Stupid Things Startups Do: Bad PR

The series continues! Today let’s talk about something that is potentially draining your finances while providing less ROI than any other purchase.

That’s right kids, we’re talking about outsourced PR!

Let’s set the record straight - There is a huge difference between good public relations and bad public relations. Good PR people (and companies) know that you need help defining and refining your brand’s message. They know how to get that perfected message in front of the right people.

But most of them suck. And you’re paying them a lot of money. And they’re providing you with negligible results. And you still keep doing it…

Almost without fail, you will get a better ROI by hiring a brand manager in house. But here’s the conundrum – they need to not drink your company Kool-Aid. They need to stay as objective as possible at all times, in order to help you reach the world with a message that the world understands.

You have advisors and mentors that can help you here, as well. You do have advisors and mentors right? If not, why not? Get them. Not only will they help you through tough decisions (especially those who invest in your company, because they have a financial interest in your success), but they also are in the unique position of being able to see what you’re doing while still maintaining an outside perspective.

Oh, and your CMO is not your brand manager. It is your CMO’s job to monetize the product that you have, based upon the message that you send. Your CMO is has guzzled down one too many glasses of Kool-Aid already.

Know this – You will never see your company in the same way that your customers do. As the genius Roy Williams puts it, you are “uniquely unqualified” to spread your own message. Get help, but get the right help.

Stop wasting tens of thousands on outsourced PR. Unless they’re proven, and you can get a personal recommendation from someone that you trust, they’re not worth your money. They’ll gladly take your money, but what you’ll get in return is your company’s name in a close relationship with the “Mark As Spam” button in your email.


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