The Top Comms Mistake
Advancements in communications tactics and technologies have entirely redefined the way businesses interact within and outside the organization. From more impactful team engagements to meaningful brand engagements, business communication is a tool of massive potential.
When it comes to startups and small businesses, however, effective communication becomes more than just assistance; it is essential for their growth and stability. This makes it important to partner with the best-suited marketing company as per your needs, chalking out a thorough communications strategy, and, most importantly, steering clear of the common mistakes most startups make.
In this article, we will help you with the last bit, so you can understand what not to do on the way.
Table of Contents
Diving into Communications Activities without a Plan
Communications and PR might seem all about words and images to the outside eye, and this is exactly what happens with startups. What many small businesses fail to realize is that things will not fall in the right places without a comprehensive strategy right from the beginning. Whether you choose to partner with a PR expert for this or dive into it on your own, the cost of not aligning your communications efforts with a clear path of action can prove disastrous.
Fix: Define a Clear Marketing & PR Strategy
Start by identifying your brand’s identity and target audience to figure out how your communications efforts must be tailored. Keep a few clear goals handy by visiting and revisiting your mission statement. Determine the best media channels most relevant to your desired outcomes – brand awareness, product awareness, team/founder story, initiatives, and outcomes, etc. – and gradually work out the best way to reach them.
Weave all these broad aspects of your communications strategy with a crisp but realistic time frame. Only then should you start working out the finer details and dive into action.
Overlooking Internal Communications
While it is normal for a startup to focus on getting the best coverage for their emerging business, only chasing media agencies, and ignoring internal communications is a common, dangerous practice. Too many startup founders and executives overlook the importance of communicating with their employees – their number one audience and marketers simultaneously – especially during the upscaling process.
The importance of internal communications goes beyond team collaboration. Your employees are your toughest critics, and ideally, your first testing ground to ensure that your story or idea resonates. These employees have the vested interest in your company that is required for genuine feedback and better ideation.
Fix: Focus on Employee Engagement
A captive, highly invested team can serve your business communication needs much better in much less time. Besides, you slowly develop a rich culture of accountability and transparency through two-way communication. New technologies and ways of engaging with employees are emerging these days based on trials and errors. Indulge in both organization-wide touchpoints and micro-moments to connect with your employees efficiently.
Faking It for Making It
When starting, it can seem enticing to indulge in some exaggeration or even lies. The harsh truth is that there are far too many eyes today to be able to escape with fake publicity. Your team, investors, customers – everyone has a tab on you at this stage of growth.
Stretching too far using untrue propaganda can turn out to be truly devastating. There are several examples of companies soaring high using this tactic, but then falling flat-faced into the abyss of public meltdowns, bankruptcy, and even jail time.
Fix: Stay Grounded
It is always recommended for any business, especially startups, to have a clear and concise mission, vision, and values for a reason. These are the principles that you should always find yourself drifting back to tie everything together.
With the kind of pressure out in the market to stand out of the crowd, beat your competitors before the game starts, and earn the trust of investors and customers early on, it is expected of startups to portray themselves as inspirational and visionary.
However, this should be best done by constantly evaluating who you are to the core. You could ask your team or colleagues to share honest feedback, revisit your foundational principles and create a central storytelling repository to track and sync all your communication efforts.
Sharing Too Much or Too Wrong
Once you have discovered what your brand is about and what your customers are best reciprocating to, you can hop on and spread the word about your work. However, most startups go wrong at this stage because they don’t know how much or what to share. Experts suggest there are many reasons at play here: the fear of being misunderstood, wanting more attention and appreciation, the pressure to start building news and getting coverage, and so on.
Most startup founders and their teams are unable to even differentiate between interviews they should and should not sit for. Many don’t even know what an interviewer might ask because they do not have the time or resources to understand the journalist’s style.
Fix: Get Professional Assistance!
A professional PR agency brings massive experience to the table when it comes to dealing with journalists and media publications. Startups can procure professional counsel based on thorough market analysis, competitor activity and approach, customer behavior mapping, and brand essence strategy.
These experts will also guide you well on what to participate in and what to pass on based on their experience, depending on how relevant it is for your startup. You can get hold of the exact language, tone, and length of answers to interviews, whether spoken or written, based on your inputs and their expertise.