Why Startups Should Hire a PR Agency

You’ve made the big plunge! Congrats on your incredible startup adventure. You’re probably thinking, “Now where do I go next?”

It’s no secret that starting a new business, no matter how much professional experience you have under your belt, is a challenging endeavor. And when it comes to showcasing a new company, it can be intimidating (especially when you’re trying to stay on a budget). By partnering with a PR agency, some of that weight is lifted off your shoulders, allowing you to focus more intently on running your business.

Investing in PR
Public relations is about making news happen and ultimately allowing any new business to truly shine. Not only does PR help tell your story, but it’s also all about increasing visibility and building relationships. This is key when you’re just starting off!

Although the value of adding PR to a business is huge, there are a few things that you’ll need to be able to do before hiring an agency:

  • Define your target audience
  • Determine the spokespeople you’ll offer to the media
  • Determine your budget for PR
    • It’s crucial that you budget enough to see results, and this means creating a relationship with an agency that lasts beyond a couple of months.
  • Define your competitors
  • Outline your business objectives and initiatives

New owners are often attracted to a marketing regimen that immediately results in sales. How on earth does one measure success with public relations? Public relations actually CAN (and does) drive measurable results. Website traffic directed from secured media hits, media impressions and social media engagements are just a few examples of key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure ROI in PR. And, in sharing your story with the right outlets and the right audience, you’ll discover solid success.

Sharing Your Story
Media relations is the bread and butter of what we do at Dittoe PR. Our ability to develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with the media enables us to consistently secure media coverage that builds awareness, drives engagement and influences behavior among our clients’ key audiences – all action items that are of utmost importance to any startup!

Interacting with journalists is a good reason to get all content, including your website, social channels and more, in a presentable format. It’s easy to focus internally on what your coworkers and professional connections think about your business. But interacting with journalists, and therefore getting your company’s story absorbed by your target audience, is when you’ll start to see your business thrive.

Forbes provides a helpful reminder to only create and document content that will bring value to your audience and build a lasting relationship with them. View starting a new business as a chance to do things right from the beginning.

Building a Positive Reputation
Your company is new. So you likely don’t have a plethora of reviews or testimonials to tout your amazing service or product. And no new brand can survive on self-promotion and advertising alone, making credible sources telling your story a key component of marketing for your business.

PR is an effective tool that can amp up one’s credibility with media coverage. Third-party articles, videos, reviews and more in reputable publications are items that can be listed on a website and included in other marketing materials. Honestly, this process can take some time, but in the end – you’ll have earned testimonial gold. Media coverage isn’t necessarily about gaining direct sales, but it’s about direct brand messaging and building awareness. And believe it or not, marketing and public relations are at their best when used together.

In short, marketing aims to achieve direct revenue while public relations is about sharing your company’s story through communication channels. So here’s our advice: start out strong and hit the ground running with a custom-made and results-focused PR campaign!

We’re here to help businesses succeed. If you’re interested in seeking public relations for your startup,  contact Lauryn Gray to schedule a meeting and learn more about what Dittoe PR could do for your business.

Top Services Clients Seek from Dittoe PR

My husband works in manufacturing, and he’s often met with blank stares when he tells colleagues that I work in PR. He once shared with me that he told a coworker I “tweet for work.” Technically, he’s not wrong. But that is just one aspect of my day-to-day work for clients who seek social media services from Dittoe PR.

You know the difference between public relations and marketing and the services we provide, however, you may still be curious which services our clients turn to us for the most. No blank stares here – these are the top services our clients seek from Dittoe PR:

Media Relations
Media relations is our bread and butter. While many “full-service” agencies include media relations in their plethora of services with everything from logo design to social media strategy, this is the core of our work at Dittoe. Your story is important, and we want the world to know about it, which is why we spend a significant amount of time working with the media best equipped to share your story.

Media relations at Dittoe is much more than writing press releases and sending pitches. When we secure media coverage for our clients, our work isn’t done. We want to ensure you are well-equipped to convey your story through media, whether that’s on TV, in an article, or during a photoshoot. It’s also important to remember that you may not be the only person telling your story – and we want to help with that, too.

Recently, Kasie, Vanessa and our summer intern Ali traveled to Chicago for Media Training Day with the WGA’s Caddie Academy. The Caddie Academy provides summer caddie opportunities to under-resourced high school students who ultimately hope to pursue an Evans Scholarship. Sharing the impact the Caddie Academy has on its participants is the goal, and what better way to do so than by connecting the caddies with the media directly? During media training, the Dittoe PR team shared everything from the best way to respond to interview questions to the best color shirt to wear on camera. We don’t just secure media opportunities, we ensure everyone who is telling your organization’s story is as prepared as possible to share it.

Thought Leadership
The executives we work with are experts at what they do. Whether they built a tech startup or manage a hotel that was built from the ground up, they are uniquely keyed into the operations that make their businesses successful and the skills required to manage them. They want to share their expertise with the world. That’s where Dittoe comes in.

If you recall our PR Lingo 101 blog, you’ll know that bylines are a large part of thought leadership campaigns. Whether a CEO sits down to pen an article about the importance of fiber broadband in rural communities or we conduct an interview with a VP on her work revamping the company’s HR policies, our Dittoe word wizards work with the execs to craft a strong article for publication. Our job is to ensure these bylines are published in ideal outlets for the company. That could mean a trade publication aimed at our client’s customers or a magazine where C-suite execs can learn from each other. Dittoe constantly researches new publications and builds relationships with editors to ensure a smooth byline publication process for all clients.

Social Media
Here’s where I tweet for work. And post to Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. And draft monthly strategies for content, including boosted posts. And audit existing client channels to measure what is working well and what could be improved. And educate executives about the importance of social media for companies even as we all personally scoff at Facebook’s practices.

As any social media manager will tell you, managing social media is about far more than writing tweets and responding to Instagram comments. In fact, the actual work of posting is often the quickest. The strategy for a company’s social channels always comes first to guide not just what we want to post, but why. We also regularly monitor social media analytics to see what content is performing the best, or what the audience isn’t quite as interested in.

For example, Intelligent Fiber Network’s (IFN) social media presence spans Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. What our team posts every day on these channels is the last thing we plan. First, we look at the upcoming quarter and identify the main sales or marketing goals: Which trade shows are occurring this quarter? Where is IFN’s network expanding? What new projects are on the horizon to announce? Only then do we drill down to the office level and determine what else about IFN we want to highlight during the quarter, the month, and the week – this includes everything from monthly birthday and anniversary celebrations to new blog posts.

Executing media relations, thought leadership and social media campaigns take grit and persistence, but they’re only as successful as the planning, brainstorming and strategy behind them. This is why our clients come to Dittoe PR. Not only do they know we’ll execute our plans to the letter and secure amazing coverage, but we put in the legwork to ensure those plans are the best fit for the client and will always result in success.

Are you interested in any of the services listed above? Contact Lauryn Gray to schedule a meeting and learn more about what Dittoe PR could do for your business.

How to Make the Most of Client Onboarding

When you’re living the agency life, clients are a pretty big part of the deal. As in, the biggest part. Our blog is full of useful content detailing how to get the most coverage for your clients, how to leverage that coverage on and off of social media, and dozens of other topics related to client success. But today, we’re going to back it all the way up to the beginning and talk about client onboarding.

“Onboarding” a client is a term used when your business development team (in our case, the fabulous Lauryn Gray) has sealed the deal, signed the paperwork, and is handing a client relationship over to the dedicated account team. This is the chance for the PR pros that will be working with the client each day to kick off the relationship and get the ball rolling.

In order to build a successful partnership, it’s important to gather as much information as possible in the first few weeks to help the PR team set a strong strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when going through the onboarding process with your next client!

Start with the obvious.
It may seem like a no brainer, but the first step should be to sit down with the business development group and go over what they already know about your new client. A lot of times, the sales process can take several weeks or even months, so the representative from your company has probably gotten to know the client team pretty well. Not only will you gain the tactical insight, like what all is covered in the proposed scope of work, but you can find out some information that might be helpful in establishing the relationship. Things like if they mentioned a competitor or an ideal publication, for example, can be great for developing a tactical strategy. Other insight, such as an alma mater or favorite sports team, might help develop a personal connection.

Do the research.
If you feel like this tip appears in a lot of our blog posts, that’s because it does. We love research. When it comes to onboarding, we like to know as much as we can about a company before we ever walk into the meeting. Start, of course, with the company’s history, its products, its C-suite, and all the basic information found on their website. But diving even deeper into figuring out who their competitors are, what industry trade media publications they have been featured in, where those competitors have been featured, the latest industry announcements, any awards they have won (or been nominated for), and what type of engagement they receive on social media presence will result in a much more efficient introductory meeting.

Ask all the questions.
Once you’ve done all that research and you’ve become familiar with the scope of work, it’s time to prep for your onboarding meeting. In order to really make the most out of the time you have, it’s important to utilize what you already know. Rather than asking them to list off their competitors, have the list you’ve created ready and ask if you’re missing anyone. Rather than asking them to list off every publication they have been featured in before, ask for the top 3 they haven’t been in yet. Have a list of their products or services at the ready and ask which ones should take highest priority, as opposed to having them walk through information that’s readily available on their website. Not only does this show that you’ve done your homework, it makes it easier to hit the ground running once this meeting concludes. The faster you can start executing on project initiatives, the faster you can provide those stellar results your client wants.

Onboarding a client can be a little overwhelming at times. It’s hard to know every single component of a company after a single two-hour meeting. But being prepared can help you maximize the impact of that two-hour meeting and set a solid foundation for a successful client-agency relationship.