Life Science
Incubator Leiden

What PR can do for start-ups

As a starting entrepreneur, the media landscape can be a jungle where you must find a path to success without a  tour guide. Many researchers and scientists have beautiful innovations but are missing the tools and knowledge to put their businesses in the spotlight. In this article, you will read more about the power of PR for start-ups, tips for using communication correctly and how to grow from idea to full-fledged player.

Man presenting to a group as part of what PR can do for start-ups.

PR is an undervalued expertise which can be very useful for a lot of companies, provided it is used in the right way. As a start-up, you don’t have much to lose yet in terms of reputation or image damage . Nevertheless, it is definitely worth the effort to build on a positive brand image. As a company in the scientific sector, you already have an advantage. Lots of scientific news has a positive side, think: innovations, new studies and results or prototypes of new ground breaking instruments. These kind of stories are popular amongst press and journalists because everyone wants to hear good news.

The advantage of having your own media planning is that you have the control and the power to decide where and when something appears in the news about your company. Of course, that isn’t the full story. PR requires creating content, developing strategies and building a network with people. To help you with these subjects, here are some tips:

  1. Determine your target audience

The first step in the process is to determine who you are targeting with your communications. Do you want more brand awareness? Are you looking for interns? Do you want to generate attention for your product, service or event? These kind of questions will help you to get a clear view of what you want to communicate, and more importantly, to whom.

  1. Focus your communications

Lots of people think that a press release to a large news or press bureau is enough to get the job done. They couldn’t be more wrong. Some organisations have to acknowledge that their story does not have enough news value for the general public . Try to reach out to a local newspaper, magazine or radio station. These types of media are generally keen to write about neighbourhood success stories. In the end, they are looking for content too. In many cases, this strategy is a lot more effective. Shoot with aim!

  1. Check out your content options

A company is almost never boring. There always is some kind of success story, victory, elevating or turbulent period or interesting group of people within an organization. Creating content may be easier than it appears. For example, interviewing a few employees or colleagues could be a great first step. Make sure you ask about the reason why they chose to work for your business. Even though it may not result in a newsworthy story, it could be a great tool for brainstorming and having insight in the strengths of your company. Also, writing a blog isn’t a crazy idea. When you think about it, you will definitely come up with some interesting subjects or topics with added value for the industry you’re working in. These things can be great content for your social media.

  1. Determine when to use media

To have news or content is a one thing, but timing it in the media for the most effective conversion is another. Good timing will help your message to stand out from the rest. For example, think of an announcement for an event which you want to generate attention for. Usually a week before the event is the best moment to release your message to the media. There are some useful tools that can help you find a suitable moment, like the notable dates calendar. This shows all the annual events from Father’s Day to Christmas and Leiden science 2022 to unlock_LiveScience at Naturalis. By communicating in a targeted way and choosing the right moment, you will make the difference between ten stories in different news providers and a publication somewhere in the back of a weekly magazine.

Using these tips, the basics of your strategy can be secured. Lots of the components of PR aren’t rocket science but do require some attention. Building a reputation goes step-by-step and, with the establishment of the right network, can be vital for (starting) entrepreneurs. Content, timing and networking are the key factors and the guides that will lead you through this crazy media jungle.

Written by Collin Bikkers

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