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When is it time for PR?
I’ve walked into more than one debacle between startups and their PR agencies. This can’t keep happening. Please, please, don’t sign on with PR unless you understand what it is and your business is ready for it.
What is PR?
Public Relations is media storytelling. It’s the art of getting your news in front of the trade, consumers, and investors. Published content on preferred outlets is the primary job of PR.
For example, how did these Dandies marshmallows get into allrecipes?
Courtesy of Shaina Ostroff with Reach PR
A good publicist will also amplify your brand by taking your thought leadership (like what you’ve been writing on LinkedIn and to your email subscribers) and elevating you as an authority. They get you editorial (vs paid) placement, get you quoted, and can land you speaking engagements. Some PR agents will also build and manage your VIP influencer relationships and media editorial affiliate platforms.
Sounds great! Sign me up!
Hold on. Some of you aren’t ready for PR because you:
1. Have no news
2. Are very private about your business
3. Just want trade outreach
4. Have not built out your bottom of funnel
5. Think PR is sales
PR is not sales. You should not assign revenue goals to PR activities. That’s because PR falls in the top of funnel marketing. It is brand awareness. Brand awareness is a long game – it builds recognition for your brand through sustained exposure to a broad audience over time.
You are ready for PR when you have built out national distribution and your calendar is filled with lots of buzz-worthy activity, such as pop ups, new launches, new distribution, sponsorships, road trip etc. Basically when you are out and about in the world doing cool things in markets where consumers can try and purchase your items.
You are ready for PR when you are open to discussing your growth stats, funding strategy, and investment to date.
You are ready when you are supporting your products with shopper marketing, trade promotions and trial activations (like demos or virtual sampling).
You are ready when you have the budget to invest. You can do a single PR project for, let’s say, an upcoming launch where you want a press release and one big media blast – you can do that – but the best strategy is to engage consistently with a publicist that will work your long game with you. That cost is minimum $4K / mo.
Sign on with a boutique agency
A boutique agency that specializes in your industry and gives you the time of day is much better than a big-name agency that will put you with inexperienced, junior people and charge you a huge retainer.
I have been impressed with the following specialists in emerging and natural CPG:
Shaina Ostroff runs Reach Public Relations, and Shaina personally represents food brands in the natural space such as Once Again Nut Butters, Harvest Snaps, Zoup! Specialty Products, and Cattaneo Bros. and has been doing it for over eighteen years.
Sarah Maguire lists Partake, Haven’s Kitchen and Lupii as clients. Sarah left her big agency to start her own boutique agency last year and hasn’t looked back.
I hope this helps you decide how and when to engage in PR!
All my best,
How to think when you are a trader in a volatile market. McKinsey identifies five success factors. This tip I believe applies to what’s happening in specialty crops right now:
Traders can capture value by taking positions that solve [supply and demand] imbalances. However, these types of positions are not typically achievable through standard market access and therefore will create incentives for a breed of players willing to go outside traditional trading mandates. These tactical investors will possess a private equity mindset and use the strength of their balance sheets to take equity in illiquid physical positions aligned with their long-term views.