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90% of PR will ruin your startups, says expert

Recently, I have met several enthusiastic startup founders who are struggling with the costly PR plan from the agency. I must admit that good PR is important, it gives you reputation, frame and lead of business. However, not all PRs are good PR, in fact, 90% of PR is not going to give you any benefit but an expensive bill.

Here are some major faults (traps maybe) that make you budget in PR becomes a waste.

1.) Wrong coverage, wrong focus

Being covered by media is exciting, your friend will share the post on Facebook and tag you in the comment. It is fun to have 100+ likes on social media but what is going to happen next? Most likely the answer would be nothing.
For PR agency, gets a media coverage for a client is not a really hard job. But before you pay for it, you should think twice about what is you need? Do you ready for a PR push? Does your product ready for the public? And more important is, can the media reach your target audience?
Agency would tell you the size of coverage is important, but seldom tell you which media and beat are suitable for you.
There are tons of channels to spread your story, understand their nature and pick the right one.

2.) Branding campaign is spending campaign

Agency is not going to give up any chance to include a branding proposal inside a PR plan. The manager would say the branding campaign is going to rebuild your brand and your brand will get well known. However, the truth is you are going to waste a big portion of your budget with that and nothing will return.
When you set up a meeting with an agency in first time, normally you will get:

  • Presentation with Powerpoint, video, music, animation and ‘PR expert’
  • Your original logos, websites and social media compare with your competitors
  • New design from their side with ‘innovative ideology’
  • Expected outcomes like 10x increase of customers, app downloads and partnerships

After that, you will have more meetings, focus groups and surveys for the perception of the brand with 100 versions of designs. Finally, the boss will make the final decision and all you will get are:

  • New logo
  • New website design
  • New social media interface

At this moment, you burnt most of your budget and the contract period nearly ends. You will receive a vague report and never know how’s the thing actually works unless you pay more to buy a retention contract.
As a startup, 99% of you are not well known enough to re-brand so put your budget to do something right.

3.) You cannot get the speed you want

Being a cool startup founder, you think fast, change fast and pivot fast, all you need is the speed. However, hiring a PR agency will not give you the pace you want.
They are not your staff and probably have known your company since one week before your first meeting. They cannot answer any question of your company and all questions will eventually go back to you which means you are paying to solve the question by yourself.
Despite the fact that your budget is not big enough to receive much attention from the agency staff, it takes time to let the message flows from the journalist to the agency and passed by agency to you.
If you are the only one can do it and do it fast, why you should waste your money?

We believe most of you would agree the biggest challenge of PR is the connection with the journalists. Once you have the channel to reach them, you will be good to do the PR yourself. It is also the reason why we build HelloPR, with the aid of writing the press release and reaching the journalists, I believe all startup can master the PR and spend their budget in a worthy way.

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