12.05.2019

Best Practices When Announcing Venture News

by Dan Capawana

Congratulations! You’ve secured a round of funding…or perhaps you’ve acquired a company…or have been acquired yourself. As a startup, any of these are not only a major milestone, but also an opportunity to increase media visibility and buzz. At Resound, we have announced over $500 million in funding rounds, and over $2 billion in acquisition and IPO news. Of course, not all announcements are created equal; here are our top tips to maximize this unique PR opportunity. 

Start Early. The more time you have to plan out your announcement, the better chance you’ll have of securing coverage. Getting your messaging right is necessary early on in the process. What are the key takeaways readers should have? What are the main messages you are trying to convey? How will this investment be used? Can you tie in with any broader industry themes or newsworthy trends? For instance, we recently coupled a milestone funding round for client Zenoti with a new client win with Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, extending the news by reinforcing additional company growth. 

Media research is also an essential part of the planning process. Your press list should include top media and newsletters focused on VC/funding news. Depending on the story, you may also target business, tech, and industry trade press. With Zenoti’s announcement, we contacted our usual VC and business media targets including PitchBook and Fortune, and amplified our reach with relevant trades for their core industry, such as American Spa and Massage Magazine

Pre-Pitch the News. Once your press release is ready, it’s important to reach out to individual reporters to tease the announcement and secure interest in advance. You can share the release under embargo with select media, and offer interviews or quotes with executives and investors. If there is one specific outlet that will best tell your customer’s story, there is the option of offering that publication an exclusive on the news, allowing them to be the first ones to break it. This can yield a more comprehensive piece with a higher profile media outlet, although it may mean less broad coverage of the news after it’s released. 

Prep Your Executives. As you begin to receive feedback from the journalists you’ve targeted, you may have the opportunity to connect them with your company executives for a deeper story. Preparing your spokespeople with a sample Q&A will make for a much smoother interview. Some of the first few questions we ask our clients is, “What numbers are you willing to share?” and “Are there any topics you’re not comfortable discussing?” We then work with them on bridging techniques to reinforce key messages and best address any questions they may not be able to answer. For instance, client Splashlight recently announced an acquisition but could not disclose the terms of the deal. By providing additional insights around the company’s future M&A strategy and the broader global impact of the deal, we were able to secure an exclusive New York Business Journal story. 

Set Your Release Up for Wire Distribution. On your announcement date, it’s a good idea to distribute the press release over the newswire. Commonly used wire services include PRNewswire, BusinessWire, and PRWeb, which offer a few different price points and packages. While corresponding directly with reporters is the most effective way to secure news stories around your funding announcement, the newswire creates a digital “footprint” of company milestones (funding, major customer wins, acquisitions, etc.) that can continue to be tracked via search as you grow. Putting an announcement on the newswire should be the last stage of the process, after you’ve pitched the media and secured interest and coverage.

To discuss how our team can make noise for your company’s latest funding round, send us a note at makesomenoise@resoundmarketing.com.