The most effective public relations strategy is when a company’s leadership is open to discussing when, and when not, to speak with the media.
For early-phase companies, particularly in biotechnology, it is essential to first identify target media, and customize messages to an audience.This is important for biotechs in particular because their target audiences are so varied: investors, business partners, scientific and technological recruits, internal stakeholders such as board members and key staff, and, of course, the media.The most forward-thinking biotechs know to craft their initial messages carefully, so they build credibility with journalists whose goal is to appeal to and build key audiences.
Here are a few tips to remember in those early stages of business development:
- Test your messages before you start any outreach to journalists. Develop clear and digestible language when describing complex business models or technologies using stories, analogies and third-party validations that bring your messages to life for the journalists and their audiences.
- Advance preparation and rehearsal for interviews are crucial, especially when analysts will scrutinize your every word, and the 24-hour news cycle and social media postings can make what you say go viral. Media coaching and researching your interviewer can go a long way to make your two minutes on camera or ten minutes over the phone with a veteran reporter result in your desired outcome. Do not wing it; if you’re not prepared, don’t pitch or respond to an interview request.
- Friendly ties with journalists won’t automatically get you good press. But consistent, honest conversations with them will keep your name at the top of their list of trusted “usual suspects” so it stands out in the clutter of their contact list.
- Be quick, flexible and respectful in your interactions with them once you garner coverage. Having to correct what you consider to be inaccurate or unbalanced reporting can seem like a personal affront to the reporter. But media relations is a marathon, not a sprint. Carefully cultivating relationships still does matter, even in today’s “me first” real-time media environment.
With so much at risk, biotechs require careful messaging, especially in their early stages. Bring in a specialist who can help craft your messages, so they align with your business and marketing strategy and help you deliver them in a clear and concise way. It boosts the chances that your media outreach will support your business trajectory, and take you from just an early phase company to a successful, growing organization.