Startup Framework for PR Success

Achieve PR success—one step at the time.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


This is a star­tup frame­work for PR activities.

Startup enthu­si­asm and naiv­eté are mes­mer­ising and con­ta­gious. But work­ing with star­tups is also a risky busi­ness. Most star­tups per­ish, and many founders are inexperienced.

Many star­tups need help sort­ing out their mar­ket­ing- and PR efforts — des­pite being boot­strapped and fight­ing for survival.

Here we go:

Stage I: PR Groundwork

Begin by mak­ing sure that your star­tup has the PR basics covered:

  • Logos, design ele­ments, fonts, and col­our schemes. 
  • A fast and easy-to-use web­site with a webshop.
  • Cornerstone con­tent for basic SEO coverage.
  • At least one high-con­vert­ing land­ing page template.
  • Desirable lead mag­net to offer web vis­it­ors for free.
  • Analytics (with track­ing pixels) with clear con­ver­sion goals.
  • Email pro­vider with bon­afide sender trust scores.
  • Templates for con­tent pack­ages, press releases, etc.
  • A basic media list of journ­al­ists and influencers.

The above ele­ments might cost some money. Depending on who you ask for help — some­times lots of money. It can also be com­pletely free if you’re will­ing to keep it bootstrapped.

But no mat­ter your ini­tial invest­ment, what you don’t want is to spend time on these ground­work PR activ­it­ies later.

Stage II: PR Sprints

Most star­tups are impa­tient — and rightly so. They want quick wins, low-hanging fruit, and sig­ni­fic­ant res­ults. Because who knows if the star­tup will even be around for a few months?

What to do? Set up a sched­ule for PR sprints.

For example:

  • Create 15 – 20 high-con­vert­ing land­ing pages for stra­tegic­ally chosen keywords. (Week 1 – 2)
  • Set up pro­gram­mat­ic advert­ising and basic SEM along with registered social media accounts. (Week 3 – 4)
  • Set up email auto­ma­tion and pre­pare seg­ment tags for your future sub­scriber base (Week 5 – 6)
  • A/​B‑test, fine-tune your lead mag­net and push to a 2,5% web­site con­ver­sion rate for new email sub­scribers. (Week 7 – 8)
  • Do keyword research and cre­ate ever­green web­site con­tent to make your site a big­ger tar­get for search engines. (Week 9 – 10)
  • A/​B‑test and fine-tune all your web­shop pages. (Week 11 – 12)

And so on.

Every PR sprint sched­ule will be dif­fer­ent. There will be dif­fer­ent sprints of dif­fer­ent lengths and in dif­fer­ent orders. It all depends on the type of star­tup. But you want to avoid try­ing to get all of these scopes done sim­ul­tan­eously — because it will either be chaos or won’t get done. 

Using “fea­ture” as the unit of sprint in AGILE meth­od­o­logy can improve the bene­fits for developers, test­ers, and end users, while redu­cing the time spent on sprints.
Source: Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing 1Sharma, S., & Kumar, D. (2019). On the Development of Feature-Based Sprint in Agile. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​0​7​/​978 – 981-13 – 5934-7_20

Stage III: PR Baseline

Many entre­pren­eurs fail to under­stand that PR suc­cess depends greatly on your daily work. If the star­tup has one per­son ded­ic­ated to PR- and mar­ket­ing work, then the star­tup typ­ic­ally has access to 160 monthly hours of such work.

Compile a com­pre­hens­ive list of any mar­ket­ing- and PR scopes that could occur daily. Then, divide avail­able work hours as wisely as you can.

For example:

  • Internal meet­ings. (20 hours/​month)
  • Administrative work. (16 hours)
  • Run pro­gram­mat­ic advert­ising and basic SEM, includ­ing brand men­tion mon­it­or­ing. (16 hours/​month)
  • Create social media updates, run the Conversation Calendar, and pub­lish optim­ally to drive traffic and gen­er­ate brand aware­ness. (22 hours/​month)
  • Oversee email auto­ma­tion, gen­er­ate email send-outs, and man­age list growth. (16 hours/​month)
  • Manage the web­site, over­see (and cre­ate) land­ing pages, mon­it­or web­site ana­lyt­ics, and gen­er­ate ever­green con­tent. (24 hours/​month)
  • Do keyword research and con­tinu­ously update high-per­form­ing web­site con­tent. (10 hours/​month)
  • Fix digit­al things that break and man­age con­tacts with freel­an­cers, agen­cies, vendors, etc. (8 hours/​month)
  • Write press releases, keep media lists updated, and do wire ser­vice send-outs, i.e. press office. (10 hours/​month)
  • Develop PR stor­ies and pitch those stor­ies to rel­ev­ant journ­al­ists, i.e. media rela­tions. (10 hours/​month)
  • Establish and main­tain pro­duct­ive rela­tion­ships with rel­ev­ant influ­en­cers. (8 hours/​month)
  • Manage devel­op­ment pro­jects, i.e. sprints. (10 hours/​month)

How many hours you have at your dis­pos­al will vary. As well as the avail­able levels of competence.

The import­ant thing here is to avoid “wish­ful think­ing.” Because if there’s no time to get some­thing done, there’s no one to keep account­able in any mean­ing­ful way.

Stage IV: PR Strategy

At this point, your strategy has laid the ground­work, is push­ing for­ward with sprints, and has a setup for the daily grind. Now’s the time to get some strategies in place. 2Why not imple­ment a star­tup PR strategy soon­er? In my exper­i­ence, without the basics covered, such strategies will risk land­ing on the unreal­ist­ic side of things.

Here’s some inspiration:

Stage V: PR Campaigns

Most star­tups go for launch­ing “cre­at­ive” PR cam­paigns straight away.

But without a prop­er frame­work in place first, almost all such cam­paigns will be wasted effort since the star­tup lacks a PR struc­ture to man­age and har­vest any pos­it­ive effects.

What kind of PR cam­paigns is pos­sible for a star­tup? Only your cre­ativ­ity (and pos­sibly your budget) will lim­it your opportunities.

A few examples:

The Startup PR Framework

It’s said that one hour of pre­par­a­tion saves three hours of exe­cu­tion. This is excep­tion­ally true when it comes to PR work. So, pre­pare your star­tup for what’s to come before you get going.

The key to this four-step frame­work is to focus on one main PR object­ive at a time. Each stage con­sists of tac­tic­al imple­ment­a­tions suit­able for all star­tups need­ing PR success.

The dynam­ic and often chaot­ic world of star­tups can eas­ily lure founders and their teams into the trap of mul­ti­task­ing. However, spread­ing efforts too thinly across mul­tiple ini­ti­at­ives not only dilutes the effect­ive­ness of each task but also leads to burnout and reduced productivity. 

Adopting a sequen­tial approach — tack­ling one chal­lenge or oppor­tun­ity at a time — is vital for star­tups, espe­cially those nav­ig­at­ing the com­plex­it­ies of mar­ket­ing and PR. This meth­od ensures that each aspect of the star­tup frame­work receives the full atten­tion and resources it deserves. 

By pri­or­it­iz­ing and sys­tem­at­ic­ally address­ing each ele­ment, star­tups can build a stronger, more sus­tain­able found­a­tion for their mar­ket­ing and PR strategies, ulti­mately enhan­cing their chances of suc­cess in a highly com­pet­it­ive environment. 

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

1 Sharma, S., & Kumar, D. (2019). On the Development of Feature-Based Sprint in Agile. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​0​7​/​978 – 981-13 – 5934-7_20
2 Why not imple­ment a star­tup PR strategy soon­er? In my exper­i­ence, without the basics covered, such strategies will risk land­ing on the unreal­ist­ic side of things.
3 Silfwer, J. (2017, February 6). How To Build a Viral Loop (Using Mathematics). Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​v​i​r​a​l​-​l​o​op/
4 Silfwer, J. (2019, October 19). Corporational Determinism: Grandiose Product Launches. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​o​r​p​o​r​a​t​i​o​n​a​l​-​d​e​t​e​r​m​i​n​i​sm/
5 Silfwer, J. (2016, October 10). My 200K+ TEDx Talk: A Simple Recipe for PR Success. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​r​e​c​i​p​e​-​f​o​r​-​p​r​-​s​u​c​c​e​ss/
6 Silfwer, J. (2023, November 29). The Thought Leadership PR Strategy: Rule Your Domain. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​t​h​o​u​g​h​t​-​l​e​a​d​e​r​s​h​i​p​-​p​r​-​s​t​r​a​t​e​gy/
7 Silfwer, J. (2021, May 21). How to Never Run Out of Great PR Ideas Again. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​g​r​e​a​t​-​p​r​-​i​d​e​as/
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations obviously; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that it's good to have hobbies outside work.

The cover photo has



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