How To Spice Up Your PR When Your Business Isn't Sexy

Your startup may not have the same fanfare factor as other, more flashy companies. But you can still get some love by honestly answering these four questions.

Not everyone is lucky enough to run a sexy business.

An honest look in the mirror will tell you if your company is truly the next Apple, and in all likelihood, it’s not--so stop pretending that it is.

Fortunately, some of the most successful entrepreneurs fill demand in a specific niche and grow their businesses into thriving enterprises. When it comes to public relations, the key is understanding how to spread the word about unsexy industries and who should be your primary targets.

Here are four questions to help guide your PR strategy:

1. What TRULY interesting story can you tell?

Your product may be of interest to a narrow audience, but your PR need not be limited to product announcements. Consider what story you can tell:

  • Your company history might be unique and inspiring, or your founder might have exotic hobbies or have overcome difficult circumstances.

  • Sometimes the focus should be on customers--is your product or service enabling a small business, nonprofit, or large enterprise to succeed in ways that were not possible before?

  • Does anyone on the team have unique expertise and insight into his/her field that they can share?

2. Who are the top influencers in YOUR space?

If your company produces products that are of interest to only a limited niche, seek out that audience.

Nearly every niche industry these days has its own publications, influencers, and gatherings. Focus on gaining relevant attention, as opposed to aiming blindly for generally influential media personalities.

3. Who cares?

Ask yourself: who cares about our product or services? And don’t give the cop out answer “everybody” because that’s disingenuous.

If you can determine who actually does care about your company’s services and focus on that target audience, you’ll save yourself a lot of energy wasted when casting too wide a net.

It’s okay if your answer to this question includes only a handful of media targets. It’s about quality, not quantity. Getting covered in numerous irrelevant publications will not get your business the traction that a smaller number of media hits in highly relevant publications will garner.

4. Are there ways to reach your audience beyond traditional media?

When running PR for Net Optics (now an Ixia company), one of my primary challenges was that network monitoring is only covered by a limited number of reporters and publications.

However, the company participated in numerous trade shows and had a treasure trove of outreach lists to which we could send original content. We launched a series of original eBooks that were sent to customers and potential customers alike and were well received because we made sure they answered questions our audience was curious about.

--Leron Kornreich is founder and chief strategist of Silicon Valley Communications, a tech-focused, results-driven public relations consultancy. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Kornreich spent many years as a television reporter and wrote for publications including Time magazine and NJ’s Star Ledger. She can be reached at leron@siliconvpr.com

[Image: Flickr user Andrew Basterfield]

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1 Comments

  • Great to see somebody talking about PR as more than just media relations. Often, the supposed 'un-sexy' companies have really interesting stories. In many cases there is far more substance with these companies and the value proposition is stronger.