So you got your funding round, term sheet signed, new exciting times ahead, congrats!

Obviously, you want to tell everyone about it.

But how to do that effectively if you haven’t done much PR before?

In this post, I will go through a step-by-step process to announce your funding round.

But first...

Why even announce a funding round?

Is announcing a new funding round in every tech journal going to bring you a million users and make you grow 10x right away?

Probably not, it never worked like that for me.

But there are things that announcing the round can give you.

And you should optimize your message and outreach for one or many of those.

So what those things are? Here are my top picks:

  • It shows your prospects and customers that you will survive. Users want to know that your company will survive cause if you don’t they will have to switch from your software to something else. So big funding rounds and PR announcements in big magazines can make investing their time into using your tool a bit less risky.
  • It helps with recruitment. Hiring people is always a problem. More money means more projects and exciting opportunities for new people to join your company. If you play it right and announce your round in places where your ideal hires are you can get a lot of interest.
  • Get noticed by new investors for future rounds. This is planning for the future but it surely does help to be noticed by VC who may want to talk to you at a later stage.
  • General PR and Branding. Push the brand message and positioning to anyone who will listen. Every opportunity is good to make people aware of your brand. Even if those people are not your ideal customers they may talk about you with their colleagues. So make sure to message what you do in a way that is easy to remember and share.

Ok, now that we know why we do it let’s go through a funding round announcement step by step.

Step 1: Create a funding round announcement

Answer all of the questions below.

I really liked the questions that folks from Alpaca VC described in this post so I just copied that 1-1 here.

  • What is the company? Why is it unique? Can you break down your mission, tagline, and pitch?
  • How much did your company raise? What stage of funding is this?
  • Who has invested in this company previously? How much has your company raised to date?
  • Who participated in the round? Who led? Is anyone joining the board?
  • Can you get a quote from the investors? This quote could include the executive team’s capabilities, why the company is exciting, or momentum in the market. In rounds with multiple investors, the lead investor is given priority.
  • What will you use the funds for?
  • What is the founder's story, and why are you the one meant to build this? The founder should have a quote in the article as well to explain why their business is unique compared to others.
  • Can you highlight any impressive growth metrics? (Never feel a need to share them if you don’t feel comfortable)
  • Any notable execs or team members working on the company with you?
  • Will you be hiring?
  • Why is this important? What does it mean for the industry at large?

Read some good example funding rounds press releases from developer-focused companies:

Create a similar announcement based on all the questions you answered.

It doesn’t have to be perfect just yet. Also, remember that journalists who you will approach will take what you wrote and change it so don’t worry about it too much.

Step 2: Create a media kit

Media kit (or press kit) is a place where you can send a journalist to get all the info, logos, screenshots they need to craft their article. There are tools for that but you can just create a page on your website that serve this purpose.

The media kit should make the journalist's work as simple as possible once they decide to work with you.

A good media kit should include:

  • Company description: 500 words about your company positioning, target audience, and success so far.
  • Branding guidelines
  • Logo
  • Founder headshots
  • Company photo
  • Product screenshots
  • Demo/product video
  • Examples and links to previous coverage
  • Contact information

Check out these examples of media kits :

Step 3: Pitch to journalists/press

You should start pitching two weeks before the announcement at least.

You want to give people enough time to respond but also give yourself some time to divide the outreach between exclusive and embargo pitches:

  • exclusive: means a single publication can run this story. Only after this happens other news outlets can follow.
  • embargo: means you reach out to many publications/journalists but you mention that they cannot run this story until a certain date.

Ok, but how do you actually do it.

  • Create a list of journalists that cover your niche. You can easily create it based on articles covering funding rounds of other companies in your space.
  • Decide if there are people you want to outreach for an exclusive
  • Outreach exclusive folks and give them a few days to respond
  • If they don’t respond outreach all of the folks on your list with an embargo information
  • Coordinate accordingly with folks who respond

To assure that embargo/exclusive works, don’t send people the announcement information until they agree to do an embargo/exclusive with you.

But how do you pitch your story to journalists?

I love the template from this blog post:

EMBARGO [Company name] raises [$X round] to [~5 word summary of what makes company unique/matter]

Hi [Journalist name],

I saw you wrote [related article] and thought you would be interested in covering our funding announcement. [Brief two sentence description of why company is unique/groundbreaking.]

- [Lead investor and other notable investors]
- [Notable metrics/partnerships/existing customers that establish credibility of company]
- [Notable metrics/partnerships/existing customers that establish credibility of company]

We’re asking for an embargo on any stories until [date of announcement]. If you agree to the embargo, please let me know and I can send over a media kit that includes the full press release, multimedia, and investor quotes. I’m also free to talk [a few blocks of availability] and can set up an interview with [investors]. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
[Founder name][Founder title]

You can use the same template for the exclusive.

Once they show interest you should share the media kit and the announcement you prepared with them and let them do their magic. It may be the first rodeo for you but it is definitely not for them :)

Step 4: Coordinate internally before launch

Ok, assuming you got a few journalists to write about you (awesome!) you now need to make the most out of it.

To do that you should manage and coordinate internal communication and other stakeholders.

Internally, make sure that you have created or coordinated:

  • A blog post for your site
  • Social media for the company
  • Social media for the founders
  • Social media for employees
  • Social media for investors
  • Your Newsletter
  • Newsletter of the publication you getting coverage in
  • Paid ads creatives ready (it makes sense to spend a bit to elevate the story)

It helps to have a checklist somewhere to make sure you don’t forget anything once the story breaks.

Step 5: Launch day

The day of the announcement comes.

Once the embargo lifts and publications run your story you need to manage all the communication by:

  • journalists
  • your marketing team (blog, ads, social communication, newsletter)
  • founders
  • employees
  • investors

Step 6: After the launch

It doesn’t end here.

You should prepare the outreach to other publications/journalists that you will run again after the embargo lifts. It may be that some places would like to take a different angle or adjust it to your local market.

For example, say you are an EU startup but raise the round in the US and announce it on Techcrunch you may still want to make more buzz in your country to get some employer branding.

Also getting funding is a great moment to reach out to podcasts or other news outlets to continue spreading the news where you build credibility on the funding round.

Conclusion

Here you go, this is how you announce your funding round to get the most PR juice out of it.

I hope this guide will help you get the word out.

If this feels like too much work you can hire a PR agency that will do exactly this or use one of the tools like prowly or upbeat to help you with some parts of the process.

Most importantly, whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy it.

After all, every funding round is a big milestone. You will have the time to work yourself to the ground until the next round.

Now, you can get a drink from that fancy bottle you’ve been keeping for special occasions :) !