Over the past five years, VC firms have invested $31.5 billion across 3,308 deals for Silicon Valley tech startups. The innovation being financed is astounding, but, for startups to get to the next level, they need to take a proactive stance to get noticed beyond the venture capitalist scene to promote more widespread awareness and exposure. Having an effective PR strategy is a crucial element of that next step and below are five tactics to get the ball rolling!
Article Comments – Commenting on other blogs and online articles is a great way to not only start building relationships with influencers in your space, but to also get noticed yourself! Comments need to go beyond something like, “Great article!” though to offer some specific feedback or additional insight relating back to the piece, otherwise it can be seen as spammy or less credible when the goal is to display industry knowledge and engage in a dialogue. This strategy also offers a chance to share information about your startup with a link to your site, but very succinctly without too many marketing or buzz words – this is not an advertisement, it’s a helpful forum for discussion.
Company Listings – There are several startup listings like Killer Startups where you can submit your company to be displayed, which helps increase visibility; but, beyond this, there are many media outlets and influencers dedicated to the startup realm that hold more credibility and have more widespread exposure. Jeff Vance, for instance, frequently writes ‘startups to watch’ columns for various industries like Big Data and Mobile, which PR agencies help you tap into through established relationships and effective pitching techniques.
Social Profiles – Establishing social profiles on relevant networks like Twitter and LinkedIn where you’ll be most likely to reach your audience is crucial to create a human voice behind your startup. It also gives you an additional outlet to share your progress and industry expertise while establishing connections and providing another touch point for customers, prospects and influencers. The key here though is to maintain consistent updates and engagement; it’s not enough to just have a profile without using it!
Events – The startup scene is big for events with a lot of local city meetups or networking events, as well as more established conferences. Things like Tech Cocktail can be great to get noticed, but even attending bigger events where you can rub elbows with industry hotshots can be beneficial to get your name out there. There are also a lot of social networks and media outlets that create specific hashtags or coverage around events that you can latch onto to benefit from the association and generate more awareness.
Blog – Having a blog is crucial for several reasons: it promotes SEO, establishes thought leadership, provides a platform for engagement and education, and communicates your vision. With more and more users expecting instant access to this kind of content, being able to provide a dedicated resource is important for relationship building and nurturing leads. It also provides an additional resource, beyond your website, to link back to from the tactics above, including your article comments, company listings and social profiles!