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Industry Veteran Advises Startups on What to Look for When Hiring a PR Firm

After participating in $12B+ of startup exits over 20 years, WIT Strategy Founder Mark Naples prioritizes domain expertise for PR firms working with startups

How to hire a PR firm that makes an impact is not common knowledge for most startups. But the design and execution of an effective strategic communications plan, either internally or by external counsel, is essential for garnering investments, propelling business growth, and going to market.  This is why early-stage investment fund C2 Ventures (C2V) founder Chris Cunningham, spoke with WIT Strategy founder and C2V operator bench member Mark Naples for the C2V’s “In the Trenches” interview series. Naples shared his behind-the-scenes expertise to help founders – and their investors – know what to look for when considering PR during a company’s early stages and beyond.

Focusing on the power of strategic ideas and value creation far more than the power of press relations, Naples walks through cases from his 35+ year career in a 20-minute interview, which Cunningham teased on LinkedIn.

“The ways people tend to judge PR firms focus too much on outdated models of how press is generated,” said Naples. He continued, “When interviewing candidate firms, founders should judge them on the ideas they convey, not on the press relationships they claim to have. There are components of PR in business development, sales, and many other business disciplines within any vertical industry. And a good firm will know how to nurture its press and analyst relationships by adding value – at every engagement. So, if your PR firm can’t inform your business and drive topline revenue opportunities before they have a conversation with any reporter or analyst, they’re probably not the right choice for most startups,”

See the complete interview here.

With an investment strategy focusing on industry verticals that are more utilitarian than glamorous, C2V is unlike most funds in that it provides consistent, active support to the founders of companies in its portfolio, offering expertise, time, and experience – not just capital – to its founders.  C2V’s “operator bench” consists of successful entrepreneurs and tech executives who, consistent with C2V’s mission, have pledged their time and experience in addition to their capital to support the success of these companies.

WIT Strategy is not like any other PR firm, though we do generate press for our clients that compares favorably with that generated by other PR firms. What sets us apart from your standard PR firm is our consultative approach. 

 Clients, analysts, reporters, and others continually describe our approach as different – as deeper and more strategic than that of any PR or marketing firms they have done business with. We feel that our approach is the most effective and lasting way to grow a company’s brand and value.