Public Relations for major companies looks incredibly different than PR for startups or midsize businesses. For the former, PR strategy tends to be a bit more reactive and protective; if the brand has made enough of an impact, chances are, the PR team will see a fair amount of inquiry and inbound requests from media outlets. Well-known brands enjoy receiving responses to pitches and attention from journalists that most new companies simply don’t get. For smaller to midsize companies, PR is an entirely different beast — and it’s more logical to simply call it “Lead Gen.”

PR goals for small companies are, by default, simply not the same as the PR goals of a major company. Fledgling companies have less time and resources and all are vying for attention from customers, investors, and the media.

Here are three areas to start with if you’re a company that hopes to use PR as a Lead Gen tool:

  1. Focus your voice to reflect the needs of your ideal customer — and do not go to market or attempt any PR strategies before doing so. Every company must go through the uncomfortable process of finding product-market fit and voice within their identified market. I’ve seen many startups attempt to enter the market before doing so, for a variety of reasons, and it almost never works out. Take time to conduct serious brand story sessions either internally (if you have a marketing pro on your team who is familiar with this process), or hire a third party to establish your brand story right away – you won’t regret spending the time up front.
  2. Identify niche publications, blogs, and forums where our ideal customer is spending time. Now that you have your brand story established, you have something real to say to your potential customers and it’s time to integrate your brand’s offering where our customer is most likely to seek out content. Placement in TechCrunch is always a nice pat on the back, but it won’t necessarily result in major conversions depending on what your company offers. Try not to measure success by the prestige of the outlet unless you’re merely looking for brand recognition and affirmation.
  3. Offer content that your ideal customer is going to benefit from reading. Keyword: benefit. Do not waste your customer’s time with no-value PR campaigns. Today’s customer expects to gain insights and helpful resources when they are being marketed to, so keep this in mind and begin crafting useful content to offer up in your lead gen process. Draft helpful blog posts, articles, and white papers. Consider spending a little money to hire out the creation of a well-designed eBook.

Key takeaway: spend extra time and effort crafting content that your potential customers will benefit from consuming. This not only ensures a more quality lead, but also builds some level of implicit trust with your audience.