We’ve talked about Seed funding milestones and shared toolkits for raising a Seed round, so now it’s time to debate announcing your successful Seed funding raise!
Some founders can hardly wait to announce their startup’s funding. Others place public relations on the underside of their priority list, never to be returned to again. The most effective founders fall somewhere in the center, wielding the ability of PR with intentionality, viewing it as a way to attain their business objectives.
This comprehensive guide will assist you to evaluate if, when, and how one can share your startup’s Seed round funding news.
- Your Seed round funding announcement is an incredible opportunity for high-priority audiences—investors, customers, talent, and advisors—to see your organization validated.
- Before you capture the chance, consider in case your startup is prepared for press via our pre-press checklist that features: Nurturing press relationships before you announce, updating your careers page, establishing lead nurturing tactics, nailing your value proposition, and more.
- Determine if a PR agency, freelancer, or in-house job makes probably the most sense to administer the strategy of acquiring press coverage, scheduling interviews, and tracking progress.
Why Your Startup’s Seed Stage Funding Announcement Matters
For startups, PR could be a cost-effective and influential tool for attracting customers, talent, partners, advisors, and investors. Each of those audiences will inspect your online presence as they evaluate their interest in associating along with your startup.
Underscore VC Marketing Director, Devin Nash, puts it simply: “On the earliest stages of a startup your highest priority audiences will inspect your digital fingerprint, wanting to see that respected, influential people, or outlets, have validated the standard of what you are promoting.”
When done right early, PR can have compounding effects. “Consider it like a flywheel. Once you begin getting attention, the more attention accrues to you. There may be a reputation for this phenomenon: preferential attachment,” says Jenna Birch, VP of Narrative & Communications at NFX.
Within the lifetime of an early stage startup there are a limited variety of newsworthy events, but getting VC funding is a validating milestone that you could leverage to fire up early attention, even when that spotlight doesn’t lead to a proper press piece.
As a startup scales beyond Series Seed, and newsworthy events increase, it’s clever to separate funding news from product news. This provides your product a likelihood to face by itself, and reduces the likelihood that your product’s perceived value might be tied to the scale of your funding round.
Why You Might Not Wish to Announce Your Early-Stage Funding
Often, announcing your funding is a worthwhile effort. Nonetheless, there are exceptions.
Former TechCrunch Journalist and SignalFire Enterprise Partner Josh Constine has previously identified that “not all press is nice press. So consider your announcement and its timing fastidiously.” He has cautioned founders to “consider that your press could distract from constructing, expose trade secrets, or get you positive exposure too early before you’re able to scale up or triage inbound customers.”
Like most things in life, timing is every thing. “Some founders make the error of not being prepared for the inbound opportunities their announcement could generate,” says Devin Nash. “Stirring up attention is barely meaningful if you happen to’re capable of harness the energy of it to drive business outcomes.”
Is Your Startup Ready For Press? 7 Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Announcing Your Seed Round
It’s the founder’s decision if and when to announce the funding. Avoid creating an arbitrary deadline by evaluating whether your startup is prepared for press; listed here are 7 considerations to take into accout:
1. Have you ever nurtured relationships with the press?
While you’re raising enterprise capital, warm introductions, and pre-established relationships are critical. The identical is true of attracting press coverage. Alex Wilhelm, Editor in Chief at TechCrunch, has an inbox that’s “chock-full of notes from interesting founders and investors sharing upcoming early-stage rounds.” And the TechCrunch team will only get to jot down about a couple of each week.
Given the quantity of inbound communications reporters receive, being a recognizable name of their inbox increases the likelihood your email is opened, and skim.
To make your name recognizable, you need to construct rapport with those you’ll someday seek coverage from. Construct an inventory of reporters in your organization’s space, read their work, come to grasp their writing beat, meaningfully engage with them on social media, and find opportunities to fulfill them face-to-face over coffee or at an industry event.
“Relationship constructing is an artful dance, and selflessness is the best type of selfishness – providing real tangible selfless-value to a reporter in the shape of connections, suggestions, industry expertise, and opportunities can construct your relationship for when the time is true so that you can someday make an ask: cover your corporations news,” says Devin Nash. She adds, “be thoughtful, no one likes a stage-five clinger.”
2. Is your startup ready to simply accept and nurture customer leads?
No matter whether a communication is directed at prospective customers, assume they’ll read it, and thoroughly evaluate how it would land with that audience. You’ll profit from evaluating your lead capture and lead nurturing tactics prematurely of publishing. Listed here are five questions to contemplate:
- Do your materials clearly articulate if/when your product or beta might be available?
- Is it evident how prospective partners or customers can get in contact?
- Have you ever secured your social handles and polished up your social presence?
- Are mechanisms in place to capture leads, for instance, on your organization’s website?
- Have lead nurturing tactics been established and assigned to the team?
3. Are open roles posted to your careers page?
Funding announcements present a novel opportunity to draw talent to open roles. When you’re planning on hiring, make that clear. Call out the areas of the business you’ll be hiring for and link to your organization’s fleshed-out careers page.
Startup Secret: Rigorously consider your job descriptions, hiring principles, and candidate interview process. Learn more about how one can hire A+ talent to your startup here.
4. Is a plan in place to nurture prospective investors?
Prospective investors will read your funding announcement. So, while it’s vital to be thoughtful about what they’ll take away out of your coverage, it’s equally vital to have a plan in place to nurture investors which may then reach out to you.
Learn more about how one can effectively manage inbound interest here.
Startup Secret: Before you start authoring a release, it will possibly be helpful to talk to your existing investors about what messaging points you should nail to draw follow-on investors.
5. Do you understand your startup’s value proposition backward and forwards?
In case your startup is on the Seed stage, it’s possible that you just’re still finding product-market fit. That said, before searching for press, get clear in your positioning statement. Here is a straightforward framework from the First Round Review:
For (goal customer) who (statement of need or opportunity), (Product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key profit). Unlike (competing alternative) (Product name)(statement of primary differentiation).
“Don’t make reporters – or anyone – work to grasp what you are promoting,” says Kerry Bennett, Marketing Partner at Upfront. “Perfect your ‘TikTok pitch,’” meaning “it’s not only an elevator pitch; It’s also compelling, and interests people in what you’re constructing.” Kerry shares more here.
6. Have you ever thought of your Form D filing?
In compliance with SEC regulations, most US-based startups are required to file a Form D inside 15 days of closing a financing round. This filing will put your funding information in the general public domain and journalists are known to scan for Form D filings here, meaning your news could get picked up before you’re ready.
“A widely known later-stage company is more prone to get lifted from the Form D,” says Jenna. For that reason, those raising a Series B+ typically work to announce their funding concurrently filing. “Earlier stage corporations often have more flexibility.”
Discussing your startup’s Form D filing along with your legal counsel prematurely of your round closing is suggested. In some instances, your legal counsel can work with you to time the filing out in a way that’s more favorable to your communications timeline.
7. Are you ready to place in the hassle?
Because the length of this guide might suggest, so much goes into public relations. Preparing for attention, securing attention, amplifying attention, and capitalizing on attention are each a high-effort process. Allocate time and resources accordingly. A well-done funding announcement typically takes three months of preparation.
Should You Hire a PR Expert?
“Should I hire a PR agency?” is a typical query amongst early-stage founders. And the reply is, it depends. There are generally three options to contemplate regarding executing PR:
- Hire a PR agency – 💰💰💰
- Hire a PR freelancer – 💰💰
- Do your PR in-house on your personal – 💰
Below is a breakdown of every option. Before you concentrate on any of them, you need to ask your investors in the event that they have PR support services for his or her portfolio corporations. When you’ve raised capital from a longtime enterprise capital firm, there may be a superb likelihood they’ve a communication skilled on staff, or have developed strong relationships with service providers that they may subsidize the associated fee of.
“If an organization only has a funding announcement to place out, and no need for more imminent PR beyond that, then I’d be inclined to advise the founders to heavily lean on their investor’s services,” says Jenna. “As a bonus, they already know your organization well and don’t need the ramp-up period a freelancer or agency would wish to perform effectively.”
Hiring a PR Agency – 💰💰💰
An excellent PR agency can cost you somewhere within the range of $10,000-25,000 a month. And, the consensus is, you get what you pay for, so that you don’t want to scrimp out. Most firms require a minimum retainer, so depending in your operating budget, options could also be limited.
If what you are promoting is one which relies heavily on consumer attention and trust to drive growth, a PR agency could also be the fitting investment. Moreover, some businesses decide to drown out the competition early with an aggressive PR strategy. The challenge then becomes finding the fitting one to your company’s unique set of needs. It’s vital to your PR partner to have expertise in your industry or market.
When you determine to speculate in a PR agency, listed here are six steps to finding, vetting, and choosing the fitting PR or marketing agency.
Startup Secret: When you hire a PR agency, you need to respectfully ask that they cc you on all press outreach in your behalf, suggesting that the reporter “reach out to you in the event that they have any questions for the corporate.” It’s a way for you to assemble media contacts and construct your personal relationships with the fitting outlets. They could not conform to this, but there is no such thing as a harm in asking.
Hiring a PR Freelancer – 💰💰
A PR freelancer could be a nice “goldilocks” option – it’s not too expensive and it’s not too time intensive for you or your small team. Freelancers will often do one-off projects and might scale up or right down to meet your organization’s needs with a bit more ease. Moreover, freelancers are sometimes very well-seasoned PR experts; thus their ability to interrupt out on their very own. Finding the fitting freelancer with expertise that aligns along with your needs may be difficult, but they’re on the market and fellow founders, or your investors, can often make great recommendations.
Do Your PR In-House – 💰
For early-stage enterprise corporations, DIY PR is a workable option if you happen to can meaningfully prioritize it and staff it. Listed here are two questions you’ll want the reply to be “yes” to before you commit to doing it yourself:
- Does a member of your team have a public relations and communications skill set? Or is there a member of your team that could be a strong strategic author?
- Will the person tasked with this work have the option to meaningfully allocate time to this ongoing project?
Define The Goals of Your Seed Round Announcement
No matter how you intend to resource your funding announcement, you’ll have to define the goals. Only you as a founder can answer how this announcement should advance your larger business objectives.
That said, there are a couple of common goals to give attention to and consider. The goals may differ depending on your organization and what you’re most focused on, but ultimately it’s possible you’ll wish to aim to supply coverage for all of those goals:
- Promoting your employer brand for future hiring
- If that is one among your goals, be certain that your careers page is able to go.
- Driving customer awareness and generating leads
- If that is one among your goals, announce when your lead nurturing campaign is prepared!
- Creating investor interest for later rounds of funding
- If that is one among your goals, be clear in your funding strategy so that you’re prepared for any investor inbound post-announcement.
Rating your audiences by priority, after which rating crucial messages for every audience to remove, can assist you to put a finer point on the goal of your communication and messaging hierarchy. When you’re crystal clear on the goals of your funding announcement, you need to share the goals with all parties involved.
Startup Secret: On the very top of your funding announcement draft, clearly outline the goals of the announcement for straightforward referencing.
Craft Your Story & Your Creative Assets
When you’ve decided to do your PR in-house, what follows is an overview of how one can go about it. When you’ve hired a PR agency or freelancer, they’ll support the execution of what follows next on this guide. In turn, consider this read a primer that can prepare your mind and will let you more meaningfully collaborate with, and evaluate, your PR partner.
Nail your narrative
Opinions vary on whether to creator a press release, founder blog post, or create another artifact. However it is universally accepted that, no matter what you create to distribute, you should nail your narrative. Funding alone just isn’t newsworthy (unless you’ve raised an astronomical amount), so you might have to be a compelling storyteller.
Former journalist and current Director of Brand & Marketing at Primary, Katheryn Thayer, says “the formula for a superb story is: relevant + recognizable + unexpected + enticing. You would like to align with wider trends, name-drop any name-brand associations, share an insight you might have proprietary access to, and, most elusively, frame it in a way people will wish to hear about and connect with.”
“Be as honest with yourself as you possibly can be,” says Katheryn. In any case, as a founder that’s dedicated your life to constructing this company, you inherently find the work you’re doing to be interesting. For that reason, it will possibly be helpful to workshop your narrative, and key messages, with colleagues and friends who may be objective in regards to the level of interest in each narrative idea. In any case, you don’t wish to burn your social capital by pitching something that isn’t newsworthy to a reporter.
Whether you select to jot down a blog post or create a press release, just ensure that you view your process as a tool to craft your narrative and get team members and investors on the identical page. The ultimate output must be a robust foundation that allows you to deliver a wonderful funding announcement.
Funding Announcement Ingredients:
- What are you announcing?
- Why is it vital for existing or recent audiences and the industry?
- Top 1-3 messages you ought to convey
- What pain are you helping to unravel and the way?
- What are the advantages to your audience? Why should they care?
- Why is that this news unique or unexpected?
- Evidence: Research, metrics, or proof points that support your claims
- Market trend context – Is your news relevant to a bigger trend?
- Why are you and your Co-founder uniquely qualified to unravel this problem?
- What notable people or corporations are involved?
- Founder or Executive quote
- Lead investors quote
- Customer quote
- Zero buzzwords or industry jargon
Develop creative assets that set your story apart
Visuals are increasingly playing a job in driving clicks and engagement. Spend money on creating great visuals that grab a reader’s attention and produce to life your value proposition. When you’re including a founding team photo, it’s price hiring a photographer to take well-lit, high-resolution, landscape (not portrait) headshots, and group shot images. Some members of the press are also excited to receive skilled illustrations or a sophisticated animated GIF showing your product. Skip the product screen grabs.
Wealthy, colourful media is significant. Remember, the goal is to your piece to face out from the lots of of others published that day.
Determine Who To Pitch & Your Good, Higher, Best Outcomes
A growing variety of founders are pursuing an ever-smaller pool of journalists in hopes of earning coverage for his or her startups. Odds aren’t in your favor. That’s why it’s essential to nail your narrative and be thoughtful about your press outreach strategy. “Think through your good, higher, best outcomes,” says Devin. “With those outcomes in mind, you possibly can create a tiered motion plan for outreach.” For instance:
Best: A full write-up in a top tier publication, mentions in distinguished newsletters, and coverage within the fundamental industry-specific publication.
Higher: A full write-up in a tier two publication, mentions in distinguished newsletters, and coverage within the fundamental industry-specific publication.
Good: Mentions in distinguished newsletters, and coverage within the fundamental industry-specific publications.
Only you possibly can define what your “best” end result looks like, based on the newsworthiness of your narrative, but once “best” is defined you possibly can plot your strategy for trying to attain it. Word of recommendation: one of the best reach goals are achievable. In turn, it’s often clever to not pitch the Wall Street Journal until your Series C or D round. Publications that cover early stage startups rounds include TechCrunch, Crunchbase News, and VentureBeat.
As a founder, you understand all about product-market-fit, so that you likely understand the sentiment behind “journalist-story-fit.” Reporters cover specific topics and industries, and you ought to pitch by expertise. Don’t waste your time pitching journalists who’re unlikely to bite because their “beat” doesn’t align along with your news.
Startup Secret: When targeting a reporter, consider in the event that they might provide you with additional reach through their very own channels. Some reporters tweet and promote all of their articles, while others don’t. Ideally, you would like someone who will amplify the article alongside you.
A Transient Note on Paywalls
Most outlets have a minimum of some content behind a paywall. Outlets like Forbes are almost entirely behind a paywall, whereas TechCrunch remains to be mostly free, with select articles behind the TechCrunch+ paywall. It’s price searching for non-paywalled press, nevertheless it’s also more competitive to secure.
When & Easy methods to Pitch Reporters
Most reporters prefer to be pitched via email. When you’re doing this right, you’ve thoughtfully researched who you’re pitching and uncovered their preferences. Many members of the press are upfront about their preferences, sharing them of their Twitter bio, personal blog, or via interviews they’ve been a component of. Do your homework.
Then, “starting at the highest of your reporter wishlist, send a note roughly every other day, ensuring you don’t double dip at anybody publication and being sure to honor commitments you make to the reporter,” says Katheryn.
The Art of The Email – Press Outreach Email Template
Start along with your subject line. “The most effective subject lines make your news and your timeline clear, if you might have a tough deadline,” says Devin. “The perfect subject lines are strong enough to serve because the headline for the article itself. But don’t get too cute or clever with it.” Your goal is to capture attention and create understanding.
“At all times reverse engineer the headlines and ledes of your favorite writers,” says TechCrunch Senior Reporter, Natasha Mascarenhas. A lede is the primary sentence or opening paragraph of a news story that immediately grabs the reader’s attention.
For the body of your email, impactful brevity is the secret. “Take into consideration this like a sales email drip: Shorter is healthier; your goal is basically simply to get on a call,” says Katheryn. In a 2020 survey of journalists, 92% of journalists said the best pitch length was capped at 2-3 paragraphs.
Paragraph One: Sentence one is a chance to introduce yourself and your organization. And sentence two is where you share your news and your timeline.
Paragraph Two: That is the meat and potatoes. Some write this as bullet points, while others write it as a robust short paragraph. No matter which you select, this section should pack a punch, sharing why the work you’re doing matters and is connected to a bigger trend (your narrative) and proof points corresponding to partners, investors, distinguished advisors, awards, or customers you’ve secured. You’re answering the query: Why should this matter to this publication’s readers?
Closing sentence: Close with an issue, “would you prefer to jump on a call?” For Jenna at NFX this can be a non-negotiable. “I cannot stress this enough. It’s best to all the time ask for an motion item as you close up out an email – often a phone call or zoom. It must be the very last sentence.”
Who should send the e-mail? Reporters love to listen to from the founder, or one among the co-founders, themselves. When you know of somebody with a really strong connection to your goal reporter, in that case it could make more sense to have them reach out in your behalf with you copied.
It’s vital to notice that each email you send must be customized to the reporter you’re reaching out to. It must be clear that you just’ve read their stories, understand their beat, and think this story is a fit for them specifically.
Example Pitch Email:
[Personal connection or introduction: It was awesome chatting with you last month at X event.] As a refresher, I’m Noelle the founding father of [awesome company], [short form positioning statement: the borderless super wallet helping people in emerging markets fight the inflation rates that are eroding their savings]. Having just [ actions: rapidly raised an oversubscribed $11M Seed round co-led by Tiger Global and Underscore VC], we’re gearing as much as announce our funding and [news sweetener: new name brand partners] early next month.
I’ve been reading your great coverage of the rise of inflation, and imagine your readers would have an interest to learn that [awesome company] is developing products to assist people in emerging markets sidestep inflation. Through the usage of [impressive technology], [awesome company] helps customers from anywhere on the earth access dollars with none fees and earn an 8% yield. Hailing from [country] – which recently needed to hike its minimum wage by a whopping 100% to ease the impact of its ongoing inflation crises – my co-founders and I actually have lived through the frustration of sky high inflation and have global experience constructing software products for lots of of hundreds of thousands of users at [impressive roster of companies]. Our beta has organically attracted 20,000 users, and our early traction has earned us [award] and an angle investment from [well-known person].
I think [publication] readers might be serious about learning more, and I’m completely happy to share a press release with you – would you prefer to jump on a call?
Timing Your Communications
Like so many things in life, timing is every thing. In a 2020 survey for journalists, 20% indicated that they like pitches to are available on Monday, and 64% said they preferred morning pitches. These are stats to assist guide your outreach strategy, but every reporter has different preferences.
One general rule of thumb is to supply ample lead time and, when possible, be flexible. “Your probabilities of coverage in your highest priority outlet improve when you possibly can work on the reporter’s timeline. It would be the case that they genuinely wish to cover your story but won’t have the option to get to it for several weeks,” says Devin.
What if the reporter doesn’t respond?
Follow up and don’t take it personally. Members of the press have unreasonably full inboxes, and it will be unimaginable for them to reply to every email. 51% of journalists surveyed thought that 3-7 days was the sweet spot to attend on following up with an email. It’s OK to follow up with a nudge 2 days later, and a third and final nudge 2 days following that. When you don’t hear back, it’s likely time to maneuver on to your next best goal.
“When you’re pitching and pitching with none traction, consider moving back your launch date a pair weeks,” says Katheryn. “If that backup date still doesn’t get any bites, I’d recommend publishing your personal story on your organization blog, making a LinkedIn article, or seeing if an investor would write a post about you. Even if you happen to do get a press placement, these are great things to have able to go and post shortly after the article goes live.”
Take into consideration using embargos and exclusives as tools. But first, what the heck is an embargo or an exclusive?
What’s an Embargo? And will you might have one?
An embargo is a date and time restriction on the discharge of knowledge to the general public. Embargoes are used to offer reporters advance notice, allowing them time to organize their coverage so it will possibly go live the moment the announcement is made. This could ensure accuracy of knowledge, and provides corporations time to organize for publicity.
When you’re circulating a press release to pick reporters searching for coverage on a selected timeline, you possibly can place an embargo date and time at the highest of your release. When a reporter agrees to your embargo, they’re committing to not publishing your news until after the embargo has been lifted; in other words, it’s past the date and time agreed to.
Note the usage of the word “agree” here. A reporter must conform to your embargo. You’ll be able to’t simply assert that something you’ve shared is under embargo. “This bit is super vital and infrequently neglected within the order of operations,” says Lindsay McCallum, Director of Marketing & Communications at Headline. “When you’re pitching your announcement and wish to be certain that the news breaks on a selected date, ask the reporter in the event that they conform to the embargo before giving all of them the small print or sitting for an interview.”
Startup Secret: Most embargos end on Tuesday morning. So unless your announcement goes to be the big news of the day, you’re going to get crushed on Tuesday. In turn, it’s possible you’ll be higher suited to select Monday, Wednesday, and even Thursday. Regarding the time on the embargo, most put 8:00am ET, so selecting 8:15 or 8:45 might help your article sit closer to the highest of an internet site’s article list for longer.
For an early-stage funding announcement, an embargo will not be crucial and will complicate your outreach. “Don’t be overly precious about withholding information until a reporter agrees to an embargo,” says Katheryn. “That’s my personal pet peeve. I see PR professionals do that so much and don’t think it matters. It just makes you harder to correspond with.”
What’s an Exclusive? And do you have to arrange an exclusive?
While you offer a media outlet an “exclusive” you’re offering them exclusive rights to your news so that they can break it first to their audience. Reporters increasingly care deeply about exclusives.
“More continuously reporters are telling me that their publication is prioritizing exclusives and scoops. In a crowded media landscape, they wish to be breaking news first and generating the clicks that come together with that,” says Devin. “If 5 outlets are publishing the identical news, they’re getting split attention – split clicks.” For that reason, offering an exclusive is a typical strategy for securing coverage of a Seed stage announcement.
Consider offering an exclusive when:
- You suspect it would increase your probabilities of securing coverage in your most sought-after publication.
- You have got an advanced, or sensitive, story to share, and the last word press piece would profit from the greater lead time and deeper reporting.
“Even when you might have an exclusive, you possibly can still pitch the news out to others once the exclusive story is live,” says Lindsay.
Should You Put Your News Across “The Wire”
The short answer is: No. On the early-stage, it’s an unnecessary cost that can yield little or no ROI. When you are going to post to PR newswire or an identical platform, make it the very last item you do. “While you put your news on the wire, you’re signaling to journalists that your announcement is old news,” says Devin. “Every human on the planet has access to that information now, so a reporter is not any longer incentivized to cover it.”
“Unless the corporate has a worldwide userbase or global ambitions, i dont think a wire really is smart so long as they’ve a method in place to pitch the funding news out broadly on announcement day. Wires may be helpful for reaching corner of the world you would possibly not otherwise reach, but are so costly it rarely results in good ROI,” says Lindsay.
Nailing Your Press Interview
It’s an exciting moment when your press outreach leads to an interview. Nonetheless, remember that your interview doesn’t guarantee a story. You’ve still got to earn interest in your one-on-one interview with the reporter. Note that one-on-one is the preference of most, it not all, reporters.
Along with your interview scheduled, it’s time to focus your energy on interview preparations. Taking a proper media training class is extremely encouraged, but listed here are the cliff notes:
Write The Billboard
A media interview is a chance so that you can creator a billboard to your company – what do you would like it to say? While an interview is a two-way exchange, you should be crystal clear on your required output. Work to satisfy the journalistic needs of the person interviewing you, but never lose sight of the billboard message. Let it ground you.
You’ve written the headline with the billboard exercise, and now it’s time to nail down the three critical supporting points. What are the three stuff you want the eventual reader/watcher to remove? List them. Edit them to sound punchy. Get them organized. Double-check them. Keep them with you.
Crash Course: Media Training
There are some journalistic terms that it’s vital to grasp before you speak with the press. Below are some phrases that determine the guardrails of your conversations and what out of your conversations can and can’t be made public.
The differences between speaking off the record, on background, or not for attribution are what you and the reporter to whom you’re speaking collectively agree they’re. Agreement is required. Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a official journalistic body that enforces this code of honor. In turn, assume that your words might be printed and attributed to you.
“On The Record”
When speaking “on the record,” every thing you say may be reported and attributed to you. It’s a best practice to assume every thing you say is on the record.
“Off The Record”
When speaking “off the record,” the data provided, in theory, just isn’t for publication and just isn’t even to be recorded.
“Not For Attribution”
When speaking “not for attribution,” your words may be quoted, but not attributed to you. For instance: “a source near the matter said ‘the corporate was underwater financially.’”
Definitions of “on background” vary. Some journalists imagine it to be similar to “not for attribution,” while others imagine that information given “on background” can only be paraphrased, however the source can’t be named or quoted directly.
When you end up in a situation where you don’t recall the meaning of those terms, don’t sweat it. Jenna at NFX reminds us that “it’s all the time acceptable to elucidate – in plain language – the terms of the interview that you just’d prefer to abide by.
Be Prepared to Answer These Questions
To extend the effectiveness of your preparations, do several mock interviews with a colleague or friend. Encourage them to assist you to weed out buzzwords out of your responses, and flag whenever you’re response to an issue, isn’t punchy or is simply too long-winded. Regardless of how seasoned you’re, or how much you understand your industry/product/company, it’s essential to practice. On the very least, you’ll come off more polished.
Listed here are some inquiries to be able to answer. (P.S. There are a lot of of the identical questions a prospective investor will ask you):
- Why is that this the issue you’re dedicating your life to solving?
- Why are you and your team uniquely qualified to unravel it?
- How did you come up along with your solution? Where did you’re taking inspiration from?
- How does your solving this problem make the world higher?
- How does your organization make cash now and the way will it achieve this in the long run?
- Who’re your investors and the way will their experience assist you to?
- How do you grow sustainably?
- Why do people stop using your product? What are your retention and churn?
- Who’re your competitors? (Don’t attempt to dodge this one. Everyone has competitors.)
- Why will your organization win out over your competitors?
- Why couldn’t an enormous player just shift into this space?
- What keeps you up at night? What are your plans to alleviate those concerns? (Tell them something specific to what you are promoting and the way you intend to unravel it. Hiring and raising money are cop-out answers.)
- What are the adjoining markets?
- What are your next steps? You only raised some money, how are you going to spend it?
“Whatever happens, don’t say this”
Just as vital as identifying what you do wish to say is identifying what you don’t wish to say. Discover where your guardrails are and what you’ll need to avoid. This manner you possibly can go into an interaction with a robust mental framework around what you do and don’t need to discuss and won’t have any regrets about sharing something you want you hadn’t.
Know Your Bridging Phrases
Sometimes an interviewer might throw a curve ball at you, but don’t worry, you’re prepared, since you’re about to read several helpful bridging phrases. A bridging phrase helps you get back to the talking points you care about. Examples include: “That’s an interesting commentary, but more importantly…” or “I might not say that, but what I might say is…” Listed here are another examples:
- Take into accout that…
- Let me let you know what we’ve been seeing…
- I’m unsure that’s the case…
- The thing we’re specializing in most is…
- Great query, but what is significant to grasp is…
- I’m not an X expert, but what I do know is…
Yes, say “thanks.” But in addition follow up with anything you owe the reporter: stats, images, clarifications. Anything you didn’t immediately know the reply to should receive an “I’ll confirm and follow up” – never guess. And don’t forget to pay attention to those items! “It seems obvious,” says Lindsay, “but many forget in the warmth of the moment to take notes as a reminder for anything you promised to follow up on!” Your follow-up can also be an ideal time to verify when the piece will run.
Amplify Your Press
So that you’ve written your press release, pitched to reporters, scored an interview, and it’s about to be the large day! Your news is about it hit the general public, but you aren’t done. In truth, that is when it’s critical to double down in your planning efforts and create rolling thunder by leveraging the reach of your broader network. Listed here are some things to contemplate:
Low-Hanging Fruit Publications
Do you might have an inventory of medium and lower-priority reporters you need to share your news with right after it hits? This might create some additional smaller stories and buzz. Don’t discount industry trade publications; Despite not having national reach, they sometimes reach the fitting audience.
Do you might have an inventory of newsletters you have to be reaching out to with the link to your news once it’s live? That is an ideal option to get within the inboxes of your local ecosystem.
Tap Into The Reach of Your Team, Advisors, VCs, Angel Investors, Family, and Friends
Despite being an early stage startup, you’ve likely developed a robust network of supporters and stakeholders that helped you successfully raise a Seed round, and it’s time to ask them for a favor: Share your news!
“Note investors who’ve backed you or communities you’re a component of: They’re prone to be enthusiastic about amplifying your story. A majority of these cheerleaders are so, so vital to your overall distribution plans, whether you get the story placed or find yourself writing it yourself,” says Katheryn.
Align along with your existing and recent investors 3 weeks out. Organising a coordinated game plan along with your investors is critical to your funding announcement to go easily. Remember, your investors likely have social media reach, a widely distributed newsletter, and a rolodex of media connections to tap into.
Startup Secret: Develop a one-page “media kit” outlining when and the way you desire to your prolonged network to share your news. The more specific you possibly can be, the higher. Include the link you would like social media posts to direct to and supply some sample language and hashtags for those promoting your news to construct off.
Don’t overlook your personal social media. Perhaps you haven’t built up a robust following yet on social media, but that’s OK – that is a chance. You’ll want to be posting things that your employees and investors would get excited to re-post – this could grow your following.
Speaking of your employees, your team is your secret weapon. Use worker engagement to create a private touch to promotion and create a “surround sound effect” on social feeds. Individual social accounts perform higher than branded social, especially on LinkedIn. Send an email blast to your team as soon because the news hits and ask that they post to their networks. The more specific you possibly can be around what you desire to them to say the higher – don’t assume it’s obvious.
Follow-Up To Create a 2nd Wave
Because the day and the week progresses, you possibly can collect press and influencer mentions right into a shared report. Send an update to your team, advisors, and investors towards the top of the day on day one, or on day two. Often, doing this creates a 2nd wave of posts and engagement because your report gives them more social media ammunition.
Remember: That is Hard Work. Don’t Get Discouraged.
There may be a reason PR agencies charge an arm and a leg; it’s exertions. Securing coverage can often feel like an uphill battle. But you’re a founder, so that you already know you possibly can do hard things!
In turn, don’t get discouraged. And take a look at to do not forget that your worst-case scenario isn’t a nasty one: You set out a blog post and leverage your network to amplify your news.
Along the best way, you’ll little doubt fine-tune your communication skills and create meaningful connections with reporters, and that’s exertions that’s price celebrating and may also set you up for fulfillment in your Series A funding announcement.