7 Proactive PR Strategies for Early-Stage Startup Founders

February 6, 2024

Justin Kerby

As you dive into the entrepreneurial journey, the importance of crafting a compelling public relations (PR) strategy from the get-go cannot be overstated. It's a common misconception that PR efforts should kick off only after securing a seed round.

The truth is that the groundwork for a successful PR strategy can and should begin much earlier. Here are seven actionable strategies for early-stage founders to set the stage for a powerful PR presence, blending our experiences and insights with essential steps to amplify your startup's voice.

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1. Start by building your personal brand

In the realm of startups, your personal brand is an invaluable asset.

Before your startup is ready for the spotlight, start positioning yourself as a thought leader in your niche. Whether you're introducing a new SaaS product or innovating in the PropTech space, share your insights and perspectives on industry challenges—especially those your startup aims to address–and grow your connections.

Regularly engaging with your audience on platforms like LinkedIn not only builds your reputation but also primes your community for your startup's future announcements. We'd recommend setting up a personal website in Webflow so you can drive traffic to owned channels.

We offer professional ghostwriting services for leading real estate professionals, and have written content for start-up founders as well. Sharing your thoughts is a brilliant way to build your personal brand.

2. Leverage social media platforms for brand storytelling

Social media is not just a marketing tool; it's a storytelling platform. Use it to share your startup's journey, the problem you're solving, and the impact you aim to have.

This builds a narrative around your brand that people can connect with, fostering a sense of community and loyalty even before your product launches. At Something Great, we’ve helped hundreds of companies and pre-seed start-ups establish their brands on social media. Here’s how we helped a tequila company go from zero to 68,000 fans on social (and more importantly, from zero cases of tequila sold online to thousands).

brand story

3. Stay on top of industry news

An informed founder is an empowered founder. Read that one more time for good measure.

Make it a habit to consume news about your industry daily. Use Feedly, X Lists, or another news service to make sure you never miss an industry happening. Understanding the landscape, including competitors and potential economic impacts, will not only inform your business strategy but also enable you to contribute meaningfully to media conversations, setting you apart from both new entrants and established players.

Tip: Stay on top of PR announcements in your industry. For example, if you were launching a social media tool like our client and partners over at Forekast, you’d want to subscribe to PR Newswire’s social media topics.

4. Connect with other founders

founder of company

Local tech communities are fertile ground for networking, learning, and early-stage growth. Participate in events and meetups to meet potential early adopters and beta testers, future team members, and to learn about the experience of fellow entrepreneurs.

Sharing your journey and learning from others in these settings can be incredibly rewarding and open doors to unexpected opportunities. We’ve met so many hires, customers, and mentors at events hosted by the Burnaby Board of Trade, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, and at events hosted by co-working spaces in cities across the Lower Mainland. Go where the founders are should be your motto.

5. Engage with journalists on social media, on Zoom, and in person

journalist presentation

Building relationships with journalists who cover your sector is crucial.

By following and interacting with them on social media, you gain insights into the stories they're interested in. It also makes sure that if the journalist is hosting an online or in-person meetup, you can put in a little face time and take the relationship to the next level.

This proactive engagement ensures you're on their radar when it's time to share your startup's milestones. Remember, it's about adding value and being part of the conversation, not just pushing your agenda. Make friends first.

6. Implement a content marketing strategy

Content marketing can be a game-changer for early-stage startups. By producing valuable, relevant content that addresses your target audience's pain points and interests, you establish your brand as an authority in your space. This not only improves your SEO but also attracts potential customers and partners to your brand, laying a solid foundation for future PR success.

video for content strategy

Trust the process

Laying the groundwork for your PR strategy well before you secure funding can significantly amplify your startup's visibility and credibility. Each of these strategies is a step towards building a brand that resonates with your audience, attracts media attention, and stands out in a crowded marketplace.

Remember, in the fast-paced world of startups, your ability to communicate effectively with your audience, the media, and potential partners can make all the difference in your journey towards something great. If you need a little help along the way, let’s talk strategy.

Written by

Justin Kerby

Justin is the founder of Something Great Marketing, leading our Vancouver marketing agency. He specializes in content strategy, website design, and branding.

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