Envision this: it’s a new year and your European tech startup is ready to increase its media presence. You have interviewed several agency candidates, narrowed the choices down to the best fit, signed a contract proposal, and hired a tech PR firm that will grow your startup’s brand awareness and take demand generation to the next level. However, the work isn’t over yet.
If your European tech startup wants this newfound relationship to flourish and increase the likelihood of achieving the best campaign results (e.g., greater brand visibility, higher search engine rankings, more website traffic and leads) then establishing a strong onboarding process with the firm is key.
Here are some steps we recommend if your European tech startup is planning to onboard a tech PR firm in 2021.
Address PR Goals, Budget and Strategy
During the interview process, it’s safe to assume conversations about high-level objectives as well as a proposed strategy based on outlined goals have happened. But now that they are officially hired, it would benefit both sides to reiterate, define and prioritize those goals.
This time can be used to address the overall PR strategy, as well as define primary goals and determine the PR budget. PR goals can be anything from increasing share of voice in certain geographic areas or industry verticals to driving more website traffic to establishing your tech startup as an industry thought leader.
It’s important to work with your tech PR firm to assess additional costs that may go into campaigns so that they can be factored into the PR budget. Your PR firm may use third party tools to assist with media outreach, tracking, and distribution. In this case, you should use this time to determine how many campaigns will require such third party support. For instance, the use of a wire service to distribute a news release. Do your best to figure out how many news releases will require use of the wire and then add them up using an average cost per wire distribution that your PR firm can easily provide you with.
Formalizing a PR strategy for 2021 is important for both parties so that there is clarity around the process and an alignment with your startup’s overall marketing goals. Your initial PR strategy meeting should address short-term and long-term business goals, product roadmaps, campaign expectations, a timeline of in-person and virtual events, and tasks assigned to each party. Both the tech PR firm and your European tech startup team should leave the meeting with a list of immediate next steps as well as a solid understanding of the big picture goals and messages.
Communication is Key
Whether it be in the initial meeting or via early email conversations, at some point during the onboarding process your team and your tech PR firm should discuss the details of your working relationship so everyone is on the same page. Conversations should include outlining and understanding who is responsible for which tasks, communication style and frequency, and the invoicing process.
No details should be overlooked, even if they are small and seemingly understood, such as who the main point of contact is and how often you communicate. For example, for the first month of engagement, meetings should be weekly until you are comfortable with how the engagement is proceeding. For the subsequent months, meetings can easily be biweekly as there is rarely anything that radically changes over a week’s time.
It’s important to establish how communication will happen. In today’s current professional climate, many companies work from home and will opt for video chat meetings. However, if it’s just a quick question, a simple phone call or email is likely suitable. Some tech PR firms even create a dedicated DM channel in Slack to which they invite key players from the firm and startup to exchange information in real-time.
The basis of any strong relationship is communication, so by establishing the details and logistics of your working relationship up front, the possibilities of miscommunications will diminish. In other words, navigating communications at the beginning of your partnership is the foundation of a relationship that has a better chance of success in the long run.
Establish a Method for Measurement
Prior to executing any type of media campaign for your European tech startup, it’s crucial for you and your tech PR firm to agree on a method for measuring campaign results. Determining a measuring method during the onboarding process will give both teams clear expectations going into the campaign.
Tech PR firms that are data-driven already have a proven method for measuring results. When it comes to discussing their process, it’s important for your team to ask questions about anything you are unsure of in order to understand exactly how the firm approaches data analytics. Additionally, if there are measurements your team tracks internally, it’s equally important to let your tech PR firm know so they can have a complete perspective on how to deliver results.
Receive Results, Review, Repeat
The final step of the onboarding process should take place after executing the first project. Though your tech PR firm has already proven their credibility and worked with your startup to narrow down objectives and establish a strategy, it’s time to put all that planning into action. The first deliverable will not only be an opportunity to evaluate their work, but it will also provide both parties with insight into how the partnership is faring and if anything needs to be improved for a better working relationship going forward.
Following the first campaign, schedule a meeting to discuss that initial project including the results, anything that didn’t go as planned, and what would make the process more seamless. Your tech PR firm should be a partner you can trust to support your PR initiatives, so having this conversation early on will set the tone for a successful partnership in the long run.
About Savannah Burns: Savannah is a Business Development Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft recently opened a satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft was also listed as a top tech PR agency in Texas by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.