Securing investment is a massive milestone for startups and scaleups. And one that needs to be shared – it shows your customers, competitors and the wider market that you are a serious player.
With the explosion in UK tech investment over the past decade – an increase of nearly 20x in VC funding since 2011 – funding announcements have never been more important to establishing brand credibility, attracting talent, appealing to investors, and in driving new business.
But it has also upped the competition to secure those all-important inches. After all, “a $1 billion valuation isn’t what it used to be”. And this makes a good communications strategy around your funding announcement all the more important.
So how do you make sure that your funding round gets the attention it deserves? Follow these 10 steps:
What do you want to achieve?
The biggest trap that startups and scaleups fall into when launching into a funding announcement is not thinking about what they want the announcement to achieve. Sure, you want to get the great news out into the market with that coveted founder’s headshot on TechCrunch. But if that’s where your ambitions end, then you’re missing a trick!
Take advantage of this announcement to maximise awareness for your current business priorities. On a massive recruitment drive? Need to boost awareness of your new product? Developing a new sector-specific solution? Work out what you want the market to know about your business right now and build it into your story.
What’s the story?
A funding announcement is hard news, so you need to make sure that your press release includes all the information journalists will want and need for their story.
At an absolute minimum your release needs to address:
- Who are you – the company and founding team – and what do you do?
- Can you share how much was raised? Which investors and who led the round? Were they involved in any previous rounds?
- What do you plan to do with the investment – new hires, product development, international growth?
- What makes this investment significant? Category or market specific context helps a journalist understand the bigger story behind your news and its relevance to their audience. Is there someone or something involved that will create the news hook?
Consider the local spin
UK publications are inherently more interested in investment in British companies or that has been made by British investors. That’s not to say if you’re a US scaleup that the media won’t care (although it will certainly help if your existing comms programme has established UK media relationships ahead of time). But adding a local spin to the story will give the news greater relevance. Local performance figures, hiring targets, or initiatives that the investment will go towards will all help global brands cut through in the UK press.
Boost your credibility
Don’t make the media and their readers take your word for how great your business is and why it deserves this investment. Add third-party validation to your announcement with quotes from your investors or customers.
Get your timing right
Once the news is out, you’re not going to be able to get it back. So, make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before you go out to the media. Have you got the necessary approvals from your investors or quoted customers? Are your founders available that week to speak with media?
And think about the opportunities and implications about when you launch. Could you pitch the Sunday writers for a Monday launch? Is your embargo time too late for the morning broadcast slots or the Sifted newsletter? If you’re going to do it, plan it properly, and wait until you can do it well.
Where do you want your funding announcement covered? Yes, TechCrunch is a given. But consider who else you should be telling to help achieve those business priorities. Which vertical press are your customers reading? What publications are popular amongst your talent market? Will it be covered in the regions you plan to launch in?
Don’t rush it
It’s hard to secure coverage for old news. Give yourself – and your comms agency – enough time to make the announcement a success. You will need time in the run up to connect with the journalists you’ve built relationships with and get the founders on the phone with them to inform more, in-depth stories.
Shout it from the rooftops
Great communications never relies on one channel – so create multiple touchpoints where you can engage your target audiences with the news. Social media, blog content, and client emails should all (but not exclusively) make up any launch plan.
Arm your employees
Investment announcements aren’t just for external comms, so don’t forget about your employees. Make sure they understand what this means for the organisation and get them fired up for this next stage of growth. Then harness that excitement with dedicated social toolkits for employees so that they can promote the great news across their own networks.
Keep up the momentum
The funding announcement was a success. Now what? Capitalise on the brand awareness you’ve created and build momentum with a comms programme that supports your business priorities, whether that’s attracting talent, driving sales, or establishing category ownership.
Embarking on a funding round and looking for a partner to make it a success? Get in touch with us at [email protected]