How Can You Leverage Media to Reach Your Business Goals

We believe that companies should primarily focus on their business goals and things that help them achieve those. The same applies to PR and the media: leave vanity fairs to others and focus on the stuff that matters. 

What is PR

Public relations mean utilizing the existing media channels and publications to spread your message to a much larger audience than you might have by yourself. It’s different from advertising, in fact, in any top-tier publication these areas couldn’t be more separated from each other.

  • Public relations are earned. It implies an organic interest in your content from the reporters.
  • Advertising is bought. You simply pay the advertising department to place your ads along with the editorial content.

Technically, the audience figures might be the same. People tend to block ads, experience “banner blindness” and don’t really trust them. But they trust high-profile publications and even particular reporters they might get familiar with. That’s why you might need PR – because people would trust your message more. 

Reporters are always looking for the next story to write. They investigate, they source news, but at the end of the day they often cover announcements shared with them secretly in advance (you can learn more about how news stories are written here). This is your chance to connect to them, pitch your story and get covered. When you do this, you have to compete with hundreds of other stories and pitches – so yours have to be compelling. 

Your stories might come in different forms: company profiles, interviews, funding announcements, expert opinions. What matters is the message you’d be spreading about yourself and who would read it. You should be the first to write down the story of yourself and your company, memorize it and then utilize every interaction with the reporters to tell it. This story should be aligned with your business objectives and make your project more valuable and interesting to a particular audience you want to target.

What Can You Use it For

PR is useful for three particular goals.

  • Attracting prospective customers and partners
  • Securing interest from venture capital investors
  • Winning the best candidates and retaining talent

There are special cases, such as protecting the reputation of your company during a crisis, but most businesses primarily employ PR for these goals and it’s not a coincidence – this is where it shines. Let’s dig into these reasons one by one.

Attracting prospective customers and partners

PR can help you build both awareness and legibility to attract and secure customers and partners. It highly depends on what kind of customers you serve and might be looking for. If you have a tech product, publications on relevant outlets, e.g. TechCrunch or 9to5Mac might give you an initial boost of visitors but it’s not a sustainable long-term channel. Instead, these publications instill trust in the audience – it’s like they share their reputation with you.

And that is particularly helpful for high-profile B2B sales. It’s one thing to be selling affordable products to single developers and it’s a completely different beast to win 7-figure contracts with a CIO of a big company. You need them to know you, to know about you and trust that you won't disappear or might cause them unnecessary risks. 

Securing interest from venture capital investors

If you want to raise funding, media might help you generate awareness and even FOMO if you get mentioned on top-tier media outlets. Investors read it and might either get interested and reach out by themselves cold or that would play for you in the future when they’re offered an introduction by someone in your mutual network.

In fact, I’ve personally witnessed startups that just announced their recent funding round to be bombarded by requests from people who wanted to squeeze in. 

Winning the best candidates and retaining talent

Media publications often act as a good validator that you’re a legit company and have enough funds to pay them at least for some time – the venture-backed startups space is pretty chaotic. It also helps when people can show the article to their partners and/or family and explain why the hell are they leaving a good job for a company they have never heard about. 

When Do You Need PR

Just like you wouldn’t buy traffic for a bad landing page, there’s no sense in running full-time media communications if you’re unprepared. Possible future publications have to be able to bring something to you – and you should be able to harness that.

  • No reason to pitch reporters if your story isn’t going to be interesting at this point. 
  • No reason to attract customers if you don't even have a signup button or a waitlist.
  • No reason to attract investors if you can’t start a serious conversation with them.
  • No reason to attract candidates if you can’t hire anyone yet.

Focus on building your product, nailing your vision, and writing down your story. Cover all the basics, from a nice website to a thought-out pitch of your company. 

As your company becomes larger, the focus of PR and media communications inevitably changes from quantity to quality. And PR itself turns into table stakes. On one hand, it’s easier to explain who you are, on the other you have to ensure you’d be telling the right message. If you don’t do it yourself, others will form an image for your company that you’ll probably disagree with. That’s why at this stage you should communicate proactively and build relationships with the reporters and the media in advance, so when the time comes, it’d pay off.