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Why Should Startups Use PR as a Strong Fundraising Tool? PR for a startup: insights on how to build a good media relationship

By Annapurni Hariharan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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What comes to your mind first, when you hear the word PR? Well, for most entrepreneurs it's all about using media to spread the news about their fundraising, or just getting a word out there in the "I too exist" bandwagon. As one of the most undermined tools, PR is usually a tertiary preference in early-stage startups. Most of the focus would be on product development and using lead generation marketing for growing business.

Small/early-stage startups can build up a solid media strategy in sync with their fundraising requirements. Sounds surprising? PR can be more than just a one-time activity that happens when you have some story to share. A few ways to build a strong PR strategy to support fundraising are:

Align PR Strategies With Your Business Goals - PR activities can get you more than just a few news coverages. If you align it with your business goals, you would be able to execute PR that would go beyond your name on the newspaper. Prepare a strategy that will support your profit modes. These modes can vary from a successful business model, networking activities and seeking active partnerships to scale your business. Simultaneously, align ideas or campaigns with sales cycles and fundraising milestones. Focus on the key vertical that will help achieve your business objectives.

Protip: Avoid product launches coinciding with fundraising announcements, as the news items would clash and coverage would get divided.

Focus on your USPs - Having a unique voice for your product or service goes a long way in establishing identity and building a reputation. Publishing relevant stories that support your brand's USP will make a difference and build a credible image. Branding and storytelling will indirectly play a vital role during fundraising. Tell stories about the issues you are addressing through your product or service. You can also talk about GMV values that are directly related to fundraising.

Protip: Your message is the key, it is like pitching your product to a customer.

Continuous press activities - Coming up with a story once awhile won't be of much use. Instead, focus on telling relevant stories and be open to sharing your opinions on the latest industry trends. A quote in an industry story, a feature on various profiling columns can go a long way in adding brand-recall value. You can make the most of PR with continuous efforts and not a one-off story.

Protip: Not every interaction is a story opportunity, focus on sharing news relevant to the journalist.

Thought leadership - Investors not only invest in ideas, but they also invest in the people who run them. Thought leadership becomes a vital means of letting the investors and peers in your sector know about your vision and your organization. Personal PR and Company PR is always linked. So, you are the brand you sell. Find the right columns to publish your opinions and use that as a means to engage within the industry.

Protip: People want to hear and know opinions that will add value to the industry. Be on top of the news, take a stand as strongly as you wish to.

All the four factors mentioned above, require work but reap rewards that speed up your journey from being a startup to an established business.

Stay tuned for more insights on how to build a good media relationship and benefits of effective messaging.

Annapurni Hariharan

PR & Communication at Capria and Unitus Ventures

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