5 Things a Publicist Knows to Be True About Growing Your Brand
Publicists are kind of like bartenders or hairdressers.
We really do know everything about your business. From where you grew up to where you’re headed. No really, we likely know your next GPS coordinates and have them linked up in a Google Calendar. It’s a publicist’s job to know everything there is to know about our clients, their products, their companies, and what they do in their spare time.
Much like bartenders and hairdressers, we also hear a lot of great stories. Except in our case, we help tell them to the world and turn companies and products into world recognized brands.
And here are a few of our secrets we’ve learned along the way.
1. It’s not going to happen overnight
You want to be famous. You want thousands of new users. So you hire a PR team to help make it all happen. Smart move. Truly. Brand awareness and credibility is so key to user acquisition and by investing in PR and marketing, you’re on the right track. But you also must make sure that your expectations are in check too.
Really great PR (translation: getting everyone and their dog talking about you) doesn’t happen overnight. Unless you’re Beyoncé, no matter how much you and your brand talk about lemons, you’re not going to catapult to the billboards of Time Square.
So how can you overcome the understandable need to want it all overnight? Set attainable, not lofty, goals for yourself. Look at industry standards. And no, I don’t mean comparing yourself to the Zuckerbergs of the world. Look at others in your space who started from nothing and launched similar products and companies. What was their growth like? How did they reach their milestones? When you have industry benchmarks to work with, it’ll be easier to know what to expect for your brand.
2. Patience is a virtue that you shouldn’t skimp on
It’s not going to happen overnight brings me to my second point. Patience is a serious virtue that you can’t afford to skimp on. Especially when it comes to media outreach. While other brand activities such as social media presence, blog content, speaking opportunities and thought leadership (not to mention organic growth of your brand) will help get you towards the spotlight, many get caught up in wanting media and wanting it now.
Unfortunately, journalists (and the media in general) simply don’t work like that. It’s now harder than ever to get a feature in TechCrunch, The Next Web and the likes. More outlets are moving away from product launches and more towards post-launch pieces that show traction and growth. Simply launching isn’t necessarily news these days.
So what’s the work around? Hard work and patience. Start getting to know journalists now. Pitch them your ideas and your news. Yes, they may say no, but I like to think that every no has the power to become a yes when the timing is right.
For example, we recently pitched a client to TechCrunch. They didn’t have news at the time, but because they had a rocking product, the reporter offered to hop on a call with them to chat. They had a great conversation and basically confirmed that when they do launch their next feature, they’ll get some sweet coverage. Yes, that may be a few months out, but it will be totally worth the wait.
Have patience. It’ll pay off.
3. Your relationships are absolutely everything.
This should come as no surprise, but the secret to growing your brand, in addition to patience and hard work, is of course, who you know. Whether it’s getting users, launching a marketing or PR campaign, or seeking funding. Or something wild and exciting that no one has ever done before. Leveraging your colleagues and networks will go a long way.
Without either, you may have trouble cutting through the noise already existing around you.
Now, you’re likely thinking “I have no connections. You said these things take time. That patience is key.” You’re right. But there’s things you can do right this very minute to work your way towards having a brag worthy tribe behind you.
Here are three excellent ways to start:
- Twitter: This social platform is an amazing way to get to know journalists and influencers in the startup marketing space. Follow folks, engage in conversation, talk about things other than your industry, share cat gifs, talk about what you’re watching on Netflix. Build actual relationships.
- Share, Share, Share!: Every week, I set aside 15-30 minutes a day to read my favorite media outlets and share great articles. I always tag the writer on Twitter. Nearly every time, I get a like. Often I get a retweet. And you know what? Sometimes I get a follow or a conversation underway. This is a fantastic way to make friends with the media AND you can schedule out your social media calendar with really great stuff.
- LinkedIn Groups: You know your industry as well as anyone else in the space. Take some of that knowledge over to LinkedIn and join some relevant groups where you can get in on conversations that relate to you and your company. It’s a great way to make new connections, share your insight, and maybe even score some customers.
4. People will care more about your story than your product
Long gone are the days where simply launching your product or company was newsworthy. Dropping a new feature this week? Yeah, likely not going to compete with the breaking news from the Instagrams and Googles of the world. As sad as it’s come to be, it takes A LOT to get your product covered these days.
So what can you do to get your company in the news? Well, you can start by sharing your story. Often times, your selling point is less about your product’s bells and whistles, and more to do with why you created it in the first place. A journalist will want to know THAT story before you explain how your product works.
- Why did I create this company, product or service?
- How is it going to change other people’s lives too?
If you can nail the answer to both of these questions, you’re off to a good start.
5. Be humble or be crumbled.
Ok, I’m going to be short and sweet about this last one. You know the saying nice guys finish last? I don’t think it’s necessarily true. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But in the game of branding, here’s what I do know - you’re going to get A LOT further ahead if you’re humble and kind.
Now I’m not saying that you should let people walk all over you. I want you to have a back bone. I want you to be strong and bold. But as you climb the ladder of success, always be grateful for the opportunity. Be thankful to the folks that helped you along the way. Give credit where credit is due.
Because if you had the opportunity to buy a product from someone you like or admire versus someone who holds themselves in higher regard than you, who are you going to buy from?
What secrets do you know to be true about growing your brand? Let us know in the comments below!