One of the great things about living in San Francisco is that it attracts the best and brightest minds in the technology world. On any given day you never know who you’ll meet.
Today was one such day, as I was fortunate to run into Upfront Ventures partner and technology pundit extraordinaire Mark Suster. On his blog, Both Sides Of The Table, Suster dispenses with startup wisdom gained as an entrepreneur (he sold his last company to Salesforce), and now as a VC. If you’ve read many of the posts on this blog then you’ll know that I quote Mark regularly. Both Sides Of The Table also features a section on PR Tips for startups.
As a service to you, dear reader, I asked Suster for his thoughts on startup PR. Here’s what he said:
It’s never too early for startups to begin the PR process
Start your PR on Day 1, Suster says. He recommends to startups in his portfolio that they hire someone in-house to do PR and media outreach rather than going to a firm.
A PR budget of $5,000 is very small for an established PR firm, who will assign your account to their most junior employee. The risk, Suster says, is that your media outreach will be handled by a fresh-faced 23-year-old who has eight other clients, and doesn’t understand your business very well. By hiring someone for the same $5,000 per month you ensure that your story is told by someone living and breathing it. And it will cost the same (or less) to bring on an employee whose mission is to cement your relationship with key journalists and online influencers, and who will be familiar with the daily pulses of your company.
PR is an investment in the success of your startup
“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR,” Suster also said, quoting the famous adage from Microsoft co-founder. Getting your story out there is vital, and can help you land new deals, strategic partnerships, and, of course, secure investment.
Don’t launch your company at SXSW
Suster also said that it’s a mistake to launch your company at SXSW. “You’re there shouting in the midst of everybody shouting.” While it’s a cool field trip, your money (and time) can be better spent elsewhere.
Our was a brief conversation, but one I will remember.
Thank you, Mark, for taking a moment to speak with one of your true fans.
You can read more of Mark Suster’s thoughts on startup PR here:
- Should your startup announce its funding?
- If you don’t target early adopters, do tech blogs still matter?
- Should you announce your product releases or company coming out at major events?
- Narcissistic Marketing VS. Point-Of-View Marketing
- Why you need to simplify your messaging