During a Google Hangout looking at Lean and Design Thinking I was asked how a startup can use PR when they only have one shot at making an impression. My response? Don’t approach the situation as a one-shot opportunity – start a conversation that aims to find a mutual benefit for both sides.
Working for a traditional PR company in the UK a few years ago I was tasked with building a new practice within the business. Rather than calling people hawking public relations services I spent time researching the company I was approaching, called them and asked questions and made a deliberate choice not to try to sell. [Let’s face it, the chances of getting a sale by phoning asking if they were looking to buy PR services on the day I called were slim].
By asking questions, getting to know more about the people and organizations I was speaking with I was able to understand which presented opportunities, understand the specific commercial or communication challenges each faced, and started conversations that ultimately led to business. It also helped me identify the companies that would never want what I was offering – which saved me time, money and effort.
Startup and SmallBiz PR and marketing tip: play a long game and focus on building relationships, rather than treating people as transactions.