TechCrunch talks PR – but what does PR mean to you?

The role of service providers, especially PR consultants, was the panel discussion topic at this month’s excellent TechCrunch talk in London, hosted by Mike Butcher. PR was a hot topic - many start-ups having had bad experiences of PR.
By: thebluedoor
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* Farnham - Surrey - England

Dec. 29, 2008 - PRLog -- Fears were shared of PRs overpromising and underperforming. Others believing anyone can do PR. Well yes, that’s true – but not always well or delivering ROI.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a clear message, strong communication skills and the confidence to engage with your target external audience, then go for it alone. If you’ve a tight budget then it makes sense to use your own resources first.

But what’s next? How do you take your business to the next level? PR is like any other specialist service – if done well by professionals, it can be extremely effective and bring high return on investment.

So what is good PR? Here are our top tips:

1/ Good PRs understand the media, technology and the approach. They should give clear, realistic and honest advice and say when a company won’t benefit from PR support - if the product is not ready, the budget not available, the company has no spokespeople – all good reasons to hold PR fire.

2/ PRs should add value – looking for positive opportunities, monitoring your brand presence across media, developing your profile. Above all, helping achieve your business objectives and taking it beyond a press release pitch project.

3/ Be an extension of your team – your success is their success. No favouritism, no fluff, just smart strategies, hard work, and results.

At TechCrunch, entrepreneurs were advised to plan for the worst in 2009 – to “bootstrap” - in order to be successful. The same applies to PR. If going it alone, what happens when it goes wrong? Look at what happened to Motrin ( in November – now an infamous digital PR case study for all the wrong reasons. PR is about planning, monitoring feedback, engaging, as well as responding before, during, and after. A proactive approach is required - not reactive when it is simply too late to avoid reputation damage. After all, your reputation is everything, especially as a start-up. So look beyond the PR caricatures, and consider discussing your plans with professionals.

You know your company better than anyone. PR consultants should be just that – professional advisors whose understanding of the media adds value. Together, it can be a successful mix.
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