a16z Podcast: The Why, How, and When of PR

“Punch above your weight” — If there’s one thing public relations (PR) should help startups and founders do, it’s that. Unfortunately, some companies are actually punching below their weight when there’s a strong company, founder, product … yet nobody knows about let alone talks about you. Or worse, someone else defines you first. Or you just become a hype machine.

So what conversations should you be in? Is it good or bad to do PR before you have a product? And operationally, WHEN is the right time to build a PR function; WHO should you hire (whether a full-time PR person, consultant, or agency); and HOW can you tell the good from the bad? How do you even know “it’s working”, when time-is-money for both the startup and the PR firm that’s billing you hourly or monthly?

There’s no easy answer, but it doesn’t have to be that hard, either. In this episode of the a16z podcast, partners Margit Wennmachers and Kim Milosevich — PR veterans who’ve seen all sides of public relations, from agency to big companies to startups — share how to strike the just-right balance between doing PR too early or too late, time wasted or time wisely spent, and knowing to say “not now” vs. no… It’s all about the art of persuasion.