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Blog about the web and startups, from Finland. By Timo Paloheimo

Do Startups Need Launch PR?

Earlier, I wrote about how much great PR Finnish travel startup Tripsay got when It launched. There is a great post in Vierityspalkki (in Finnish, sorry) about how Tripsay worked to get all that PR.

I thought what they accomplished was great and must have done wonders for the company. Until I just read Seth Godins post: the myth of launch PR, in which he reminds that great companies do not need big launch PR. He list such companies: Apple, Nike, Wikipedia, Google and Microsoft. In fact, chasing after PR might distract a startup from more important matters.

I think Godin has a good point: in the long run, startups don’t need big launch PR. But in the short term it might help in getting investors and new people to try a new service.

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Author:  Juha Huttunen
Date:  September 3, 2008 | Time:  3:49 pm

It’s easy to agree here with Seth. Launch PR by no means will bring you enough traffic to matter on the long term. However it will bring you some traffic and good inbound links to help your SEO which helps your traffic on the long term. If you look at Apple or Microsoft it is pretty easy to say that they use considerable amounts of money to PR when launching a new product even though they have strong brands. For a small company it is quite impossible to separate itself from the crowd with limited funds, so definitely the long term success needs to be based on something else than PR.

Author:  Perttu Tolvanen
Date:  September 3, 2008 | Time:  6:55 pm

Noteworthy point, indeed.

I agree that great PR towards key bloggers can be a big factor when building partnerships, trying to get acquired or recruiting the best skills.

Having good visibility in Mashable and TechCrunch (perhaps Vierityspalkki in a much smaller scale in Finland) can offer attention from “the scene”. But having a good visibility in these blogs does not greatly help in getting the usage levels what a consumer service needs.

Only benefits for the service I can think of are: 1) Some quality links pointing to your site, 2) Maybe a few power-user more who markets the service to her peers. Both of them things that can be achieved without spending large amounts of money and time into PR.

So Seth has a strong point since you can’t really do “decent PR”. You either really nail it, or you fail it. If it doesn’t work it is complete waste of money.

Author:  Jukka Matikainen
Date:  September 6, 2008 | Time:  12:14 am

PR is good for business – not a necessity for a revolution! “Wikipedia, Google, Microsoft”…disruptive innovations & business models do evolve in unexpected areas without the support of the mainstream PR. When the revolution begins, it’s not PR, it’s news headlines.

On the other hand, it’s often a mystery why one product or service beats another. PR is important, even more so for Finns operating globally. So go ahead: TripSay it loud and clear!

Author:  Kristoffer Lawson
Date:  September 6, 2008 | Time:  1:42 am

Saying that launch PR is not important, and then listing Apple as an example of this, would to me seem extremely contradictory. Apple has lately been the master of launch PR. They very carefully control the output of the company and how launches are managed both to the media and to users. Sure, they started small, as most companies do, but who could forget their ’1984′ ad to launch the Macintosh?

I don’t believe in spending ridiculous amounts of money on a launch if you are a new startup, but surely any PR is beneficial for the brand at this point, not to mention the morale of the company.

Author:  Raj Anand
Date:  September 25, 2008 | Time:  5:30 pm

I also believe in not spending any money on PR. I feel PR is something you will receive if its deserved i.e. good product/service.

Although startups should think about IncrementalPR which is step by step PR by approaching local newspaper to get into major publications.

Author:  testpump
Date:  April 28, 2009 | Time:  8:02 pm

So Seth has a strong point since you can’t really do “decent PR”. You either really nail it, or you fail it. If it doesn’t work it is complete waste of money.

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