If you’re like most companies, a funding round is your big reveal. It’s your chance to finally dictate your own news cycle, establish or advance your position in the market, showcase company momentum and test some basic messaging.
A half-assed funding announcement, however, does more harm than good. We’ve seen press releases released via the wrong wire service with dozens of typos, unnecessary information and convoluted messaging and value propositions. Too often, they’re pieced together last-minute by people with little experience in announcing funding, and it’s times like these when companies may look to external partners for a bit of guidance.
By this point, though, many startups have secured a few hundred thousand dollars from an angel investor or are bootstrapping it on their own dime entirely. The recent round of funding the company is set to announce hasn’t yet been allocated, and every department is squeezing every last bit out of their budgets.
We understand that some companies aren’t ready for a retainer, but still could use a little help in approaching the press, potential investors and other stakeholders. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you budget for a funding announcement:
The best wire services for press release distribution aren’t cheap. Plan on spending anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500, depending on word count. You should already have an account with a leading wire service well ahead of your announcement so you’re not scrambling last-minute;
If you hired a PR firm, they should be allocating a few hours to review your existing messaging and marketing collateral. They should also build a messaging triangle or related document that addresses commonly asked questions and prepares the spokesperson (and every employee, really) to face the media;
A good PR firm will charge you between $3,000 and $4,000 for the media relations component alone. This is because a good PR firm doesn’t relegate your announcement to interns who blast 500 reporters with the same email. Instead, a few experienced media relations pros are researching the best outlets and reporters to pitch, what they’ll likely cover based on their interests and what other opportunities there may be to capitalize on your announcement with, for instance, a couple of in-person interviews or phone calls.
Pitching takes time. If you want success to be determined by something other than ethereal “impressions” numbers or the number of times a release appeared as-is on a website straight from 1995, you have to be willing to allocate hours before, during and after an announcement hits the wire to ensure quality press coverage.
Your marketing department should have already put the time into developing basic messaging and differentiators that can be sprinkled throughout the release. This is your first chance to speak to the market in a public forum. Your messaging should be refined and polished, but with the flexibility to change as needed.
Your spokesperson listed on the announcement should go out of his or her way to be available for the first couple of days following an announcement distribution. The last thing anyone wants is the local business journal reporter calling to speak to the CEO only to hear that he or she isn’t available for another three days.