A big mistake that startups make is thinking that a company needs to be a certain (specific) size before it should begin investing seriously in public relations. That’s the wrong way to look at it.

Instead, you should ask yourself: what does our company care about?  What do we need to accomplish, and how does PR fit in?  For example, most startups care about three things: (1) finding new customers, (2) retaining more current customers, and (3) shortening sales cycles.  PR can help with all of those things, but you need to know what you care about most before you pick a strategy, and certainly before you pick tactics.

Public relations is never a one-size-fits-all discipline.  Some companies need to invest in PR before they earn their first dollar in revenue.  Other companies are better off spending their resources elsewhere until they’re ready to scale their operations.  So don’t wait until you hit some magic revenue number. 

Invest in PR at the moment when you’re ready to benefit from shining a spotlight on your website / product / company / idea.  (By the way, asking the question, “What do we care about” is a good idea no matter what type of organization you work for, and it’ll help you avoid making lots of bad decisions, with PR or anything else.)

Will Marlow is a PR specialist, blogger, and amateur photographer who lives in Northern Virginia. The dog in the photograph above would like you to rub his tummy.  You should follow Will Marlow on Twitter