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Five Key Elements of a Successful Funding Announcement

five key elements of a successful funding announcement

Congratulations – your startup has received a mega round of funding. You have just a few weeks until the announcement date and while the planning process will be fast and furious, the strategy must be buttoned up to ensure success. Like any corporate news, a successfully executed funding announcement will take thoughtful planning, a well-designed strategy and collaboration among many stakeholders.

With funding news making headlines every day at publications such as TechCrunch and Fortune Term Sheet, you may wonder how your startup can stand out. While every campaign will look a bit different, here are five key elements of a successful funding announcement.

  • Clear and concise talking points: Early on in the planning process, work with your PR team to develop talking points. Address topics such as investor participation, the company’s plans for using the funding and specific growth figures that can (or cannot) be shared publicly. Ensuring the team is on the same page about specific facts and key FAQs ahead of media outreach will set everyone up for success.

 

  • Collaboration with leadership: Aside from major personnel announcements or introducing a new product to market, funding is often a startup’s most important piece of news in a year. Engaging with leadership – including the CEO and founders, board members and perhaps the investors as well – and ensuring the key players are all involved in the planning process will help the announcement go off without a hitch. It’s also an opportunity to get the C-suite excited about their PR program, which will promote success for the team beyond the funding news campaign.

 

  • A targeted media list: While the importance of a media list is critical to any successful PR campaign, it’s worth reiterating that the success of the funding announcement relies on it. Keep the initial list of targets short and targeted to those who have a strong reputation for honoring embargoes. Aside from national business press, remember the importance of engaging local media as well – particularly if the company is in an emerging tech market outside of the Bay Area.

 

  • Employee communications: It’s the hard work of your employees that has contributed to this exciting moment for the company, so use it as a reason to celebrate. Ensure that employees are looped in on the announcement once it publishes, and share any news articles throughout the company to get everyone excited about the milestone.

 

  • Ongoing thought leadership: After the funding news has gone live, recognize that it’s just the beginning of an ongoing thought leadership campaign. Use the opportunity to engage with local media through in-person “meet and greets” over coffee, develop a platform for contributed articles and speaking opportunities, and seek out timely topics to reengage with business press who you spoke with through the funding outreach.

 

five key elements of a successful funding announcement

A funding announcement is an exciting opportunity to engage with national tech and business press (often for the first time), and begin carving a stake in the ground in the industry. The secret behind rapid growth of startups like AirbnbUber and Snapchat can be attributed to a special formula that includes strategic funding, an innovative product, consumer interest and of course, a great PR strategy.

AT&T and Herzog Join Forces on PSA

It seems an unlikely match. Werner Herzog, director of bizarre but awesome films and documentaries such as “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Grizzly Man”, has joined forces with AT&T to create a documentary on the devastating consequences of texting while driving. Sharing the stories of both victims and perpetrators of texting and driving, the documentary is meant to raise awareness about an issue that continues to impact lives in our technology-driven culture.

In the past, Herzog has been outspoken against product marketing in creative mediums, but explained to the AP that this was entirely different. “This has nothing to do with consumerism or being part of advertising products. This whole campaign is rather dissuading you from excessive use of a product. It’s a campaign. We’re not trying to sell anything to you. We’re not trying to sell a mobile phone to you. We’re trying to raise awareness.”

PSA or ad campaign?

But is it really possible for a company like AT&T to launch any campaign completely free from the ties of consumerism? I would argue that it’s not. They are a company and they sell things. While such a campaign deserves to be noticed and hopefully will have a positive effect on those who can’t put their phones down, anything that AT&T puts out into the world is building their brand and their emotional connection with current customers and would-be customers. That’s just the nature of branding and public relations. While the use of Herzog, a talented, famous and famously anti-marketing director, adds star power and credibility to the documentary, it doesn’t necessarily negate the company’s ultimate connection to the campaign. And why should it? There’s nothing wrong with a company doing something good and predominantly altruistic once in a while; AT&T and Herzog is a great PR move. Having nothing to do with consumerism may be stretch, but let’s hope this particular campaign has some positive impact.