I attended a session recently, as part of start-up incubation program, on “Taking your brand global”. One of the topic of discussions was “PR – Earned and PR – Paid”, in context to start-ups.

My question during the session was – what comes 1st, Earned or Paid.

The discussions pivoted around that either can happen, paid can happen before earned. My thought is that for a start-up, ideally, “Earned PR” should be most important and then anytime in future, if needed, “Paid PR” can happen.

Start-ups are mostly developing new products, some of them disrupting the vertical, in which they are developing the product. Thus, when they reach the MVP stage and demonstrate the disruptive nature of their product, they have “earned” media’s attention. This would bring immense credibility to both, the start-up, as well as the product. Paying for media for a PR, before being in a position to ‘earn’ it, can be counter-productive. There needs to be something ‘game changing’ to talk about and if that product is truly ‘game changing’, it will attract attention. Before paying for PR, a powerful channel that can be used is, social media. This was also strongly supported in the session.

Just airing my thoughts, as I believe, “earning” your ‘star on your shoulder’ will reinforce self-belief about taking product to next level, besides getting trust and faith of others, especially serious investors.


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