5 ways PR can help startups toot their own horns

Are we afraid to toot our own horns?

Recently, I read this piece by Carrie Ghose of Columbus Business First, Here’s why one entrepreneur ‘would absolutely locate’ his startup in Columbus.

For the story, Ghose interviewed the program manager for Startup Week, which was held here in Columbus earlier this month. He flew into town from Omaha and said, after his visit here, that he would ”absolutely locate my startup in Columbus.” He talked about the pros–such as its central location, talent, etc.–then went on to say that of all the things Columbus has to offer startups, one thing it’s lacking is “champions.” To quote Ghose, “In essence, Columbus needs to brag more and tell its story…”

I found this really fascinating, because as Midwesterners, we do tend to shy away from tooting our own horns…this can hurt us, though.

As a PR pro, I find that working with clients here in the Midwest differs greatly from where I launched my business in Silicon Valley. Folks there aren’t nearly as shy about telling their stories. PR is an integral part of startup life there, as it’s an accepted form of storytelling, or “bragging,” if you will.

This modest Midwestern mindset creates a challenge—not only for me, but for startups and other small businesses here. We need to get away from this “tooting our own horn” phobia and get more comfortable talking about ourselves and telling our stories.

How can PR help with this? Here are five ways:

1) Press releases: A press release can be written and leveraged in a number of ways (see my piece here on 5 ways to make use of a press release)

2) Social media: Use social media to tell your stories. This piece has a nice breakdown of which social media outlets to focus on.

3) Blogging: Use your blog to publish content and share tales of how the company was founded, the challenges faced along the way, building the team and so forth.

4) Speaking engagements: Get out and speak to tell your stories. This raises the visibility of the company, and you can promote it via social media and your site before, during and after the gig.

5) Contributed articles: Write about how your customers are using your products. Many times, industry publications accept these articles. Always check first to make sure they can use it before writing and submitting it.

Those are just a few ideas to get you started.

Let’s keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with tooting our own horn….after all, if we don’t, who will?



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