Crafting a winning PR marketing strategy: Setting SMART goals for startup success

by | Oct 4, 2023 | Public Relations

Startups that hit the ground running tap into the power of public relations. There might not be anything more important for a new startup than to cultivate a positive public image to fuel brand awareness.

Crafting a winning PR marketing strategy might seem intimidating. It’s a layered project that includes setting actionable goals, relationship-building, and creating great content. Fortunately, you can simplify the process.  

These practical tips will get your PR journey off on the right foot and help you establish a strong online presence for your startup.

Crafting a winning PR marketing strategy: Setting SMART goals for startup success

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Set SMART PR marketing goals

For your PR marketing strategy to be successful, it needs direction. Without it, you’ll end up spending a lot of time trying everything instead of focusing your efforts on the tasks that will help elevate your reputation.

Set SMART PR marketing goals so your plan for achieving them is easier to create. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This framework ensures that your goals aren’t generic and are instead substantial enough to put a plan behind.

Here’s an example of a SMART PR marketing goal: Increase social media following by 10% in the next three months by securing 2 influencer partnerships and launching a content campaign for each.

Here’s why this goal is deemed a SMART goal:

  • It is specific, covering the who, how, and where
  • It’s measurable with a specific number for follower growth and when the goal will be achieved
  • It’s achievable because it considers what can be done with the resources and team available
  • It’s relevant to the startup with the overarching goal of a successful PR presence
  • It’s time-bound, attaching a three-month timeline to the goal

Don’t overwhelm yourself with lots of goals. Instead, stick to 1-3 SMART PR marketing goals that you can dedicate the time and effort to achieving.

Create a well-structured marketing plan

Once you’ve set goals for your PR strategy, you can use them to guide your actionable PR marketing plan.

You need a well-structured marketing plan for a few reasons. You can create consistency in your marketing which helps build trust with consumers. The more they trust you, the better your public reputation will be.

A marketing plan includes specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you keep track of whether your PR strategy is progressing. It also helps you create and adhere to a budget to ensure you’re getting a return on the investments you make in PR marketing.

The key components of a marketing plan are:

  • Executive summary: A general overview of your marketing plan
  • Goals: Tangible goals that support your overall mission
  • Unique selling proposition: Highlight what makes your offerings unique
  • Target market: A description of your ideal customer base
  • SWOT analysis: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that could impact your marketing plan
  • Marketing strategies: Specific marketing methods you’ll use
  • KPIs: Metrics you’ll use to measure progress
  • Budget: How much you have to spend on marketing endeavors

Cover each of these marketing plan elements in detail for your PR marketing strategy.

The consequences of not using a plan

If you’re looking at all the details you must cover in a marketing plan and wondering if the effort of creating one is worth it, it is.

Not using a plan only leads to a lack of communication, collaboration, and execution. In addition, poor communication about expectations and requirements and inaccurate estimates for timeframe and budget are two common reasons for project delays.

The efficient planning and goal-setting you do in a marketing plan can help prevent these delays or minimize its impacts.

For example, you can plan to execute your PR marketing strategy with an agile framework. Instead of running through the entire plan and then making adjustments, you can incorporate pauses after each incremental step in your plan. As a result, you can make necessary adjustments as you’re working on the project, which keeps you progressing.

Prioritize content creation

A winning PR marketing strategy isn’t complete without high-quality content. People will start to know about, recognize, and form an opinion about your startup through your content.

It’s also fundamental in helping you grow genuine relationships with your customer base, media personnel, and other professionals in the PR world that can help you establish a positive public reputation.

Content creation must be a top priority for your team. PR-related content, like press releases, letters to editors, and press conference speeches need to be top-tier. However, you’ll want to focus on marketing content too.

Craft an engaging brand story to include on your startup’s website. Talk about the “why” behind your startup and how your products and services help your customers. Let how passionate you are about your vision and startup culture spill out.

The content you create for the other marketing channels you’re using to support your PR strategy should also be engaging and high-grade. For example, experiment with video content on social media to get and keep your audience’s attention. Use interesting visuals in the emails for your email marketing campaigns.

Create every piece of content with relationship and reputation-building at the forefront.


You cannot overlook a PR marketing strategy if you want your startup to be successful. Start with defining SMART PR marketing goals to set a strong foundation for your efforts. Then, move on to creating a well-structured marketing plan and high-quality content to complete your winning PR marketing strategy. 

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.


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