Public relations (PR) is all about shaping the public perception of your company.
PR helps to raise your profile, build a strong reputation, and connect with your key audiences: investors, international partners and talent.
While there is a lot of overlap between the two, PR is not marketing. (To be more precise, it is not product marketing - which is the focus of most early stage companies.)
Product marketing aims to acquire customers. It’s about sales.
PR is about reputation building and getting on the radar of key audiences who can move your business forward.
As PR goals are not the same as those of marketing, you need to use a distinctly different approach.For more on this topic, check out this article I wrote for the All Killer/No Filter newsletter.
Startups begin to work with a publicist when they’re between seed and Series-A. The catalyst event for PR is a Series-A fundraise announcement. Not only are you at the stage where an investment in PR makes sense, you’re guaranteed to secure media coverage in international media. A Series-A fundraise is newsworthy and will attract media attention.
Fundraise campaigns last for 4-weeks.
I require a minimum 3-month commitment for a PR project.
That gives me enough time to research the startup and founders, deliver a communications strategy, and tease out the tactics to deliver real results.
You are a thought leader when you’re perceived as a go-to resource and authority on your industry. You contribute interesting and forward-looking ideas in the public forum. You write op-eds, blog posts or Twitter threads that get shared because they add something new to the conversation - a new take, data, or counter-intuitive analysis.
The more good content you put out into the world the more you attract inbound requests from journalists or policy analysts that seek your perspective and commentary.
An op-ed is an article published in a media platform. It is a concise argument on a topic that is relevant to your brand. It could be on your industry, a subject you’re passionate about (jobs for African youth) or a response to a controversial subject.
Op-eds cannot be advertorial. Media platforms all have their own stylistic preferences but you cannot plug your company in an op-ed. The byline - with your name and company - is the opportunity for people to discover you.
Editors choose whether to publish pieces from outside contributors. Publicists do not control whether an op-ed gets picked up. If the first choice platform rejects the piece, I proceed to pitch it to other media. This can make the op-ed cycle from drafting to placement quite long.
In contrast, self-published content has no gatekeepers. You control publishing by putting it on your company blog, Medium page, and sharing snippets (and a link to the piece) on social media.
For traditional PR and thought leadership projects, I offer the following services:
Working with Dunbar Creative, my design partner, I can give a face lift to your brand kit: logo, colors, typography and images. Get in touch for a consultation to discuss your branding needs.
No, I do not offer a la carte services. I find that an end-to-end PR approach - strategy development to tactics - guarantees the best results for clients.
Most people associate PR with media relations or "earned media” -- when journalists write stories (profiles, features, etc) about your startup.
But the media only writes stories that are considered newsworthy. Of course the definition of newsworthiness is different depending on the publication. I wrote more about this here.
If the international media a is going to write about you, you need a newsworthy story: big fundraise, partnership with a big international player (think Visa, etc) or a
Traditional PR in which media relations plays a big role is largely about amplifying newsworthy announcements.
Multimedia storytelling solves a different pain point. At a certain stage, companies want to be intentional and deliberate in their brand building.
Traditional PR isn't the right tool for raising low brand awareness.
Companies can't consistently earn media coverage due to a lack of newsworthy announcements. Or, if a company is highly technical and product-focused, their story might fail to capture the attention of a broader audience.
They need a more creative approach to grab the attention of their key audiences.
When companies turn to brand storytelling, they have bigger budgets for working with creative talent (photographers, filmmakers, and writers) and the patience to engage in a long-term endeavor.
PR campaigns and projects can run from 4-weeks to three to four months. Thought leadership and multimedia storytelling projects vary in length depending on the scope of work. I do not accept success fees.
I only accept payment in US$.