Dem’s Fightin’ Words!

Years ago, I sat in a Starbucks with an accomplished executive who, like an oracle, pronounced, “Mike, the single most important way to promote your startup is through public relations.  Make this your priority.  And don’t try to do it yourself, hire an agency.”

Because this guy had seen a lot more success than me, I bought in.  At a cost of $10k in monthly retainer fees.

Guess what?  Despite the agency’s expertise and connections, when we turned on the PR spigot, the resulting newsflow was only a trickle.  And I had to explain what the $120k really garnered for us.

My advice – and this may sound like fightin’ words to my agency friends – is this: don’t hire an agency.

Jason Calacanis, who knows a few things about startups, recommends that leaders think hard before hiring a PR agency in order to save money when running a startup.  Mark Cuban goes further to say just don’t do it.

Here’s the truth…  PR agencies don’t control whether a journalist will write about your company or even mention your name.  Unlike the Godfather, there are no favors to call in.

In my next post, I’ll share what I believe is a more effective approach.  Meanwhile, what do you think – should startups (or, for the matter, nascent technology companies) hire a PR agency?

(Image: donjd2)

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