Congratulations, you just decided to move your business – a tech startup, an exciting food product flying off the store shelves or a high-end consulting business – and you are faced with the daunting proposition of building a following in the very, very competitive media market that is Austin.
So the good news is that ATX is still friendly to small or mid-sized businesses, unlike the massive metorplexes to our north (DFW) and southeast (HTX). You don’t have to be a massive corporation moving its headquarters to town in order to get the media’s attention.
The bad news, however, is that there are a lot of companies moving to Austin, and hundreds of more in the process of starting. So while you don’t have to compete with the Goliaths of the corporate world you do have to find a way to stand out from a swarm of other scrappy, creative businesses.
If your plan is to move to Austin this year or next year, you’re gonna want to have a PR strategy in place before you make the move. Otherwise you will miss out on one of the single best opportunities to get some positive press right out of the chute.
Here are some PR strategy tips to keep in mind as you plan your move to America’s hippist, happening city for entrepreneurs:
Austin PR Strategy Tip: Move Date. Be sure to set a move date and stick with it. That way your PR firm can begin contacting local news outlets like the Austin Business Journal, Culturemap Austin, and Community Impact News to let them know about your arrival several weeks in advance.
Austin PR Strategy Tip: Hiring. The news media love stories about businesses moving to Austin with plans to expand by hiring more employees. Be sure to include your hiring plans by giving a range of expected hires, which include a conservative number but should also include a rosy, optimistic number as well. In other words, if you hit all your aggressive forecast for the next 12 months you will need to hire 25 software engineers, customer support technicians, and sales engineers. But if you fall short that number might only be 15. So tell the media your plans are to hire up to 25 new employees over the next 12 months.
Austin PR Strategy Tip: Real Estate. When you move, you have to find an office, right? Well, don’t sign anything until you have consulted with your PR firm about how to announce the lease transaction as many media report on real estate deals when they happen. It’s as good a trigger as any to start talking about your company, the move and your plans to take over the market!
Austin PR Strategy Tip: Assets. Sometimes moves involve an investment in assets to get the operation running. If you are a manufacturing operation and need to invest in equipment, trucks, software and other costly items then that becomes a topic of interest in the local media as it invariably involves you stimulating the local economy with your new purchases.
Austin PR Strategy Tip: Press Kit. Some companies do without a press (or media) kit but if you plan to engage the local and national news media then a press kit is a helpful thing to have. You should talk to your PR firm about creating a company backgrounder, product or services list, executive bios and a recent press release or two. Also, make sure your PR contact is listed on the press kit and make it available for an easy download from your website.
Austin PR Strategy Tip: Media List. Take some time ahead of the move to get the lay of the media landscape. This includes doing some research online to determine who is writing about companies like yours and how exactly they approach those kinds of stories. Compile a list of the media outlets and reporters to make sure you don’t miss anybody when it comes time to share the news of your imminent arrival in Austin.
Austin PR Strategy: Exclusivity. One approach to consider is whether you should promise a reporter an “exclusive,” which ensures that he or she is the first one to break the news of your arrival in Austin. Some media outlets – the Austin Business Journal comes to mind – really value being the first to break the news as it gives them an edge on the competition. If you promise a reporter an exclusive, then be sure to follow through by holding off on telling the rest of the media until the story has gone live. You can then reach out to the rest of the media to share the news.
Austin PR Strategy: Updates. Just because you get an initial pop in the news media, doesn’t mean you should not revisit the topic with media outlets. Say you got a story in the Austin American-Statesman about your plan to bring a chain of restaurants across Central Texas, it’s a good idea pass out media advisories letting the media know when you break ground on each new restaurant, hold your first grand opening, hire more staff, etc.
Bottom-line: There’s more to coming to Austin than just hiring some moving vans. Be sure to capitalize on the event to make the biggest splash possible. Follow some of the tips above and you will almost certainly make your name more recognizable across the Central Texas area.
Got any questions or insights? Share them with us below!
About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009 as one of the only PR agencies in the country to provide performance-based PR pricing. In 2010, Dave launched PR over Coffee to provide small business PR advice so that entrepreneurs and startups could practice “DIY” PR and promote themselves directly to media outlets. For more information about Dave or PR over Coffee, email info(@)PRoverCoffee.com.