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Top 5 PR Mistakes of Start-Up Companies

June 19, 2011

I recently answered a question posted on LinkedIn by Karyn Martin about the biggest PR mistake made by start-up companies. I gave two quick answers to Karyn and upon further thought, decided to expand it to a Top 5 list.

Mistake 1: Not clarifying / specifying the message

Can you and your employees answer the simple question, “What do you do?” in a way that the average person could understand? Messaging is critical to all aspects of PR and marketing, if YOU can’t answer this question how can you expect anyone else to understand what you do or buy your product or service?

Mistake 2: Lack of specialization

imageRecently, when I asked the head of a tech start-up what they did best he said, “Everything! There is nothing we can’t do.”

Wrong answer!

As a start-up, you want to demonstrate your expertise in a single area before you move to another. Prove that you are an expert in a particular field and you open yourself to a world of opportunity in the media. The more specific your expertise the better; without it, you risk being one of a thousand others self-proclaimed experts.

Mistake 3: Everything is connected!

imageThink you are not involved in social media because your company doesn’t have a Facebook page? Think again! You and your employees’ Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles are as important as your website. Provide a standard company boilerplate and job descriptions to use in your profiles and the search engine gods will thank you.

Mistake 4: Launching before you are ready You only get one chance to launch your company and make no mistake, launch before you’re ready and you could be dead faster than you think. Better to take that extra week to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Missing information, product features, web content are inexcusable and you will spend more time chasing down errors to correct them after the fact than you would before.

Mistake 5: No follow up news

Don’t be a one-trick pony. To gain momentum you need to continuously stay in front of the media with new information. Use these tips to keep the news flowing:

  • Set up an internal “news bureau” of upcoming news announcement that can convert into press releases, or for less critical news, blog posts and tweets. These can include new customers, partners, products, hires, offices, and more.
  • Monitor the news so you can comment on relevant stories. (Be a subject matter expert!)

Over the last 8 years, Emerging Media has worked with dozens of start-up companies in the technology, financial services and gaming industries. We have seen plenty of good and great companies try to gain a foothold in their respective industries. Whether you are boot-strapping or backed by venture capital, there is no clear-cut formula for success, but steer clear of these 5 PR mistakes ( Or in fact – do the opposite) and you and your company will be in good shape.

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