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PR for Startups

PR for Startups

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Published by Brian Solis
I’ve been overwhelmed with requests from executives and PR professionals to explain how this new media (r)evolution applies to them specifically and how they can make PR more effective and personal during these interesting times.
I’ve been overwhelmed with requests from executives and PR professionals to explain how this new media (r)evolution applies to them specifically and how they can make PR more effective and personal during these interesting times.

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Published by: Brian Solis on May 27, 2008
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12/17/2012

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PR for Startups
By Brian Solis, blogger at 
 and principal of 
PR
Note:
This post was originally published onTechCrunchas "PR Secrets for Startups."Many thanks to Michael Arrington and Erick Schonfeld for giving me the opportunity toshare my experiences with the startup community.
 
Due to space restraints, the original draft, which was entitled "PR Tips for Startups," didnot run in its entirety. Some of the edits actually wound up changing the context of thepost and its intentions. I've included the full draft for you here, as I think it's helpful for those entrepreneurs and executives looking to determine whether in house, DIY, or external PR and marketing is best for their company - specific to their current state of growth. Either way, it's intended to help you make decisions in the face of varyingoutside influences.This is about your idea, your participation, your success, your community, your relationships with customers, bloggers, press, and analysts, and most importantly, thisis about learning and sharing together in order to move forward, informed andexperienced - with or without outside help.
PR Tips for Startups
I’ve been overwhelmed with requests from executives and PR professionals to explainhow this new media (r)evolution applies to them specifically and how they can make PRmore effective and personal during these interesting times. I recently discussed ithere and have been doing so for a long, long time. But since conversations and attention isdiscontinuous and distributed, I asked if I could bring this discussion to a more
 
prominent online epicenter to help reach a wider array of those looking for answers.
 
The Long Road Back to Public Relations
 
Public Relations is experiencing a long overdue renaissance and its forcing PRstereotypes out from behind the curtain where they operated comfortably for far toomany decades. It didn’t begin this transformation because of Web 2.0 or the latestSocial Media wave, but instead in the 90’s when the Web gained mass adoption. Yes,it’s taken that long and it will continue to evolve over the next decade ascommunications professionals struggle with putting the public back in public relations.
 
Regardless of what you think you know about PR and the New Media or Social Mediarevolution, the truth is that we actually may know less about everything than we actuallycare to believe. These are times where we can lead and learn in order to improve anindustry long plagued by misconceptions and the lack of PR for itself.
 
PR is now more than ever, something more capable and influential than simply writingand sending press releases to contacts generated by media databases. The medialandscape has been completely blown open to not only include traditional media, butalso bloggers and most importantly the very people we want to reach, our customers.
 
PR 1.0
 
About 100 years ago, Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays created and defined the art andscience of modern-day PR. Believe it or not, their philosophies and contributions can besourced to further evolve PR today – especially when it comes to Social Sciences.
 
Over the years, the PR 1.0 publicity machine lost its way and its spark. We got caughtup in hype, spin, buzzwords, and spam, and forgot that PR was supposed to be aboutPublic Relations. But, its still how many companies continue to approach PR today.
 
Enter Social Media and the democratization of the Web and content. Now media andcontent producers are pushing back, demanding a more targeted and relevant form of outreach. For those who confuse Social Media with online marketing, Social Media isanything that uses the Internet to facilitate conversations between people – it is not thepractice of social marketing. I say people, because it humanizes the process of communications when you think about conversations instead of companies marketing ataudiences.
 
PR 2.0 = Conversational PR
The Web changed everything and this ongoing reinvention of PR has been dubbed PR2.0 or New PR.PR 2.0, as I defined it many years ago, is the realization that the Web changedeverything, inserting people equally into the process of traditional influence. Suddenlywe were presented with the opportunity to not only reach our audiences through
 
gatekeepers, but also use the online channels where they publish and share informationto communicate directly and genuinely.At the very least, PR 2.0 is going back to itsroots to bring public relations back to PR.Social Media refers back to the "two-way"approach of PR that Ivy Lee discussed in his day. And, Bernays viewed public relationsas an applied social science inspired by psychology, sociology, and other sciences toinfluence behavior.
 
Their philosophies combined with the socialization of media creates a new prerequisiteand standard for PR professionals.
 
Now it's about listening and, in turn, engaging influencers and stakeholders on their level. It forces PR to stop broadcasting and start connecting.It is a chance to not onlywork with traditional journalists, but also engage directly with a new set of accidentalinfluencers, and, it is also our ability to talk with customers directly.
 
No BS. No hype. It’s an understanding of markets, the needs of people, and how toreach them at the street level—without insulting everyone along the way.Conversational PR is becoming a hybrid of communications, customer service,evangelism, and Web marketing.
 
The evolution from PR 1.0 to PR 2.0 will result in more informed, effective, andmeaningful Public Relations,
without a version number 
. It’ll just be good PR whether itstands for Public Relations, Professional Relations, Personalized Relations, PeopleRelationships, etc.
 
So what does this mean for you?
 
It means we have to start thinking about things more intelligently, differently, andpersonally.
 
Applying Traditional and New PR Methods for Startups
 
You’re an entrepreneur with a recently funded company in need of users, or perhapsyou’re bootstrapped and actively seeking financing and you need a little something thatwill land you a more attractive term sheet.
 
Every VC, as well as every successful entrepreneur, will tell you, great PR can makeyou, whereas bad or mediocre PR can stifle your growth and possibly damage existingand prospective relationships. And, they all have ideas on how you should proceed.
 
But right now, the main thing that stands between you and success are users andcustomers – and good press (traditional and new media) builds the bridge between youand them.
 
In order to get to the next level, it helps to thing about PR strategies and tactics tocreate a foundation for effective PR, especially in today’s competitive Web 2.0 world.
 

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