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Journalists Pr Funding

How to get journalists talking about your funding announcement

I think it was Gandhi that once said “It is always a challenge to cut through the noise of funding announcements, due to the vast quantity of funding announcements that arrive in a journalist’s inbox”.

And whilst that quote may not be verbatim (or true!), Atomico’s 2019 State of European Tech report found that London was at the epicentre of funding announcements in 2019, with more than 4,000 investments made in tech companies across the whole of Europe. That’s just under 11 funding rounds every single day. Whilst this is just one indicator of the innovation and strength of the tech scene in Europe (we’re biased, of course), it also shows just how competitive these sort of announcements are.

Tech and business journalists receive hundreds of emails a year alerting them to fresh funding news from all manner of businesses. This is not to say that the appetite isn’t there, just that companies need to be smart in their approach to ensure they stand out.

Of course, there is no fool-proof way of guaranteeing a journalist reads your email, engages with the news, and then writes about your funding announcement - but we have some thoughts and advice that can help startups get cut through.

1. Painting a picture

Funding is regarded by many as the ultimate vote of confidence. In most cases, VCs and investors are buying into the vision you have shown them and your team. Your technology may be cutting-edge and your product may be perfectly crafted - but most people are interested in understanding product market fit and the challenge your product solves. The goal of talking to the media is to convince them of the same thing you convinced your investors of.

TOP TIP: Using third party statistics as a way of showing a problem is a great way of amplifying the effect that your product can have. By showing the scope of the problem, people are more likely to get more excited by your innovative solution.

2. Do your homework

As mentioned at the start of the blog, journalists are extremely busy, which means they rarely have time for anything that sits outside of their beat. Before starting your outreach, make sure they hold an interest in financial or business news and make sure everything else is accessible and easy for them. You can do this by looking at the topics a they have previously covered or by looking at their social channels to get a feel for what they discuss on a professional level.

TOP TIP: Whilst Twitter is a great way of finding out what journalists are reading, Linkedin provides a little more of a professional overview and history. Often journalists will have their latest and greatest portfolio work attached to their pages, so you’ll be able to get a good understanding of what there beat entails.

While you’re here - why not follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you’re kept up to date with our latest content!

3. Tailor your pitch

It is important to get to the point. Be concise with your words and make sure to highlight what is important to the journalist. For instance, if the journalist is likely to concentrate on the investors or VCs leading the funding round, then make sure to show the expertise of the VCs and the potential growth their backing will provide. If the journalist is concentrated on a particular sector or area, major on how you fit within that sector’s ecosystem and the technological factors that set you apart from your competitors.

If you know the journalist on a more personal level and it’s appropriate, then feel free to include a joke or meme to remind them of how hilarious and personable you are...journalists are humans too! But if you don’t know them keep it warm, but professional.

TOP TIP: Find out whether the journalist has covered your company before. There’s nothing more embarrassing than asking whether they’ve heard of your company when they’ve already written a profile piece!

4. Subject: Make that subject line POP!

This sounds obvious, but it’s literally the first thing they see. If you have spoken to them over the phone ahead of sending them an email, maybe add ‘As discussed:’ into the subject line. Similar to tailoring your pitch, make sure to get the key components of what they will be interested into your headline. This is more art than science, but if you can manage to make your subject line stand out, then they’re more likely to read that perfectly-tailored pitch you’ve written.

TOP TIP: Puns are great, but can come across gimmicky. Highlight key features and stick to their value. Young co-founder? Tick. High valuation? Tick. Saving the planet? Big Tick.

5. Give your media a heads up

The nature of a funding announcement is one of excitement, and some journalists may want an exclusive. Whilst this is a tactic that many use, it is always good to ensure that all your key reporters are informed ahead of the funding being announced. Everyone wants a level playing field.

TOP TIP: Try and give journalists as much time as possible. Even if it’s just alluding to the news, it is a great opportunity to engage them in your upcoming news and getting a sense of whether they would be willing to cover and provides an opportunity for them to ask questions and go deeper on your business.

6. Think in headlines

A funding round is often the first chance to put your business on the radar of the media. Can you sum up your business and why it matters in less than a tweet? If so, you’re in a good position. Being concise, interesting and inspiring must be at the heart of your comms.

TOP TIP: Help spokespeople get their point across by working with them to develop one or two short analogies that explains their propositions versus the competition.

7. Why is it significant now e.g. change in legislation, change in behaviour?

Think wider. Why is this important now? Has there been a change in legislation that will push your business to the forefront of the market? If so, now is the time to major on this. Journalists will be more inclined to cover your funding announcement if they can see a broader impact from what you do. This might be providing critical service to a potential environmental problem - or providing an alternative resolution to major societal issues. Context matters.

TOP TIP: Make sure you’re up to date with the wider narrative in your sector. If there has been a recent launch of legislation that puts you in the driving seat, it would be a great shame to miss out. If you do, you might limit the public perception of your expertise, and journalists are less likely to come back to you as an industry spokesperson. Context matters.

Good luck!

It’s fair to say there is no guaranteed way of getting journalists to cover your funding news. Nor is there a foolproof way of building relationships. The truth is building a network of trusted contacts in the tech and business industry takes time and endeavour, and it’s important to think long-term.

It’s about respect. Respecting the journalists enough not to waste their time with irrelevant clients, or sending old information or details as new, and understanding the pressures they are under. Their time and attention is precious, and you and your business - no matter who they are - have no right to it. They have to earn it.

As long as you are diligent in your planning, creative in your pursuit of coverage and networking, and focused on sharing a coherent and compelling vision and message, you’ll always have a great chance of resonating with the media.

If you’re looking for more practical expertise on how to publicise your funding round, you could start with the recent blog we wrote on just that...

Here at Marlin, we work with tech innovators of every shape and size, from nimble startups looking to show the groundbreaking work they’re doing, to listed visionaries on a mission to make the world a better place. If you think we can help you, get in touch through [email protected] or drop us a DM on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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