Building a PR team is part art, part science at all stages of a company’s growth. However, there’s a framework for structuring your team that companies can follow to maximize results and drive home communications and marketing objectives.
The first step is bringing on someone to set the overall strategy and communications goals. Are you looking to bring on new customers, raise awareness, or change perceptions in the market? Many companies leverage an internal hire like a CMO or comms director, but agencies can also give this direction. In fact, many startups have turned to Highwire for exactly this work — messaging, positioning and outreach strategy. Once leadership is in place, the rest of the team can be built.
During the initial company building phases, you may not need an agency to conduct media outreach immediately. But once you need more media reach than one person can achieve, it’s time to consider an agency for media relations. For startups, triggers could include a funding announcement or product launch.
It’s important to note that PR is for more than just lead generation and sourcing new customers (for both B2B and B2C companies). For example, VC-backed companies should consider the exit strategy as soon as you start up your comms engine.
The goal in most cases is to position the company as a force disrupting the marketplace to increase investor interest. Often times this is done by telling your founder’s story, but the comms strategy should always map back to corporate goals (like fundraising or an exit).
As you grow, you may need two separate strategies — one to handle corporate communications and one for consumer/industry outreach. However, there are agencies (like Highwire) that can handle both.
Ultimately, your approach is going to dictate how you use your resources. If you’re a consumer tech company regularly mailing review units, you’ll need a labor driven team. With more difficult marketplaces that require nuanced comms, consider a more senior, strategic team. If you’re ramping up to IPO or trying to fundraise, it’s critical to have a corporate team that can work with investor media.
With all this said, Highwire can help you at all stages of your company’s growth.