PR for Start ups – Green Eyed Monster or Underdog? Bethany | November 11th, 2009

In the past few months, I have attended more networking events for PR, startups and social media than I ever thought even existed.  At each event I feel like I’ve learned something, taken away some great tips and even made some great connections with other PR professionals in Chicago.  When talking about my position and PR for start ups in general, I kind of felt like we internal PR people (for startups) are kind of scrappy superstars.  We’re the girls that sit in a corner and observe, but can kick you butt if you talk bad about our company.  We’ve had to barter, beg and and almost sell ourselves to the devil just to get a little coverage and find it extremely rare when your tiny startup actually become a media darling.  How does that happen?  How does the media decide that this company is going to be their little shining start while the other thousands of pitches and information they get from other start ups go right in the garbage?

So here I am, at yet another networking event, starting to get envious of the traditional PR gal – the one that’s at a HUGE organization that everyone’s heard of who has media coming to them for stories instead of the other way around.  I felt myself feeling more like a mathlete instead of a cheerleader for PR.  Everyone wanted to hear what they had to say and what tips they had, but are they really working as hard as us start up PR chicks?

I came to a conclusion and I apologize if any of you “Traditional PR” chicks take it the wrong way (I’m not a hater, I used to be you) but PR people for start ups work WAY harder than you.  Here’s why – start ups don’t garner credibility until they are basically no longer considered  a “Start Up” and are considered a service that happens to be available online.  Therefore, the media doesn’t seem to want to take the time to cover a possible one-hit wonder or a here today, gone tomorrow company.  What if they’re wrong about highlighting it – what if none of their readers are interested.  They don’t want to take the risk.  We have to prove that our start up is going to be the next big thing, that it’s an innovative idea that WILL catch on and become the norm and not just a trend.  We work our butts off day in and day out, sometimes way into the night and weekends in the hopes that we get one tiny mention in Wired or Inc or on Mashable.  I have to say – WE ROCK!  We put blood, sweat and tears into our companies and are here because we believe whole heartedly in the new company and will do anything to help share the love of our company.

So instead of feeling defeated, disappointed or like you’re spinning your wheels – give yourself a high five knowing that you are a true underdog that everyone wants to see shine.  Don’t let those traditional PR girls in their perfect suits and dresses make your legging wearing self feel bad that you’re not on the Today Show – know that you are more able to roll with the punches and will do anything to get that next hit, no matter where it is.

If any of you start up PR people are in Chicago or ever visiting – let’s meet up for a Potbelly sandwich or $2 beer (hey, almost all of us either have TINY budgets or no budget at all) and chat about how we can work together to get our companies some love.

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