The first thing I do when learning about a new company is check its Alexa ranking. The second thing I do is visit the web site and click on Press Room. I want to see what the company has been doing lately. Then I often look at the In the News section to see what media coverage they might be getting and I like to read about the management team and investors.
But too many companies don’t even have a Press Room section on their web site. Literally every company that I work does a sub-par job of telling their story through press releases. I think too many PR firms have led us all to believe that press releases alone are not worth anything. They want us to believe that the only thing that matters is their relationships with the media which can lead to getting our news releases published and stories being written about us.
While the value of well done PR is enormous, it is often very expensive–way too expensive for most startup companies, which is why, I believe, almost all of them neglect it. (Except for SearchGuy.com, a publicly traded search engine company with few employees, very little revenue, almost no site traffic–but somehow they try to maintain their market capitalization by issuing a press release every couple of weeks–but that’s another story.)
I see huge opportunities here.
We are starting a company to address this issue. We want all CEOs of small companies to be able to afford our PR service. We are designing software that will make it easy to choose a PR template (from hundreds or thousands), fill in some blanks, create some quotes, and have a press release prepared. The best part of this is the release will show up automatically not only on the company’s own web site (which is important!) but also on several other web sites including Google News! (That is the “secret sauce” that I won’t be disclosing.)
Some of my readers have wondered if disclosing our ideas and plans too early might be costly to us, and in fact, might create competition for us down the road, and thus lessen our company’s valuation.
In this case, if another firm starts offering turn-key press release creation and distribution services that small businesses can afford then we may skip this opportunity and instead focus on training and encouraging all our portfolio companies to use such a service. But we haven’t found such a service yet.
A consistent stream of press releases that contain significant announcements about products, customers, partnerships, trends, statistics, and good news can help a company gain momentum with, generate interest from, and reinforce the company’s value to several different audiences:
- Potential employees
- Current and potential customers
- Investors or potential investors
- Strategic partners
- And of course, the media
If you are aware of startup PR firms that are affordable please let me know. If you find this concept interesting and want to be considered as part of our startup team, please contact me.