“Put your best foot forward. Startup companies looking for venture capital dollars should pay heed to this adage in today’s turbulent economy,” said A. Howard, a California-based PR practitioner who specializes in marketing crowdfunding campaigns.
Amateur Hour is over
“Now isn’t the time for amateur copy and brochures. If you want investors to take you seriously, invest in public relations counsel and solid strategies,” adds Howard.
Here are three important reasons to hire PR help when looking for venture capital dollars:
Start thinking and acting like the company you want to become. Successful enterprises begin to rise once they have solid short and long-term plans and when they are sure about who they have to reach.
Making use of PR is a powerful tool to attract funding in a company for its growth.
Corporations large and small have PR teams to help build and maintain credibility with the primary stakeholders; including the media, and some have strong PR for crowdfunding. Third-party endorsements of your company from a well-placed article in a newspaper, trade publication or online site are extremely useful in giving a startup the instant status and recognition.
Streamline your business’s messages and lose the jargon.
Ever read a company’s home page and think, “I don’t get it.” As a startup, potential investors may click away from your site if it is loaded with jargon, copy or clip. Realize that although you know your product inside and out, it’s dangerous to assume everyone else does. A good PR practitioner can polish your copy without taking away your startup’s individuality.
Also, remember that prose you think is hip or edgy might seem nonsensical to an outsider. Letting a PR person – preferably, one from outside your core team – review content will help streamline key messages, so they are clear and concise to even the most uninformed reader. Someone viewing your information for the first time should understand the gist of your business rather than think, “That Web site was funny, but what do they sell?”
Differentiate yourself from the competition.
No matter what your specialty is, the marketplace is crowded. What makes your start-up different from the others? A good PR person can help position your company, so it stands apart from the competition.
Consider two startups; both offer essentially the same software product. Start-up A has a jargon-free, well-written Web site including a “press room” section, compelling collateral material, and also has been written up in several trade publications. Start-up B has a quirky, cluttered Web site, an iconic logo that doesn’t relate to its product and a “contact us” section that directs media inquiries to a generic email address or, even worse, the CEO!
Now put yourself in the shoes of a potential investor. In today’s risky economy, venture capitalists want to know they are putting their dollars into a well-run company; this includes a leadership team focused on the core business. A clever copy might get investors to chuckle, but they probably won’t ante up, especially if there’s a similar, more polished start-up out there.