Fall is just around the corner and for many businesses, it is a time for planning and moving forward and PR is one of the most cost-effective tools you can use to help promote your business. Even if you do not have a big budget; there is a lot you can do with the smallest of financial outlays utilizing PR.
Here are just a few tips to consider:
Like many entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups, your time may be short to implement these on your own. Hiring someone fulltime or hiring a traditional agency (which can often cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, a month, depending on your industry and focus) is not in the reach for many. There are boutique agencies and solo practitioners that can offer you advice at startup budgets and you can often get much more senior level professionals by going this route. However, even with this don’t simply go for the cheapest price. Look for an agency or professional with a repeatable track record on getting things done.
Does public relations affect the bottom line for entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups? At BYPR, the answering is a resounding “Yes!”
Such is the story conveyed to us from a Symantec VP, who spoke at a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) event we organized. He started with Symantec in the very early days and shared with the audience how it was touch and go with the company regarding its survival. Until one story – and just one story – turned things around. They never looked back.
This has happened first hand with our clients – 10,000 plus downloads from a single Wall Street Journal story, exhibitors at the Seattle Home Show who run out of the literature they brought for the entire nine day run, after a story we placed in the local media included them and the list goes on. One good story really makes all the difference.
What are the keys to success? Work with focused PR counsel – larger agencies in spite of their self-promotion are not necessarily the key for entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups. We’ve had clients who are actively solicited by larger agencies for their accounts, simply because the results we have produced make them think they have much larger budgets than they actually have.
PR is one of the best tools entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups can use to create visibility for their companies. It only takes one news story to make all the difference!
The first question you may have is what are editorial and media calendars? They are calendars of planned articles, theme issues and stories published by the media to help advertisers with their ad planning. This leads to the next question; how do you utilize these for public relations, especially for young emerging companies or SMBs hungry for media exposure? One of the key elements is finding out when media are planning stories relevant to your company or market and reaching out to the reporters, editors and writers with your story or product for possible editorial consideration.
However, using the calendars for PR is time intensive (something many entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups are short on) and also requires a very specific skill set and knowledge. Investing the time and resources will payoff for the startup or SMB trying to gain media exposure, by tying in with articles, features and stories already planned by the media.
Remember, leveraging editorial and media calendars is time consuming, but the benefits are worth it. Not only does it help you build relationships and awareness with the media (even if you’re not included in the story), but you gain inclusion in an article or story that you wouldn’t have been in otherwise. For most entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups, that is a good thing.
For many entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups, TV is the ideal medium for coverage, but not always accessible if they don’t know where to begin. BYPR’s track record in getting startups and smaller companies (as well as larger clients) covered by TV, ranging from local news to national broadcast media including ABC News and The Discovery Channel, is impressive. But as with all public relations, it is important to make sure that it fits your goals and objectives.
A few areas to consider are:
For so many entrepreneurs, startups and SMBs, no matter how experienced they are in media, their main focus is on running their businesses. Generating media coverage is time intensive. For many, sourcing from an outside agency, such as BYPR, is the best way to go.
BYPR’s specialty is emerging and startup companies and our structure reflects that, including costs. One of our unique qualities in the PR industry is our consultative package. This includes working with our clients to develop ways they can implement and execute part or all of their own PR, with expert guidance by BYPR. We have different levels of service for the package, but the overall objective is to help give companies – particularly smaller startups and emerging businesses – access to senior level PR counsel, at prices that fit their budget.
With the start of summer, many people will be taking extended breaks from their businesses, either going on a long vacation or enjoying some relaxing days at the beach. While this is highly recommended, summer also marks the start of the perfect timing to your PR planning.
Magazines and longer lead news outlets typically are putting together their holiday gift guides now with year-end round up/year in review issues and their 2017 editorial calendars not far behind, so summer is the ideal time to get your public relations plans and goals for the fall, winter and beyond, started now.
BYPR has several approaches to this time of year to help companies have a successful PR plan. One of the most important factors is making sure your PR agency is on some type of ongoing, regular relationship such as a retainer that includes regular monthly media outreach as well as general strategy and planning, in addition to project-specific media relations such as new product announcements or corporate news. This approach solidifies that opportunities such as holiday gift guides, editorial calendars, upcoming events and much more, are never missed.
When a client comes to us with their product or service they want to promote through public relations, there are many factors that brought them to BYPR over larger PR agencies.
While we serve startups really well, we also service larger companies that like to use boutique agencies and consultants for personal service, expertise and cost savings. Sometimes it takes a little more work on their end, usually just to find the resources in this bracket, but the results and senior level counsel they receive from us is usually well worth it.
When evalutating an agency, here are some questions to ask. If there is media follow-up, who does it? Are they given talking points for the follow-up calls? What exactly does the account supervisor do on the account? With larger agencies these important day-to-day activities can easily fall through the cracks or get passed on to a junior level associate who may not have the expertise to handle these situations. Here are a few tips to our processes that we have found highly effective and a key feature as to why our clients choose BYPR:
1. We put the senior professionals on the day-to-day direct serving of our clients’ accounts, backed by our network of support professionals behind the scenes, instead of following the standard agency model of putting less senior professionals on the daily servicing, with input by senior staff.
2. In particular, at BYPR senior professionals do the planning, writing and media follow-up. That is why we get great results for our clients – many of whom are emerging companies or startups. It is not uncommon for our clients to get coverage in top national media outlets such as re/code, GeekWire, Fortune and many more!
3. Costs. Many of our startup clients are priced out of obtaining professional PR counsel because of the cost of many standard agencies. At BYPR, we have a streamlined business model that allows us to service these clients at prices to fit their budget.
4. Personal service. At the same time, we also service larger organizations that value the personal service, availability and cost effectiveness that our business model provides.
First of all, what is PR? A lot of people may not know what public relations even is, confusing it with marketing and advertising, which is essentially used to sell a product through a variety of approaches, from direct mail campaigns to paid ads. While PR is part of the marketing mix, it is unique and distinct. At BYPR, we view PR as truth-based story telling
BYPR uses this basic concept in all of our public relations strategies. We are not your average, mass produced public relations agency. We’re here to help you tell your story to the media, from broadcast news to newspapers and blogs.
How do we achieve all this? We have a creative and unique approach that the media likes. They often ask us to use our query letters and bylined article proposals as examples they can post as writer’s guidelines (typical PR firms don’t get that request). We get clients placed in highly visible world-renowned media, such as Skedi Family Calendar, whose first ever article secured by BYPR was a feature in the online and print versions of The Wall Street Journal. We have a special knack for helping younger companies, especially those with emerging technologies, gain the attention of top regional and national media.
Simply put, BYPR takes a new approach from the traditional public relations model to one particularly suited for this new world of start-ups and immerging technology companies. We’re entrepreneurs ourselves and treat our clients' business the way we would treat our own.