Announcing a fundraising is a key moment for a startup. It drives attention from stakeholders, increases sales and builds the base of a reputation. So how to get it right? Here are 10 easy steps:
A fundraising process usually takes months. In order to be effective, its communication should take a few weeks, especially if you haven’t developed a strong relationship with key stakeholders yet.
- Coordinate the press announcement with information given to partners and clients
If you wish to communicate about your fundraising in a newsletter, plan to do so after you send the press release, a day after when possible. If you send it on the day of the press announcement, it will spoil the surprise for journalists.
- List your clients and define their habits
Understand what your clients read and what influences them is fundamental. If you target financial clients, it is important to get coverage in business press: dailies, weeklies and financial specialized press. Never underestimate the influence of startup press (Techcrunch, Maddyness, Frenchweb for example). Getting a good interview or a video in a specialized media can help you get attention of more influential media such as les Echos, le Figaro in France for example. This was the case for startups such as TextMaster or Cubyn where a video of their CEO or an exclusive with les Echos had an impact on other publications.
- List publications by priority (tier one, tier two) to better manage embargos and exclusives
A fundraising announcement is similar to fireworks. « Explosives » are lights you should place at the right place and at the right time. Never give information too early as you could spoil the surprise effect that is key to good media relations.
Create a domino effect by giving information to publications with wider audiences first. Influential articles will either be copied and pasted or they will have a teasing effect on other journalists.
Maintain a good relationship with the media – no need to spoil journalists with long lunch anymore or at least don’t expect them to write about your company because you invited them. Never give priority to the same publication each time. Try to alternate exclusivities between tier one media. Be very clear about the date and time of the embargo in your email and on the phone. It’s unusual for journalists not to respect embargos but it sometimes happens, so better to be safe. For embargos, give priority to journalists you have already worked with.
If your announcement is international, be careful not to mix time zones.
- Use each journalist’s preferred mode of communication
Some prefer to be contacted by phone, others via social media. Remembering the way a journalist likes to be reached will save you a lot of time (and hair!).
- Adapt the pitch angle to your target
Your communication tools usually include: a press release, a written and an oral pitch (similar to an elevator pitch). The press release remains the same for each media but the pitch will need to be adapted to each publication. Changing the first two paragraphs of your email could be a good way to tailor your message.
- Stay available and reactive
Only offer an interview with the CEO if he is available and reactive. Journalists have tight deadlines so it’s important to respond to their requests rapidly. If you are announcing a fundraising but can’t talk about the exact amount raised, find other angles that will interest your readers: the business model, competitors, industry challenges, etc.
- Quotes, editing and final touch
Some get confused between press relations and advertisement. Others think that the title and the messages in the press release will be copied in the printed article. Your message can be controlled but freedom of press still (luckily) exists.
If the relationship between the communicator and the journalist is strong, the message in the article will be very similar to the one you initially communicated. Be clear with journalists but also respectful of their space.
Do not underestimate the power of images. A single picture with a good story could get you coverage a lot more easily. Store images of your company, CEO, products ahead of time.
- Social media
What should you share and when? There are different answers but for a fundraising, feel free to be even more active online. Share your coverage on twitter, LinkedIn; feel free to like posts or retweets of your stakeholders on twitter. A fundraising and its coverage offer a wonderful way to thank and build conversations with your audience and future clients.
- Keep the contact for your next announcement
A fundraising is like a fishing line. It’s an opportunity to build relationship and business but only if you keep the cord tight. In other words, maintain the contact through social media and by reacting to journalists’ articles. The relationship you build with your audience should be a two-way communication. React to what they write, especially when it’s not about you.