Neil Patel

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Leveraging media and public relations for startup fundraising is an excellent strategy to ensure long-term growth and success. Early-stage startups can use this tool effectively to attract investor attention and connect with other stakeholders–primarily customers and collaborators.

Public relations is the art of opening communication lines between a company and the industry where it operates. You need PR marketing to build relationships with customers, investors, public platforms, and potential partners. Leveraging this strategy, you’ll broadcast the startup’s activities.

Startups with limited resources tend to overlook the importance of PR and how it can add value to their reputation. Building brand awareness and credibility is crucial for the company’s growth, which is why experts recommend a headstart.

The sooner you start talking about the brand and what it can offer, the higher its chances of success. As a low-cost strategy, you’ll start creating hype around the company as soon as you’re ready with an idea. Social media channels are an excellent start.

Once you’re ready with a market-ready product prototype, engage the services of professional teams to propel it to the limelight. Allocate the necessary resources and start the public relations campaigns around nine months before you’ll need capital.

Before each subsequent funding round, ensure you have four to six months of runway left. Your PR campaigns should be up and running to build credibility and a market presence by this time. Investors should have adequate information about the startup before you reach out to them.

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Why Leveraging Media and Public Relations is Crucial for Fundraising

You’ll ensure the brand gets favorable coverage from reputable media channels when running PR campaigns. Here’s how that can work for the brand.

  • Getting mentions in the top-ranking digital periodicals adds authenticity to your company.
  • Customers are more inclined to trust the company and offer reviews of their experiences with the products. You’ll generate a buzz with testimonials from satisfied consumers and viral word-of-mouth advertising.
  • PR strategies work not only to get traction for the company but also to convince investors that it is worth backing.
  • PR advertising is an effective differentiation tool that tells stakeholders what sets the company apart from the competition.
  • You’ll use effective storytelling to offer information about the brand’s USP, mission statement, and vision. Rely on the professionals to craft a compelling narrative about the milestones the company has achieved and market traction. A powerful story can evoke excitement and interest, prompting investors to fund the company with capital and valuable expertise.
  • Effective public relations and media coverage establishes the brand as a leader, innovator, and expert in your specific vertical. You’ll provide information about not only your brand but also about the industry as a whole.
  • PR advertising, multimedia content, social media postings, press releases, and investor meets have the potential to evoke action among audiences. Impressed customers will want to buy the products and services, and investors will see the potential of an investment opportunity.
  • You’ll also have interested collaborators reaching out with mutually beneficial deals.
  • You can leverage PR coverage in times of crisis to connect with customers and investors and provide updates. Use press releases to respond to feedback and present your side in case of a controversy or criticism. You’ll rebuild trust and regain their confidence. Prompt and timely damage control can resolve every situation.

Leveraging Media and Public Relations for Startup Fundraising Strategies

Although leveraging PR and media broadcasts is an excellent strategy to catch investor interest, you’ll use the approach cautiously. Here’s what you need to know.

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Back Your PR Claims with Verifiable Data and Information

Close to 85% of PR professionals reveal that they prefer to broadcast authenticated information on their channels. Accordingly, it’s best to refrain from using PR releases unless you can back them with data and verifiable information.

Whatever traction you demonstrate should have a robust business model as a cornerstone. Without plausible milestones, even the best PR campaigns will be ineffective.

Statistics show that the top billion-dollar corporate giants worldwide may spend anywhere from $250K to $25M on public relations yearly.

However, reaching out to journalists to promote your company or release information about it is not exactly easy. On average, journalists get close to 100 pitches each week. Of these, they may respond to 3.27% of the ones they think carry some weight and may interest their audiences.

Time Your Releases and Select the Appropriate Channels

The key to successful PR for fundraising is to reach out to the appropriate audience at the opportune time using the right channels. Your PR team or agency should time the releases when they are most likely to generate a buzz.

Select the appropriate channels because although you would want the brand featured in magazines like TechCrunch, it may not be suitable for your niche audience or investors. For instance, if you’re running a company in the food and beverage sector, you’ll leverage the WGSN platform.

Side-by-side, you’ll use LinkedIn to establish credibility as the founder who built the company. Keep in mind that investors are more likely to back the entrepreneur for their expertise and business acumen.

And LinkedIn is the best channel for getting exposure for your skills and talents as a founder worth backing.

Although PR agencies go with traditional channels like press releases, events, and newsletters, don’t forget to harness digital PR. Tap into channels like social media sites, content marketing, and email marketing.

Staying Current and Relevant is Crucial

When leveraging media and public relations for startup fundraising success, know the intention is to stay relevant. Public and investor attention is short, and your PR is the right tool to stay fresh and engaged with the audience amidst the chatter.

Broadcasting information about the company’s achievements and milestones ensures investors stay engaged with its success trajectory. They are more likely to offer money when you approach them for funding since they have been following your journey.

Remember, investors are always looking for potential unicorns from which they can back and earn profits. However, remember not to talk about the fundraising rounds you’ve raised successfully. Investors may not be interested since the company is unlikely to need more capital.

The objective is to discuss what you’re doing with the funding and the areas where you allocated resources. You’ll also reach out to customers with details about the new products you’ve added to the portfolio. Or the newest features that enhance the value they can get from existing products.

PR releases at this time are also useful for attracting strategic partners and collaborators. Entering into horizontal and vertical deals can help cut back costs and translate into more economical prices for customers. And potentially higher profits for investors that they want to hear about.

Broadcasting information about investors who backed the company previously is better timed during the next funding round. Or when you start creating the next pitch deck. That’s when you’ll leverage the element of FOMO to entice new investors to support the brand.

Public Relations and Press Coverage is a Consistent Activity

An essential facet of effective PR is consistency. The startup landscape has cutthroat competition, with hundreds of new startups emerging every day. You’ll need to invest in this strategy regularly to maintain the buzz. Consider PR a long-term approach over three to six months.

That’s the time you’ll take to establish the brand as a permanent fixture in the industry. Reputable online publications and periodicals will start referencing your press releases and writing about your brand and the milestones it covers.

Understand the importance of recall value, which is indispensable when you reach out to investors for funding. Although PR is not exactly marketing, the two are closely interlinked. 90% of PR experts believe the two teams should collaborate for the best results. Hiring external professionals is a value-adding investment.

Keep in mind that storytelling is everything in fundraising. In this regard, for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor on Facebook, with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

PR Releases Need Not be Only About Company Activities and Traction

PR releases need not be only about the company’s traction, product releases, and other data. As the founder, you can leverage the exposure to establish yourself as an innovator and disruptor in your space. Talk about new developments in the sphere that are likely to impact the entire industry.

Each release should be carefully researched and backed by scientific research and data. This form of advertising takes a lot of dedicated effort but can establish you as an authoritative figure. Also, make sure to post regularly on professional social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Write impactful blogs, get invited to podcasts, and maintain engagement with the audience. Be unique and authentic and focus on building brand value.

Your objective should be to broadcast your industry-specific knowledge and encourage customer interaction. That’s how you’ll lower CACs and customer churn rates.

PR and media are only two of the strategies to deploy. Check out this video, in which I explain what to do if your investor outreach isn’t working. You’re sure to find it helpful.

PR Opens Networking and Partnership Opportunities

Leveraging media and public relations for startup fundraising works well because this strategy opens networking opportunities. Media coverage attracts attention from not just customers but also investors and potential collaborators.

As the founder, make an effort to attend conferences, seminars, and other events that journalists cover. Interact with people and gain the maximum exposure you can. Even a small mention in any online or on-paper magazines or news channels is a step forward.

Investors spotting you at the events or reading about them later will quickly learn to recognize the face. Later, they’ll connect the name to the face when you reach out for funding. And you’ll get a foot in the door. This is not the time to be vanity-conscious. But get aggressive and blow your trumpet.

As for sales and brand value, statistics indicate that a well-crafted PR campaign will likely be 90% more effective than just advertising.

You have a higher chance of increasing your website’s ranking, better positioning on search engines, and organically boosting brand awareness. You’ll also earn customer trust, and these benefits will make attracting funding easier.

Also, reach out to top podcasts in the vertical where you work through your PR agency. Giving an interview about your entrepreneur journey makes for interesting conversations. You’ll establish authority and likeability among your peers, investors, and other audiences listening in.

Now For Some Actionable Tips – How to Leverage Media and PR for Fundraising

Using social media channels when you’re still bootstrapping the company works in the initial stages. But as the brand starts to take off, you might need to bring in the big guns. Consider investing in the services of a reputable PR agency that can complement your marketing team.

Start by creating a compelling press kit to spotlight your brand and enhance its credibility effectively. This PR kit is a tool that provides quick snapshots of your brand when communicating with bloggers, influencers, media outlets, and journalists.

The basics of any effective PR kit start with a compelling narrative that quickly outlines the mission statement and vision. It will also highlight the brand’s USP and what differentiates it from competing brands. Also include the traction you have on social media and other platforms.

The number of likes, follows, positive reviews, and engagement on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and other platforms builds credibility. You can also talk about any endorsements from celebrities or reputable users. Testimonials from happy customers also go a long way.

Don’t forget to add visuals since compelling and attention-grabbing images speak louder than words and create a lasting impression. Journalists and bloggers will likely pick up these images and use them when writing content about your company.

Ensure you have adequate brand aesthetic floating around in the form of logos, catchy slogans, and other hi-def visuals. Also, include statistics and other numbers like revenues, profits, the number of customers served, and growth rates.

Nothing is more convincing than actual numbers to add credibility. Statistics provide valuable data that journalists can use when compiling pieces about your company. Round off with contact details like official email addresses, phone numbers, and website links.

You’ll use the PR kit to build engagement with audiences on all levels. A well-known company in the news always has a better chance of convincing investors of its viability and growth potential.

To Conclude

Leveraging media and public relations for startup fundraising is an effective strategy that you can tap. But remember to back the hype with actual performance, and you will successfully get the funding you need.

Aside from equity, you can reach out to micro investors, crowdfunders, and other sources to get small and large advances as needed.

You may find our free library of business templates interesting as well. There, you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.


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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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