For any startup, brand image is critical. Even if you’re faking your way through the complicated business processes, the way you project your company means everything in PR. The most successful innovators admittedly live by “fake it till you make it,” which helps them successfully sell their big ideas.
Without PR, the tech giants we know today wouldn’t have survived years in the industry.
No industry values brand image more than the technology industry
Building a brand image isn’t an easy task. It entails knowing the ins and outs of PR, including the realization that the neck-to-neck startup culture is a barrier to getting the spotlight from your competitors. Without industry-specific knowledge, it’s almost impossible to maintain a high profile.
The crazy competition that takes place inside isn’t news to most entrepreneurs. Even before someone enters the tech industry, it’s common knowledge that the PR environment is dense. Brands couldn’t get by without a little help. We laid down the four biggest PR challenges tech startups face and what you can do to move past it.
Challenge 1: There’s nothing quite like a solid relationship with the press.
If you’d take a quick peek at the technology news coverage that you can find online and offline, you’d notice that the majority have little to do with tech innovations. Instead, we are bombarded with coverage pieces and press releases on new startups and business updates.
Indeed, any successful PR strategy isn’t boxed into just press releases. Becoming a part of the news cycle plays a huge role, as well. How do you get access to high-profile placements? You establish relationships with journalists and analysts.
Any writer would be no less than excited to be the first to report anything new within the industry. Whether it’s a company’s milestones or development, journalists would be happy to cover a startup if it means being the first in line to do so.
The Startup-PR relationship is usually give-and-take – companies have go-to writers for any new bits, and in return, these journalists give them regular feature stories.
Challenge 2: Get rid of industry jargon.
For some industries, jargons are essential to communicate points that would otherwise be difficult to express with everyday language. For example, lawyers have several words that would sound foreign to the general public, like habeas corpus or eminent domain.
In the tech industry, it’s not so different. We hear buzzwords like big data, AR, and cloud computing in everyday conversations, whether it’s written or not. The problem with jargon is that when press releases contain too many of it, startups get more attention, but not the right amount of comprehension. It would be difficult for people to appreciate what they can barely understand.
The best way is to clarify jargon from the start, so your audience receives the right message.
Challenge 3: Social media is your startup’s best friend.
Everything is online. And because of that, getting at least a hint of the spotlight is a challenge. Further, the endless chase for trends makes online marketing much more complicated than it already is.
In the context of tech startups, the secret to social media success is to allow the platform to do the work for you. Instead of spreading your brand message, hashtag, or slogan, listen to what your followers are saying and turn it into a PR campaign. You’ll be surprised at how many fresh ideas you can get from your explore page.
Challenge 4: The industry’s reputation isn’t sparkly clean.
While the technology industry has been at the forefront of innovation and economic growth, it has its fair share of issues, thefts, and biases. As these problems meet the public eye, PR efforts have been nothing short of complicated.
To avoid the media pitchforks, startups have to be proactive in executing a PR game plan that publicizes their intent to address the industry’s issues. This includes transparency in employee inclusivity and data collection practices. There’s nothing quite like a positive story to help you stand out in an industry that hasn’t been doing well for the public.
Getting a head-start
The key to building a positive reputation involves the right mix of PR skills and industry-specific knowledge. While dreams are enough to kickstart your venture, you’ll need the support of others to keep it up and running. Invest in the right connections and hang on to your persistence – even Amazon wouldn’t have survived all those years of losing money without the extra help.