Public relations can bolster the growth of startups. With good PR, tech companies can build their reputation, which in turn leads to increased revenue.
But what does good PR look like for tech companies? It involves building and maintaining a positive image. And the PR tech companies do is called Tech PR; it's one of the new specialisations in the PR industry.
It's important to note Tech PR is not marketing. While marketing is focused on promoting and selling a specific product, PR is focused on maintaining a positive reputation for the company as a whole.
How startups can build their reputation with Tech PR
Tech PR involves building strong relationship with key media platforms, pitching to journalists and writers and getting media mentions with the aim of maintaining a strong reputation.
1. Key Person Positioning (KPP)
KPP is a beautiful concept more startups should embrace. More CEOs should step out of the shadows and get comfortable being the face of their startups.
KPP is an excellent PR strategy for startups. It allows startups to have their number one staff — the CEO — as a brand influencer. Although in some cases, communications executives are saddled with the responsibility. Indeed, as many top-level executives as possible can be brand influencers as long as they have palpable passion for the company and intelligent insight into the industry the company operates.
A good example of key person positioning is Harri Obi, the PR and marketing manager (Africa) at FTX. A look at his Twitter profile , for instance, and you'll see he burns for the crypto derivate exchange and is knowledgeable about the crypto industry. Harri aggressively plugs FTX into conversations and stirs up conversations which inadvertently improves the reputation of FTX.
2. Strategic CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become more strategic and innovative. CSR initiatives are now better thought out and result-oriented; gone are the days of masquerading white elephant projects as CSR initiatives.
But this strategy has not taken off in the Nigerian tech space. Only a few of brands have well thought out CSR initiatives. More startups should explore this strategy to build the equity of their brand and remain top of mind for consumers.
3. Thought Leadership
Startups must come to realise the power of thought leadership in building their reputation. And they must see themselves as media houses that publish relevant content to their target audience. By frequently updating communication channels with relevant content, and getting featured in other reputable publications to generate backlinks, startups would increase their organic traffic.
When Paystack announced the launch of its media arm, it came like a surprise to the ecosystem. But it's very clear that tailored content, especially on owned media, would be critical in the battle for visibility and attention. Any startups that want to grow and build their reputation must understand the psychology of its target audience, anticipate their pain and gain points, and then, create content to answer or solve those issues.
Tech PR is important strategy for startups and should not to be overlooked. There is a laundry list of problems startups can solve with PR. But more importantly, having an excellent communication strategy and well thought out CSR initiatives would help in building the reputation of any startup.
This is guest contribution from Akan Imoh, a strategic communications consultant. He currently leads partnerships and external relations at Knight Ventures, a Lagos-based startup accelerator.