Strategic PR for Startups: Addressing Key Challenges in 2024

Public relations can prove to be quite tricky. While it may appear straightforward from an outsider's perspective, in reality, it undergoes continuous changes, much like any other sector influenced by digitalisation.

These evolutions often present challenges, particularly for startups. Let's explore the hurdles they're poised to encounter this year.

Information Overload

Getting your message heard amidst the noise has always been tough. But it's becoming increasingly daunting. Over the past 13 years, data generation has exploded, skyrocketing about 60 times from a mere 2 zettabytes in 2010 to a staggering 120 zettabytes in 2023. Projections suggest this figure will surge by over 150% in 2025, hitting an unprecedented 181 zettabytes.

But it's not just the sheer volume of data; it's also the evolving formats. With platforms like TikTok, our attention spans have adapted to shorter content, making it even harder to capture and retain audience attention.

Essentially, the main challenge now is to figure out how to navigate an ultra-competitive landscape dominated by specific formats.

Despite these obstacles, there's hope. The rise of social media has made it easier to gain exposure by creating engaging, viral content. Social media algorithms help content reach wider audiences organically. To create viral content, startups need to remember two key things: content must either entertain or provide value, and authenticity is crucial.

This means being creative while staying true to your brand values. Take Super Coffee, for example. Their TikTok channel is gaining traction, with over 55,000 followers and 3.5 million likes. Their top video, with over 3.9M views, features people being interviewed for a free coffee while sharing insightful coffee-related tidbits – a testament to creativity and brand awareness that also drives sales. 

Journalists Relations

While leveraging social media presents its own set of challenges, building relationships with the media is becoming increasingly complex. The media landscape is struggling with its own issues, with rounds of layoffs hitting as recently as early 2024. In January alone, numerous outlets saw significant job cuts. Adding to the complexity, it's becoming harder to establish and maintain connections with journalists due to frequent job rotations.

But amidst these challenges, there's still reason for optimism. Mastering the art of the cold pitch remains a viable strategy. By thoroughly researching a given outlet's topics and tailoring pitches to align with their interests, startups can increase their chances of success. Additionally, understanding an outlet's editorial guidelines is crucial, as most provide clear instructions on pitch and/or article requirements.

In cases where guidelines aren't available, a cold pitch might look something like this:

Subject: Potential Article on [Insert Compelling Topic]

Hi [Journalist Name]!

I'm [Your Name], the founder/CEO of [Your Company Name].

I have researched the latest pieces that have been published and would like to know if you’d be interested in an (opinion piece\feature\article\interview) on (subject)?
I think that (summary of opinion)
(Include a brief outline of the arguments and their relevance to the outlet's audience)

Would this be of interest to you?

About [Your Company Name]

AI-generated content

While AI may seem like a game-changer for content creation, the reality is more nuanced. As tempting as it may be to use tools like ChatGPT to streamline content creation and cut costs, it often results in inauthentic content that struggles to resonate in a sea of information – AI can't replicate the unique insights and creativity that humans bring to the table.

However, AI can still be a valuable asset in certain areas:

  • Brainstorming ideas.
  • Conducting reputation management by analysing online conversations, social media mentions, and news articles to check public sentiment and react when needed.
  • Facilitating content proofreading and editing, especially when targeting foreign markets.

By striking a balance between human ingenuity and AI assistance, startups can navigate the complexities of content creation while maintaining authenticity and relevance.