For tech startups in early stages of development, PR might be far down the list of priorities. There is a product to develop, there are technical issues to resolve, patents to secure, and an endless list of other essential tasks. In the rush to get the product out there, many startups won’t focus on PR until after the product has been released.
Rather than waiting until launch, however, tech startups should be working with PR experts from the very beginning in order to have a PR plan already in motion before even raising funding.
PR is about more than direct product sales
The first reason for tech startups to hire a competent PR company as early as possible is that PR is not the same as product marketing. It’s a common misunderstanding that PR is only about raising sales. To some extent, it is – but it’s also about much more than the bottom line.
In the early stages of a venture, PR focuses on finding your unique voice and communicating it effectively to investors and to the public. Many first-time entrepreneurs struggle to clarify their messaging, particularly when innovative technology is involved, and make their mission statement both engaging and accessible to potential investors.
The main purpose of PR is to build and maintain a reputation for both the company and the product. When the product is still in the early stages of development, PR can (and should) focus on the company, in order to position in favourably in the eyes of investors and later customers and employees. As you might imagine, building an online image takes time – hence the process needs to be put in motion as early as possible.
With or without a ready product, you are your message
While you work on developing your product and securing investments, you have nothing to show for your startup other than what you’re going to do. This means that in order to be both noticed and understood by investors, future customers, and other audiences, you need focused branding and a clear voice. To investors in particular, your message is everything – and PR is all about creating that message and making it heard.
There’s more to early-stage PR than helping you to secure funding, though. By building a public image of trust, expertise, and legitimacy, you’ll also be attracting more talent to your startup and creating a ‘buzz’ around your company and your product. Positioning your startup as well-known and innovative is going to ensure a successful launch as well – people need to know about you and your product long before it hits the market.
Tech startups are particularly reliant on successful PR
There are several reasons why startups in the technology industry need to pay particular attention to their PR strategy, and implement it as early as possible.
Technology is a rapidly developing field, and one of the most popular industries for startups in general. This means that as a newcomer, you are entering a crowded and highly competitive market. PR is the only way forward if you want your voice to be heard and your product not to be overlooked in this environment.
A number of tech startups out there are working on products expected to be very disruptive. By this, we mean products and solutions that are set to revolutionize an important field, such as aspects of healthcare or finance. The timing and quality of PR is especially important for these companies – largely to ensure no one else gets there first.
Leaving PR to the experts to focus on development
There are two primary reasons why hiring a PR firm is a better alternative to in-house PR: time and expertise.
PR companies are experts at what they do, with a wealth of experience in what works and what doesn’t. This further streamlines the process, as there is no trial-and-error phase. Branding is much more difficult than it might appear at first glance, as is effectively conveying the message and mission statement to the media.
Furthermore, while it’s easy enough to maintain profiles on social media, a tech startup needs to have an established presence in other, more traditional media and news outlets in order to be taken seriously. When an investor searches for your startup online, you ideally want them to see mentions of you in media outlets all over the world – not just your official website and Facebook page. PR experts such as ourselves have existing contacts in various news sources and publications, which gives us the opportunity to promote your company beyond social media.
By handing your PR over to the experts, you can rest assured your branding will be taken care of while you focus your efforts on what you do best: working on your product.