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How startups can use public relations (PR) in marketing?

Public Relations (PR) is a strategic communication process that helps organizations build and maintain positive relationships with their stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, media outlets, and the general public.

The primary goal of PR is to promote a positive image and reputation of the organization or brand through various communication channels. This can include media relations, community outreach, events, social media, and other forms of communication.

PR professionals are responsible for developing and implementing PR strategies that align with the organization’s goals and objectives.

They use a variety of tactics to communicate with their target audience and manage the organization’s reputation, including creating and distributing press releases, arranging media interviews, developing content for social media and blogs, organizing events and sponsorships, and monitoring media coverage.

Overall, PR is a critical component of a company’s marketing and communications strategy, as it helps to build trust, credibility, and goodwill among stakeholders, and can ultimately impact the organization’s success and bottom line.

What is the role of PR in marketing and how can startups & small businesses use PR to gain traction?

Public Relations (PR) plays an important role in marketing by creating a positive image and reputation for a company or brand through strategic communication and media outreach. PR helps to build relationships with various stakeholders including customers, investors, employees, and media outlets to increase brand awareness and promote products or services.

For startups and small businesses, PR can be a cost-effective way to gain traction and increase visibility. Here are some ways to use PR to benefit your startup or small business:

  1. Develop a PR strategy: Develop a clear and concise PR strategy that aligns with your business goals and objectives. Identify your target audience, key messages, and media outlets that will best reach your audience.
  2. Build relationships with media outlets: Research and connect with journalists and media outlets that cover your industry or niche. Build relationships with them by offering insights and resources that may be useful to their reporting.
  3. Create compelling content: Create content that is newsworthy and relevant to your target audience. This may include press releases, case studies, blog posts, and thought leadership pieces.
  4. Leverage social media: Use social media platforms to amplify your PR efforts and engage with your audience. Share your news and updates on your social media channels to reach a wider audience.
  5. Monitor and measure your results: Monitor your PR efforts to measure their effectiveness. Use metrics such as media mentions, website traffic, and social media engagement to evaluate your success and adjust your strategy as needed.

What are the different types of PR?

There are several different types or kinds of public relations (PR) that organizations can use depending on their goals, target audience, and the specific communication channels they want to use. Here are some of the most common types of PR:

Media Relations

This type of PR focuses on building relationships with journalists, editors, and other media professionals to secure coverage for the organization or brand.

Media relations professionals develop and distribute press releases, pitch story ideas, and arrange interviews and media appearances for executives and other spokespeople.

Crisis Management

This type of PR is focused on managing communication and mitigating damage during a crisis or negative event that could harm the organization’s reputation.

Crisis management professionals develop and execute communication strategies to address the situation, minimize damage, and communicate with stakeholders.

Employee Relations/Internal Communications

This type of PR focuses on building positive relationships and effective communication channels between the organization and its employees.

Employee relations professionals develop and implement communication strategies to inform, engage, and motivate employees, and ensure that they understand the organization’s values and goals.

Public Affairs

This type of PR is focused on communicating with government officials, regulators, and other policymakers to shape public policy and promote the organization’s interests.

Public affairs professionals work to influence legislation, regulations, and public opinion on issues that affect the organization.

Investor Relations

This type of PR focuses on building relationships and communicating with investors, analysts, and other financial stakeholders.

Investor relations professionals develop and execute communication strategies to inform stakeholders about the organization’s performance, financials, and plans.

Community Relations

This type of PR focuses on building positive relationships with local communities where the organization operates.

Community relations professionals work to understand community needs and concerns and develop strategies to address them while promoting the organization’s goals and values.

Social Media

This type of PR is focused on building and managing the organization’s presence on social media platforms.

Social media professionals develop and execute strategies to engage with customers, stakeholders, and the public through social media channels, including creating and curating content, responding to comments and messages, and managing online reputation.

Influencer Relations

This type of PR focuses on building relationships with influencers and other thought leaders who can promote the organization or brand to their followers.

Influencer relations professionals develop and execute strategies to identify, engage, and collaborate with influencers, leveraging their reach and credibility to reach new audiences.

What are the different functions of PR?

Public Relations (PR) is a multifaceted field with many functions that contribute to an organization’s success. Here are some of the primary functions of PR based on the given points:

  1. Anticipating, analyzing, and interpreting public opinion and attitudes towards the brand: PR professionals research and analyze public opinion and attitudes towards the brand to identify potential issues and opportunities. They then develop strategies that use free or earned media to influence public opinion and improve the brand’s reputation.
  2. Drafting strategies to support the brand’s every campaign and new move through editorial content: PR professionals create and implement editorial content strategies that align with the brand’s campaigns and initiatives. They work closely with marketing and other teams to ensure that the content is consistent and effective.
  3. Writing and distributing press releases: PR professionals write and distribute press releases to communicate important news and updates to the media and the public. They use their relationships with media outlets to ensure that the release gets coverage and reaches the intended audience.
  4. Speechwriting: PR professionals may be responsible for writing speeches and talking points for executives and other company leaders. They ensure that the messaging is consistent with the brand’s values and goals and effectively communicates the intended message.
  5. Planning and executing special public outreach and media relations events: PR professionals plan and execute special events and media relations activities to engage with the public and media. These can include press conferences, product launches, charity events, and more.
  6. Writing content for the web (internal and external websites): PR professionals create and manage content for the organization’s websites, ensuring that it is informative, engaging, and consistent with the brand’s messaging.
  7. Developing a crisis public relations strategy: PR professionals develop a crisis communication strategy to manage negative publicity or unexpected events that could harm the brand’s reputation. They work quickly to mitigate the damage and communicate effectively with the public and media.
  8. Handling the social media presence of the brand and responding to public reviews on social media websites: PR professionals manage the organization’s social media presence and respond to public reviews and comments. They monitor social media channels to identify potential issues and opportunities and engage with the public to build relationships.
  9. Counseling the employees of the organization with regard to policies, course of action, organization’s responsibility, and their responsibility: PR professionals counsel employees on how to effectively communicate with the public and media, ensuring that they understand the organization’s policies and values.
  10. Dealing with government and legislative agencies on behalf of the organization: PR professionals communicate with government and legislative agencies on behalf of the organization, ensuring that they comply with relevant laws and regulations.
  11. Dealing with public groups and other organizations with regard to social and other policies of the organization and legislation of the government: PR professionals work with public groups and other organizations to ensure that the organization’s policies align with the needs and expectations of the public.
  12. Handling investor relations: PR professionals manage communication with investors and other stakeholders, ensuring that they are informed about the organization’s performance, plans, and outlook. They may also be responsible for organizing investor events and communications.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of PR?

Advantages of PR:

  1. Cost-effective: Compared to advertising, public relations is often more cost-effective, as it relies on earned media coverage rather than paid advertising space. This can be especially advantageous for small businesses or startups with limited budgets.
  2. Credibility: Public relations is seen as more credible than advertising, as it relies on third-party endorsements and media coverage rather than paid messaging. This can help build trust and credibility with consumers and stakeholders.
  3. Brand awareness: PR can help raise brand awareness and increase visibility, as earned media coverage can reach a wider audience than paid advertising.
  4. Reputation management: Public relations can help manage and protect the organization’s reputation during a crisis or negative event, by developing and executing communication strategies to address the situation and communicate with stakeholders.

Disadvantages of PR:

  1. Lack of control: Unlike advertising, public relations relies on earned media coverage and third-party endorsements, which means the organization has less control over the messaging and timing of the coverage.
  2. Time-consuming: Building relationships with media professionals and securing media coverage can be a time-consuming process that requires ongoing effort and resources.
  3. Uncertainty: There is no guarantee that public relations efforts will result in media coverage or positive outcomes, making it difficult to measure the return on investment.
  4. Limited reach: While PR can be effective in reaching targeted audiences through media coverage, it may not be as effective in reaching broader audiences compared to advertising or other marketing channels.

Overall, public relations can be a valuable tool for organizations to build credibility, manage reputation, and raise awareness, but it requires ongoing effort and resources and may have some limitations compared to other marketing channels.

Examples of successful startup PR campaigns

Here are five examples of successful PR campaigns for startups:


In 2012, Dropbox launched a successful PR campaign to promote its referral program. The company offered users more storage space for each referral they made, and created a landing page that made it easy for users to share the referral link on social media. The campaign resulted in a huge increase in sign-ups and helped the company grow to over 100 million users.


In 2015, Airbnb launched a campaign called “One Less Stranger,” which encouraged users to perform random acts of kindness for strangers and share their stories on social media. The campaign helped to humanize the brand and promote its values of community and hospitality.


Casper, a startup that sells mattresses online, launched a PR campaign in 2014 that included sending free mattresses to journalists and bloggers to review. The campaign generated a lot of positive media coverage and helped to establish Casper as a disruptive player in the mattress industry.

Dollar Shave Club

In 2012, Dollar Shave Club launched a humorous video campaign that went viral and helped the company grow from a small startup to a major player in the men’s grooming market. The campaign featured the company’s CEO, Michael Dubin, delivering a comedic monologue about the company’s affordable razors and poking fun at the traditional razor industry.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker, a startup that sells eyeglasses online, launched a successful PR campaign in 2010 that included sending free pairs of glasses to journalists and bloggers to review. The campaign generated a lot of positive media coverage and helped to establish Warby Parker as a disruptive player in the eyewear industry.

These campaigns demonstrate how startups can use creative and targeted PR strategies to build brand awareness, generate positive media coverage, and drive growth.

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How is PR different from advertising & marketing?

Public relations (PR), advertising, and marketing are all related fields, but they serve different purposes and have different methods of achieving their goals.

Advertising is a paid form of communication that involves promoting products or services through various media channels such as television, radio, print, and online. Advertisements are designed to persuade customers to purchase products or services by presenting their features, benefits, and unique selling points.

Marketing is the process of identifying and satisfying customer needs by creating, promoting, and distributing products or services. It involves a range of activities such as market research, product development, pricing, distribution, and promotion.

PR, on the other hand, is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their stakeholders, including the media, customers, investors, employees, and the general public. PR is focused on shaping the public perception of a company, brand, or individual through earned media coverage, events, and other tactics.

The main difference between PR and advertising is that:

  • PR is based on earned media coverage, which means that media outlets cover a story or event because they find it newsworthy or interesting. In contrast, advertising is based on paid media, where the company pays for placement of the advertisement in a media outlet.
  • PR is also focused on building long-term relationships with stakeholders, while advertising is typically more focused on short-term goals such as increasing sales.
  • Marketing and PR both focus on building relationships with customers, but marketing is primarily focused on promoting products and services, while PR is focused on building the overall reputation of a company or brand.
  • Marketing often uses paid media to reach customers, while PR is focused on earned media coverage.

In summary, while advertising and marketing are focused on promoting products and services through paid media, PR is focused on building relationships with stakeholders and shaping public perception of a company or brand through earned media coverage and other strategic communication tactics.

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