Funding News 101: Double down on your business story.

Oct 26, 2021 Ed Harrison

It’s not all about record-breaking IPOs and SPACs. We’re still seeing a wave of mile-high funding rounds. Plus the media environment is getting more competitive. This has an immediate effect on tech PR strategies

So, your company raised a round and is ready tell the world about it—now what?

Build in planning + strategy time

Bring in your communications team early. The more time we have to think, develop assets, strategize and prepare, the better the outcome. It’s okay to move quickly—that’s your competitive advantage to disrupt a market or take on larger companies who move more slowly—just make sure to balance speed with substance

Double down on the business story

What’s interesting besides your latest funding round? With more VCs and the flow of funding like never before, you need to tell a bigger story about who you are, what you’re doing differently and why it’s solving an existing problem. Do you have a unique founding story? Or an anecdote that would give people an inside look at your company culture? If not, tie your company’s momentum to a real-life issue that is already getting substantial media coverage. Reporters want stories with a human and relatable hook. 

Drop the tech particulars

A lot of B2B tech is the backend plumbing that delights us with two-day shipping, immediate money transfers and endless content for binge-watching. But now, more than ever, the media is less interested in what a technology does versus what it enables. How does your company’s tech impact its customers’ bottom lines? Lead with that. 

Wrap in data (if you can)

Share statistics to support the business story such as number of users or downloads. Most reporters will be happy to hear about some combination of revenue range, percentage of revenue growth, number of customer or partner logos, growing average recurring revenue, or the like to effectively communicate that there’s a successful business behind your technology. 

Prep an answer to the valuation question

Confirm that the C-suite, finance and marketing teams are all in agreement on what you’re planning to disclose. As a private company the choice is entirely yours; just make sure whatever you say is accurate and consistent. 

Beware of the competition

Journalists are approaching funding news with more skepticism and selectivity than ever. There’s simply not enough of them to cover every round raised even if it’s a cool company. ICYMI: The U.S. venture capital community poured over $130 billion into startups in 2020, a 14% increase from 2019. Breaking through in a sea of $100M+ funding rounds is difficult. 

CREATE A MEDIA STRATEGY

Contact the media as far in advance as possible, as more runway allows flexibility on both sides. There are two main approaches: an exclusive strategy and a wide embargoed strategy.

  • Exclusive strategy: This is when you give one reporter advance and exclusive access to the news, so they and only they can break the story of the funding round. Once the exclusive story goes live and the embargo lifts, you can conduct day-of outreach with the goal of getting more reporters to write. We almost always recommend this approach and are seeing this approach work better in the current media landscape due to the time restraints reporters feel and their need to be selective with stories. Pro tip: Bake in a few weeks (usually around three) to place the story. 

  • Wide embargoed strategy: This is when you pitch multiple reporters in advance of the news going live, asking them to agree not to write until a specified date and time. We only recommend this approach if: you are a later-stage company with a strong, established brand; if the funding around is massive and in a hot industry that will attract wide interest; or if you are more focused on SEO and widespread visibility vs. in-depth coverage. Pro tip: It’s harder to get top-tier business coverage when you go wide, but you have a better shot at being included in the VC newsletters and smaller tech pubs. 

For more information about our PR approach, sign up for our newsletter or contact our team at workwithus@inkhouse.com

Topics: Media Relations, Public Relations, Growth, funding news, company milestones
Ed Harrison

Ed Harrison helps to lead business development and operations for Inkhouse’s Boston headquarters while driving strategy and providing tactical support for many of the firm’s technology clients.

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