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Sometimes when we meet start-ups for the first time, I can feel a bit sheepish when the discussion moves to the role of media relations and publicity in their marketing plans.  Although they are keen to build their reputation and manage their public profile, it’s obvious that making sales and expanding their customer base feel like far more pressing issues in these early stages. And of course, they are! But done well, a bit of early publicity can set you off on the path to a well-thought-out strategic communications campaign – one aimed at driving sales.

Here are five reasons why a PR campaign can get your reputation out of the starting blocks:

  1. Your first press release helps you, define you – it’s amazing how many business strategies have been influenced by that first paragraph of a press release, or by being forced to produce a boilerplate. Website aside, it’s one of your first forays into the public domain – and there’s nothing like that kind of pressure to help focus the management team’s minds on what they are trying to achieve.
  1. Content runneth over – press releases and the articles, blogs and the news items they generate give you instant content to splash all over your web and social media sites – filling those blank pages and helping you net those followers.
  1. Now you have something to start talking about –  starting a story or a narrative, opens doors to both virtual conversations via digital media, but also real life networking. When you meet a prospective client, no longer can you only talk about what you are trying to achieve, you can also talk about the issues you are solving for the industry.
  1. Fake it until you make it – ok this sounds controversial, but I want to be honest. If you want clients to see you as a well renowned, national and growing company, you need to act like one from the offset. Even if you are just a man in your summer house at the bottom of the garden.  National coverage and big issue thinking shows you have ambition and more importantly that you know your stuff  – which clients love.
  1. Your PR Agency is your best friend – PR agencies are one of the most multifaceted agencies around – yes I’m biased, but I’ve worked all sides of the marketing mix and I still find it to be true. PR professionals especially B2B, and especially in today’s multi-channel environment, are masters of shaping their services to help give you the best foundations for a strong and commercially-led marketing campaign. They can do internal and external communications, they know social media inside out, they understand how to tell stories and make you sound compelling, they can write all your content, get you in the media and then show you off to all your stakeholders… all for one set retainer fee.

So when you are thinking about how to get the best bang for your brand new shiny marketing budget, investing in a bit of PR is not a bad place to start.