How Startups Can Navigate the PR Puzzle

Mark Saldaña

August 14, 2014

The following post was contributed by Leta Soza, PR Engineer at AirPR. Follow her @LetaSoza.

I’d like to set the record straight about 2 very important things:

  1. PR does NOT stand for Press Release
  2. Media relations isn’t the only function of this oft misunderstood industry

With the proliferation of technology and democratization of information, the PR landscape has shifted dramatically. The pieces that make up the PR puzzle are growing more expansive and, to a certain extent, highly specialized. Are you familiar with all that PR can do for your startup?

PR is morphing into an area of business dependent upon strategic, data-driven decision making and we all need to jump on the bandwagon if we’re to continue to tell compelling stories that engage customers.

CEO of Pure Performance Communications and thought leader Deirdre Breakenridge has written a stellar interpretation the new PR landscape in her book, Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional. Our favorite part? This snazzy graphic outlining the many different (and vital) roles that all make up the greater PR umbrella.

Source: 8PRPractices.com.

Coined “The PR Hybrid Professional Chart of Responsibility,” this mouthful of a chart outlines the different practice areas of PR and weaves together complementary skill sets and metrics, all of which are dependent on data literacy.

As this honeycomb makes clear, PR is a wide ranging, elastic business function that touches every part of an organization. Where your startup is in its growth curve dictates which facets of PR are most beneficial to unleash.

  • Currently in the throes of solidifying your company’s culture characteristics and brand principles? You might be in the market for a Reputation Task Force Member (7) or an Internal Collaboration Generator (2).
  • Getting ready to take a product to market? Set your sights on finding a Tech-Tester (3) or Comms Organizer (4).
  • In the midst of your first true foot-in-the-mouth situation as a CEO? The Pre-Crisis Doctor (5) is your new BFF.

Think of the honeycomb as your PR roadmap: You will need to navigate to different areas of the comb to bolster your business goals accordingly. As your startup’s goals shift, so will the areas of the PR puzzle you employ.

Don’t be afraid to dance around the honeycomb hexagons. You wouldn’t allow your startup to stand still, so why would your PR strategy? Optimize, test and embrace that PR is not just a one-stop shop. As you company changes, so too will your PR needs. It’s only when all PR efforts working together that a complete and powerful picture is created.

Startups have different needs at different stages, so be sure to save Deirdre’s image to your desktop, buy the poster, or read her book. You won’t regret having a beautiful and informative guide to gut check which part(s) of the PR puzzle are best suited for where you currently stand.

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