. Learning how to tell your story well will help you engage effectively with your customers, as well as with the media, investors, and others.
Whether you work with an experienced public relations practitioner or you’re working on your publicity alone, developing a strategy is crucial. Think about who your audience is and how you want to reach them to increase awareness of your product or service. Put yourself in their shoes and think long-term: How does your audience communicate? How will you keep them engaged after an initial buzz?
3. Cover all bases
An integrated approach to publicity will yield the best results. You might have identified that your desired audience uses social media heavily. It makes sense then to ensure your business is covered by all social channels, rather than simply focusing on one. It may also be worth considering communications avenues outside social media, such as traditional media, to increase your reach. Think about national and local media opportunities, consumer and industry trade.
4. Be visible
Generating publicity is about people getting to know you and your business, and depending on the type of company you’ve started, there are many different ways to be visible to potential customers. Do you have a bricks and mortar storefront that relies on local foot traffic? Why not host a small event in-store, set up a booth at a local market or sponsor a local event? If your business is conducted online, you could arrange a series of Facebook Live presentations introducing yourself and your product. Your company website is often the first place a prospective client will visit, so no matter your budget, make sure your website is professionally presented and succinct! And, of course, media coverage is a fantastic way of increasing your visibility. One article in the right outlet for your audience can have a tremendous impact on building awareness of your brand.
5. Consider the professionals
Public relations agencies typically work with businesses of all sizes, across a wide variety of industries. No matter now niche you consider your start-up idea to be, there will be firms that either specialize in your area or that are nimble enough to learn your space as well as you know it yourself. PR agencies work with clients to help them tell their stories and present the very best version of themselves to potential customers. Depending on the season of your business, as a time-poor entrepreneur, it can be a very worthwhile investment.