One of the first questions a start-up asks when they’re seeking the spotlight is whether they need to hire a PR agency.
The answer is: “It depends.”
It depends on:
- Whether a startup is ready for a PR agency. Is your product or service ready for prime-time and the scrutiny of bloggers and reporters that a PR campaign will attract?
- Does a startup have the budget to hire a PR agency? Hiring a PR agency on a project or contract basis can cost thousands of dollars a month. A startup needs to ask if it makes sense to spend money on a PR agency, or whether it’s better allocated for other activities.
- Does a startup have a story it needs to tell? Hiring a PR agency without having something tangible for them to do make no sense.
- Are there internal resources that can handle PR until a startup needs to make a bigger and aggressive push? It could be a startup needs a modest or targeted amount of outreach that can done without hiring PR agency. It could see the hiring of someone on contract or a freelancer.
PR agencies can do a variety of things for startups but their most valuable asset is their relationships, which can be leveraged to deliver well-crafted pitches to reporters and bloggers.
Based on the goals, objectives and budgets, it could make sense to hire a PR agency. But before that happens, a startup needs to ask themselves a series of questions to determine if it’s a decision that makes sense strategically, tactically and financially.
As important, a startup needs to realize that hiring a PR agency doesn’t ensure coverage. PR is part-art, part-science. Getting coverage is sometimes a matter of being in the right place at the right time, having a compelling story, strong relationships, or simply being lucky.
This is why “It depends” is a fact of life when it comes to how, if or when startups should dance with a PR agency.