Congrats! You’ve just closed a milestone round of funding for your company – one of the most important and newsworthy announcements you can make in your journey toward an exit or IPO. Funding signals that you’ve found the right group of financial backers that believes in your vision, a board who supports your structure and understands your development path and – key to your success – employees who have likely come from other well-known companies, eager to make their own mark with your company as “the next big thing.” Now, it’s time to get the public equally as excited and more importantly educated on your value proposition.
So often though, these announcements create a splash of news for clients that quickly peters out – no ripple effect – leaving the market asking questions about what’s next or “now what?”
Conveying a successful foundation for momentum to continue to tell stories and pique interest from all audiences should be your main goal in announcing funding. This strategy will help to build and sustain a “news bridge” as you work your way toward your next announcement.
Source: Pexels.com under CC license.
We’ve broken out the process so that you can share your financial windfall with the market:
Not all investors are created equal – and those required to disclose investments to the SEC are beholden to rules that dictate the timeline for sharing that information. Depending on the type of filing that needs to be made, your investors may have a more accelerated timeline than you’re hoping for. It’s best to plan in advance so that you’re aware of all of the various timelines that need to be coordinated to successfully, and legally, announce.
Timing is everything. Once you understand your rules of disclosure, draft a solid timeline and stick to it. Work backwards to cover everything from your approval timeline, drafting your release and corresponding support on social media and – most importantly – some desired headlines and key messages that are the most important for you to convey to the market.
Lead time is the key to a successful funding announcement as numbers need to be finalized, and the messages factoring into the release, along with supporting quotes, takes time. Factor in at least one-to-two rounds of edits, and as a courtesy, at least 48 hours for review/approval from all partners and legal. The key to success here is that it allows for at least another 48 hours to pre-pitch the news under embargo before the official announcement goes out. This will provide journalists enough time to conduct interviews and gather the relevant market facts they need to frame your news in the proper context.
Yes, there is SO MUCH to share about your company in this announcement: Why was the company founded? How amazing the people are. And, if you’re more provocative, why your competition isn’t really competition for you.
I hate to be the one to tell you this – but that doesn’t matter here. Don’t clutter a funding round announcement with other major announcements or facts. This includes, other major milestones, new customer announcements or hires. Focus on the good your funding addresses for the here and now – that people believe in your vision.
Much of that “other fodder” you’re looking to communicate can be covered in a thoughtful interview arranged by your communications lead or agency. Media are looking to speak with you directly about your investment news as they understand the context of the market to date, which then via a smartly crafted pitch, allows you to offer your POV on your key differentiators, supported by the funding news. This means when developing your press release, keep it clean, and look to your supporting assets and vehicles (pitches and interviews) to carry that bigger story through.
Consider breaking these announcements out as markers through which you can show continued growth – either leading-up to, or after, the funding announcement. Showing the media and the market that you’re on an upward trajectory sets the tone that you’re better than your competition due to the volume of positive news coming from your pressroom.
Focusing on your main communications objective is key – announcing your funding… You need to be consistent and repeat it at every available opportunity. While everyone at your company may be able to recite – verbatim – the vision/mission/value you have, it is not top of mind for any of our audiences. Look to reinforce this at every turn to ensure it is being communicated for the long haul.
An FAQ will help guide everyone in unanimously answering questions in the same way. Some of those questions to prepare for include: How much has the company raised to date? What will the current funds support? Will you be increasing headcount and if so, where? What do you want to focus on for the next six months or even one year?
Drive each fact home and break them down into snackable bites – a great practice for social media.
As noted earlier – that “splash” with media is great, but what’s your plan for the extending ripple effect that allows you to drive back the reason your company got that round of funding?
Support your announcement with Voice of the Customer campaigns, as these will help to highlight your recent success stories. Use analyst support and whitepapers to drive home the strengths coming off of your funding wave. Ride that for a solid six months before you expect to introduce another major milestone or element to market.
If you’re still not sure on where to get started, we recommend you take a look at PAN’s NXT Stage resource center. We’ve tapped into our 20+ years of experience and success with brands across all stages of growth to develop this unique model. We offer a library of resources that will help guide your brand toward scalable market success. Check out our microsite filled with tools to up level your marketing expertise and strategy.