Think Your Inc. 500 Company is too old for PR? Think Again.
Once upon a time there was a startup. It was a determined little startup, with smart founders, a dedicated team, and a work ethic unlike any of the startups around it. It was the little startup that could and after steady growth, followed by rapid growth, and then ‘holy cow we did this?’ growth - it landed itself on the Inc. 500 list.
Sound like a fairytale? Maybe.
But ask any company that has ever made the prestigious Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately held companies and they will tell you, fairy dust and magic spells were nowhere to be found.
It took a lot of hard work, sacrifices, tough decisions, and undying determination to get there.
So then what happened?
Nobody Heard From Them Again
For those startups that go on to become giants in their industry, a lot of things happen. For starters, you likely become a really big deal. You score some press because you were on the Inc. 500 list (you probably issued a press release too.) You keep up the momentum. You scale your team. You grow your office space.
Everything happens naturally as it should.
PR on the other hand, is often overlooked and sometimes even forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, some Inc. 500 companies have a wicked PR strategy. But for others, the rise to the top means so many other responsibilities, decisions, and processes to manage. PR becomes an afterthought.
But by treating public relations as an afterthought, you’re missing out on a ton of wicked PR opportunities. It’s not too late to change the tide. Here’s how to beef up your Inc. 500 worthy PR agenda immediately. No strategy required.
Always Be Announcing
There’s a big difference between being a baby startup and one of the fastest-growing companies in America. You have proven traction and as a result, people are more likely to listen to you because you probably have a really great story tell. So start by making sure you tell it. In fact, you should be telling ALL the stories.
This is especially easy for Inc. 500 companies that have been around the block. Take one of our longest-standing clients - Renters Warehouse. They’ve been on the Inc. 500 / 5000 list for seven consecutive years! SEVEN! Can you imagine?
Because of such growth, they’ve hired award-winning talent, acquired their competition across the nation, and have won a ton of other notable awards. While many companies might just celebrate these milestones in a company email, the Renters Warehouse team tells the world. No announcement is too small and each is celebrated in a press release, distributed on the newswire and shared on their press page. When applicable, these announcements are pitched to local media and often, one or two publications pick up the story.
Here’s the thing. You may be thinking, is it worth all the effort if I’m only getting one or two pieces of coverage. I’m here to ask you - one or two pieces of coverage as opposed to what? No coverage for not trying in the first place?
That brings me to my next point. The press release.
Make the Press Release Work for you
For Renters Warehouse, traditional press releases are golden, but for other companies with a more startup feel, versus corporate, a press release may feel a bit outdated. And that’s totally understandable. You’re young, you’re hip, you feel weird distributing stuff on something referred to as the wire.
I get it.
Make the press release work for YOU. Let’s break it down. A press release does what? It announces something in a particular template or format and it is then distributed to the media and the masses. You can do this just as well in a way or on a platform that works for you. Maybe that’s your company blog or perhaps, you draft a really awesome post for Medium. Distribute either option across all of your social media accounts.
Voila. You just got your news out to the masses.
Have At Least One Strong Thought Leader
Let’s switch gears for a moment and say that your Inc. 500 company hasn’t been a startup for a very long time. In fact, most days, you feel like one of the veterans in the industry. You may feel like a PR strategy isn’t what you need or that you’re not cool enough to be posting on Medium or being featured on Forbes.
I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. You are cool enough.
Even if you’ve been business as usual for the last 5, 10, 15 years and haven’t exactly been newsworthy, there’s still plenty of opportunity for your founders or executives to be in the media, representing your company.
Every Inc. 500 company should have at least ONE strong thought leader capable of representing the company in the media.
Here are a few ways a company can benefit from a thought leader:
They can become a Contributing Writer to top media publications. Media publications of all sizes and audiences are always actively looking for contributors. Have your founder or an executive - say your Chief Marketing Officer - regularly contribute thought leadership content on your industry, leadership, or company culture.
They can appear or podcasts. Have you heard? Podcasts are all the rage and there are hundreds to choose from. If you have an incredibly well-spoken member of your team that delivers great media interviews, schedule some podcast interviews that fit your industry for them.
They can be TV stars. Depending on what industry you’re in, there could be plenty of media opportunities to have someone from your team appear regularly as an expert source or commentator. Are you one of America’s leading real estate companies? You can comment on local or national news across the country about the housing market, things to know when buying or selling your home, etc. Got an amazing entrepreneurial story? Maybe you’re destined to be on the Steve Harvey Show, an opportunity we made happen for one of our clients just by sharing their story.
They can become a speaker. Perhaps one of the less explored thought leadership options for companies, but one with an incredible return is speaking opportunities. If you’re the founder of an Inc. 500 company, you’ve done something right and likely have an amazing story to tell with lessons to share. By speaking at conferences and events, you’re positioned as a thought leader while creating great PR buzz for your company.
You’re Not Too Old for PR
These examples are just a handful of PR plays you can put in place for your Inc. 500 company. The important takeaway here is that you put PR plays in place for your Inc. 500 company. Whether you enlist the help of an agency, hire a communications expert to fill the role, or have your marketing team execute, it’s crucial that you do.
Because no matter what you may think, you’re not too old for PR. Ever.