Raising your first seed or a Series A funding round is a big step for any tech startup. It’s also one of the most important—and most attractive—announcements you can make as an early-stage startup.
By the time you’re ready to close a funding round, you’ve found the right group of investors, advisors, and potential new board members. Now you’re ready to roll out the good word to the masses in a funding announcement.
However, if you want to convey company momentum and market traction to key stakeholders—including, partners, employees, and customers—it’s important to have an outreach strategy in place first.
Maximize the positive publicity from your next funding round announcement by following these tips:
Tip #1: Develop a timeline that includes preparing messaging and conducting media outreach.
Ask any tech PR rep and they’ll tell you that lead time is the key to funding announcement success. Numbers need to be finalized. Messaging, including a press release, needs to be drafted. Quotes need to be approved. All of this takes time.
Not only should you factor in time to prepare and receive any necessary approvals for a press release when choosing your announcement date, it’s also important to allow at least 48 hours to pre-pitch the news under embargo before the official announcement. This will allow press contacts enough time to host interviews with company executives and write their story.
Tip #2: Don’t clutter a funding round announcement with other major announcements.
More and more, media contacts are happy to cover investment news as a standalone funding announcement. That means when putting together a press release, there’s no need to pair the news of your funding with other company milestones like new customers or new hires.
In fact, you should actually announce funding and other news separately. A cadence of announcements leading up to a funding round can help close financing, with investors seeing growth.
That doesn’t mean a funding announcement isn’t a good place to infuse some of your most important key messages. Linking back to recent announcements in a funding release paints an overall picture, but doesn’t bury the big news, which is investors believe in what your company is promising.
Tip #3: Prepare to answer common press questions.
Although every funding announcement has its own unique elements, there are some things the media always wants to know—regardless of the company or the round. When it comes to making a funding announcement, here are some common press questions you should be ready to answer:
- How much did your company raise?
- What stage of funding is this?
- Who has invested in this company previously?
- How much has your company raised to date?
- Who participated in the round?
- Who led the round?
- What will you use the funds for?
- Will you be hiring? (This one’s especially important for local contacts.)
- Why is this important? What does it mean for the industry at large?
These questions can also help inform direction for a press release. Although it’s not always possible to include answers to every question in the press release, members of the media will appreciate the information you are able to include.
Tip #4: Include quotes in the press release.
Outside of the basics, also look to include meaningful quotes that help to advance the conversation in your funding press release. A quote from the CEO and/or founder is a must, along with a few choice words from your lead investor.
If possible, I always like to include a quote from a customer. This gives your product or service market validation—without the release ending up sounding like a sales pitch. Plus, it’s a good time to show off a big-name customer, if you have one.
Tip #5: Consider PR wire services thoughtfully.
Paying a PR wire service (think Business Wire or PRWeb) to distribute your press release will index it and give your company search results on Google. That also creates a historical timeline of company announcements (which looks great to potential later-round investors).
On the other hand, wire services certainly aren’t necessary to garner media coverage. Since journalists don’t rely on wires for stories, a well-written, well-targeted pitch will likely get you further than a newswire. It comes down to budget, really. If you have between $500 and $1,000 to spend, a newswire posting might be a good use of your PR budget. Your choice.
A lot goes into making a funding announcement successful. If it all sounds too daunting, ask for help. Your investors might have PR leads that can help in amplifying the news. And if you don’t already have a tech PR firm, contact one like BLASTmedia who is well-versed in this sort of thing.