PR for Scaleups: all you need to know

In this article, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about PR for scaleups. We walk you through the importance of PR for scaleups, why it is vital, some useful tactics, and the benefits of hiring a PR agency.

January 17, 2024

You've come a long way since that ‘small’ idea you had led to a successful startup. Most don’t get this far, so you must be doing something right. Solidifying your brand’s reputation is one of your top priorities. But how? And where do you start?

Public relations can help in the next stage of your journey. It can further stretch your company's capabilities and reach by increasing brand awareness, raising capital, and securing stronger leads.

Paid advertising is an option, but it’ll consume valuable resources and constantly need ‘topping up.’ PR, on the other hand, can prove much more cost-effective. It gives you a strong brand narrative, builds up your reputation, and (as we’ll see later) boosts earned media coverage and credibility. Sound good so far? It should do. PR is an absolute must to grow your business sustainably. We will quickly define PR, explain why it’s important, explain the main differences between PR for scaleups and startups, and dive right into a PR strategy for scaleups.

What is PR, and why is it important for Scale-ups?

So, what is PR exactly?

An Public relations is a strategy for creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between people. PR aims to manage and share information with the public or target audience to influence their perceptions positively.

It isn’t just other scaleups you’re competing with. Well-established corporates should also be in your line of fire if you want to grow further and expand your market share. Thinking you won’t need PR could be your first mistake. Especially if your competitors don’t see it this way.

PR is not (as some think) flashy campaigns and expensive ads. It is the opposite. PR is what you do to get seen, build long-lasting impressions of your brand, and raise your profile and credibility by your merit. It is the key to building relationships with loyal customers, the media, and investors. This is super important for scaleups. If you are the next big thing, there is little point in keeping this to yourself and hoping you’ll eventually be discovered. You won’t. It takes a little more than that.

When people see you being talked about, it automatically creates ‘trust’ in their minds. In short, visibility gives trust. This is invaluable for scale-ups looking to position themselves as a go-to source who don’t have the name power (yet!) and finances of those already benefiting from PR. People buy into people just as much as they do products. Sometimes, the people behind the ideas have had fruitful experiences, large followers, and great stories to share. PR can help them be seen.

PR guides how you communicate with people and how you are perceived. If you want people to see things your way and be impacted by what you share, you must think seriously about public relations. Public relations is just that - the relationship you have with the public. Don't leave this to chance. Make a strategy today.

Learn more about the definition of PR

The main differences between PR for scaleups and PR for startups

While it may seem they're almost the same, there are some differences between PR for scaleups and PR for startups. Scaleups usually have more resources for PR spending than startups for obvious reasons. They are further into their venture and have acquired a certain level of financial success.

Startups almost have to start from scratch when building a strong reputation. Scaleups are more established and, as such, will be building on an existing brand. Messaging may focus more on thought leadership over general brand awareness.

Regarding the audience, startups may be more likely to target a more niche audience to get a foothold. Scaleups broaden their reach, having acquired an audience.

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Why doing PR can be a good way to boost your Scale-up brand?

1

Change at the right pace

PR can scale your brand in a manageable way. Scaling up too fast is the equivalent of jumping without a parachute. It feels good to fly, but what happens when you land? Chances are you won’t be fully prepared. Cue customer complaints, employees in disarray, and an onslaught of negative comments about you online.

This doesn’t mean shy away from or be fearful of scaling. Far from it..

2

To help you understand the market

PR can help you find the right time to enter a new market or launch a new product. You need firm market research behind you before you take this plunge, or else resources and time will be used unnecessarily. A good product and optimism aren’t enough. You need to know about existing players, market share, nuances, etc.

3

SEO

PR can improve your SERPs, get your name out, and ensure you’re organically findable to investors and your intended audience, getting your audience acquainted with what you do.

Press releases can also be a great way to gain backlinks. Google uses the E-E-A-T guidelines. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness in SEO. Experience refers to the quality of the ‘experience’ the user has on the website. Expertise is the knowledge of the topic in the area being written about. Authoritativeness is the credibility you have, and trustworthiness is the reliability of the content and how accurate it is. It is important to score high on these guidelines to appear high on search pages. A scaleup PR agency can help a great deal here, writing content, media pitches, and press releases to show your expertise, knowledge, and newsworthy content.

4

Targeted campaigns

With a PR agency, you’ll be in good hands. An experienced tech PR agency has the know-how to create winning strategies tailored for you. From tone to messaging and audience reach, good PR can do its work across all mediums, helping you reach people you may have struggled to reach. If this is your first outreach, you must get it right. First impressions count. Don’t confuse people. Targeted campaigns also can attract investors and other partners.

5

PR tactics

Great PR won’t just get you on the radar, but it’ll keep you there. How? Well, strong stories never go out of fashion. These can be built on, and coverage can be leveraged for more. Also, spotting industry trends is a core function of PR professionals, who will be able to use their knowledge and insights to help scale your business and stay ahead of trends. Not just this. Thought leadership can be potent for highlighting why people should trust your scaleup. It can demonstrate your expertise to stakeholders.

Should you do it yourself or hire a tech PR agency for your scale-up?

Many scaleups have tight purse strings and are reluctant to spend cash on what many see as a luxury for well-established brands. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Scaleups cannot afford to be without PR. Agencies offer invaluable connections and experience and become almost like an in-house team. Here, we’ll look at the pros and cons of hiring an agency or going it alone.

Doing in-house means your team, ideas, and discussions are all under one roof. There is an automatic culture of 'fit.' Being this (actual) close creates bonds and opportunities to bounce off each other's ideas. Actions happen quicker, and meetings can be in person, too.

Agencies can match one of their people to your requirements. For example, a B22 or B2C specialist, someone familiar with the 'x' market or territory, or even a language capability. Very often, there is someone for everyone. While doing it yourself may require you to delegate time slots for PR activities and work this around other roles and responsibilities, an agency will do nothing but this. Hire a tech PR agency.

Effective PR tactics for scaleups

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (or CSR) extends social values and principles to businesses. It is being socially conscious and thinking of the environment, the world, and your people. There has been an increased focus on ethics in business in recent years.

Reputation is everything for a scaleup, and what you do or say outside of your immediate business remit counts. Don’t miss out on a chance to use this to show what you are doing is making a difference.

Learn more about CSR and Public Relations

In-person events

Not everything is online. Trade fairs and conferences are alive, and the media still covers these. Look around next time you're at a fair or tech conference. Investors frequent these, too. They can see in person how something works, ask questions, and speak to those who are part of it.

Industry-specific events can give you the chance to shine. Your spokesperson can speak. Culturally, some markets may prefer networking like this, too. You can also make a reel or a tikTok of the event and post it to your channels or company newsroom.

Storytelling

People feel more connected to a company with a backstory and a ‘personality.’Create a narrative around your brand that positions you as solving a pain point. It should showcase how and why you began, your innovations, and your contribution to the industry. Show this evolution on your socials so people can get a strong picture of your journey and where it's headed.

Trust us, this works.

Media pitches

Don’t forget to pitch regularly. Make your scaleup pitch interesting and relevant to an outlet's audience but also accurate and true. Insert your unique knowledge. And remember, while it may be tough, sooner or later, you’ll get that coverage you’re aiming for.

Thought leadership

Talk about the things that matter to your crowd. Thought leadership shines a light on you. It can even get you regularly featured in a particular outlet, a designated column, etc, giving your product or service a special pulpit.

People turn to experts and specialists for commentary or explanations of topical events in the news or online. Websites such as HARO or Terkel allow you to be seen and heard in Forbes, Yahoo, or Hubspot, building confidence in your words.

Leveraging social proof

It's all very well when you say something good about yourself. But much better if someone separate from you says it. The impact of positive reviews and third-party endorsement speaks for itself. So we won’t dwell on it too much here. ‘Social proof’ in the form of testimonials and five-star reviews is what we’re talking about and what other people will be talking about, too. So make use of them. They give your credibility a huge uplift - essential for scaleups.

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What makes a PR strategy work for a scale-up?

There is no hard and fast answer here. Starting a company and building a team is challenging enough. Building a brand reputation for your scale-up is no mean feat. Competition is rife; the sooner you convert curious people into users or buyers, the better. Getting appropriate funding and the right people on your team is another challenge. PR can help with all of these.

You need to be professional yet humanized. Your tone should inform and engage, not overwhelm or isolate. You want to display confidence without it sounding unjustified or unwarranted. Let the tone show your authenticity and reflect your brand values and work culture. Be warned, however, that people can spot fakes a mile off. You should empathize with your audience and put them at the heart of everything you do. or there is little point.

An integrated approach to all the above is needed. You must ' own the tone, whether your social media accounts, website, press releases, or internal communications.’ This will help you build a cohesive identity - key to successful branding.

You need good data. Good data drives great decisions (remember this). For scaleups especially, data plays a big role. It informs strategies. How, you ask? It can tell your target audience's preferences and what they read. Campaign effectiveness can (literally) be counted in likes, impressions, traffic, and public sentiment, offering insight into the extent you're resonating with people and what's not. Conversion rates offer tangible evidence of impact. This can be tweaked or used to inspire you going forward. The data can tell you where to go next and where to invest manpower and resources. See what your competitors are doing so you can differentiate from them and use data to predict future trends and public sentiments.

Learn more about PR Strategy in 2024

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve discussed the importance of PR, some useful tactics to consider, the benefits PR professionals can bring, and ways to boost your brand.

To summarize, PR can be crucial in shaping your scaleup's reputation. With the correct approach to scaleup PR, you can reach new audiences, catch the eye of investors, and build a reputation that others envy.

January 17, 2024
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