Under the Chatham House rule, our chat will be kept to those involved, however the broad tactics on how to work with the media and what a PR strategy looks like when a company is aiming to raise funds, or has just closed, can be shared to help anyone considering their approach to these potentially media friendly moments.
Here are 4 themes that start-ups need to consider in their communications strategy to increase their chances of funding:
1. Establish your audience
Investing in a company was previously only for venture capitalists or private equity firms. As a result, media attention only made sense when directed to that audience. However, most startups will now take their first capital from angels, the crowd, or increasingly so, friends and family. Legaltech firm SeedLegals has identified that these “rounds” have risen by 26%.
A business must identify their target and cut their media cloth accordingly. Consumer-facing coverage in national newspapers is now equally impactful to raise awareness of an exciting business when compared to the business pages or financial publications.
Your community of users and customers is likely to be more valuable than the readers of more niche industry journals.
2. Varied voices and the cult of the founder
Naturally there is a lot of attention on a company’s founder but focusing too much on one person can limit the growth potential of a company. ‘No person is an island’ is as true in business as in life. The scalability of a singular soul will always be limited, so as your company grows and aims to be as externally appealing as possible, the more a firm can highlight its breadth of talent, the greater the appeal.
Using multiple individuals not only showcases your success at attracting top talent, instilling external credibility, but authentically allows the brand to engage with different topics.
By giving voices to other team members you will also find more hooks to subjects that can make your story more interesting to journalists.
3. The “So what?” theory of public relations
Questioning ‘what’ to PR is not specific to fundraising, but it’s essential that your comms plans add true value to any conversation. A simple test is so what? Ask yourself who would care about the story you want to tell. Even if it can get coverage, should it and how will it elevate your brand above where it is now?
Right now, there is more capital floating around the tech ecosystem than ever before. Yet there are also more companies looking to raise than ever before. PR must cut through the noise of your competitors to be heard. If you’re targeting a VC firm that prides itself on sustainability for example, if you choose to focus on other areas of your business, regardless how exciting they may be, you may struggle to hit the mark.
4. Maximise the impact
Building momentum from a standing start is one of the most difficult PR endeavours. Generating attention when no one knows your brand takes dedication and effort. My simplest suggestion is to plan where you want to be in six months and realistically work out what it’ll take to get you there.
Your strongest weapon to build trust will be highlighting why others have chosen to work, partner or join you. This works both to put your company in the investment shop window but also post-raise. A number of our clients have received their biggest and best offers after announcing their seed or series A.
Planning an effective comms plan to announce can be essential to future growth.
Thanks so much to Nick Braund, founder at Words + Pixels for writing this summary of the session for us.
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