Learn if you or your startup are in the position to use a PR firm
Founder of Sension, Innovator, PayNearMe Mobile Software Engineer
Creating buzz is nice, but, without PR, you would be moving at the same pace.
If you don't have funds, don't put money into PR.
Only focus on your PR when you have a purpose. Don’t do it just to boost your ego.
Lesson: How to Get Press with Ari Dyckovsky & Catalin Voss
Step #1 PR Firms: Learn if you or your startup are in the position to use a PR firm
Ari: We didn't use a PR firm for two reasons. One, because it's expensive and we are very early stage startup and we really don't have the funds to pay for that. Second of all, because we are an early stage startup, publicity like we have is not actually necessary, like creating the buzz is nice but if we didn't have the PR, we would still be moving along at the same pace. The PR is more of the factor of the fact that, personally, I have had a lot of publicity for things I have done in the past, and so it was easy to reach out to people who are willing to write our report simply as a continuation of the story on me.
Catalin: No, never. We never use an agency for PR. First answer is, of course, we couldn't afford an agency. The more involved answer is the way I like to think about PR is it shouldn't be a priority for anyone, ever. You need to have a goal to do it if you want to do it. You need to have something ready that you want to test, or you need to be looking to recruit people, or you need to be looking to sort of get customers' interest or things like that. That's what PR is really made for. It's a horrible thing to do if you just kind of do it because everyone else does it out here.
That's just a big waste of time. We weren't ready for that stuff because we weren't big enough. With an agency, you kind of have this scheme A of somebody out essentially try to convey your message in a very structured way who knows a bunch of reporters and is going to go pitch to them as opposed to something that actually seems like a quirky, authentic story to journalists, which is much more interesting to them which would be perhaps much more interesting to you because you are the one who wants to convey a certain message. You want to test a certain thing.
That's the reason in the early stages of a startup if your goal is to do customer development, you are the one who goes to meet with the customers. You don't hire an agency to do so. You go meet with the customers. First of all, because you would like their feedback but also because you are the one who can best demo your product. You are the one who can best articulate what you want to say. There's already one layer of direction there. There's already the journalist who's going to write it up eventually. Why add another layer?