February 26, 2016

There's No Overnight Success in a Good PR Program

We all love a good Cinderella story and in a YouTube world, it seems like there's an overnight success every episode of Ellen or issue of TechCrunch. But for tech start-ups immediate fame and recognition is rare - it can even be detrimental if your business isn't ready for the benefits PR can bring and worse if you aren't prepared for the work it takes to be successful. 

In the early days, you've barely formed your company. Your product is one step out of the gate. Your customers - if you have them - are just starting to kick the tires. You're iterating daily. Your team is working at break-neck speed. You need to grow your pipeline. And you think that one article, just one, in the right publication - the New York Times perhaps - could satisfy your investors, drive inbound sales, and accelerate your business. 

And yes, a good public relations program can do all of these things. But not overnight. I've known start-ups who have accelerated their business plans by years with strategic communications programs that helped them generate awareness, educate customers on their offering, create buy-in and advocacy with influencers, and develop positive relationships with industry. 

But if a single article in the New York Times is your goal, you're likely to be disappointed. If this is your goal you're short-changing your business and being very short-sighted. You're going to miss out on the benefits of creating a dynamic, interesting thought leadership program. You're going to miss out on building a foundation that can support your business long-term. You're going to miss out on iterating your product based on market feedback. You will blow through contacts instead of building relationships. And you're likely going to put a lot of pressure on your business and leave yourself without the elasticity and budget to grow, evolve your product, respond to the market, and maintain your operations and customer service. 

Sadly, I've watched companies do this time and time again because they begin their journey with the goal of that one holy-grail article and aren't prepared to do the work necessary to create a great program. Rather hoping for overnight success, think of your PR program as a journey, one that if you map it out well, will get you to your goals. 

Stay tuned for a checklist to help you prepare for a sustainable, ongoing PR program. 



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