Have you ever seen a startup who comes out of nowhere, with no one talking about them, get funding or launch an IPO? Probably not.
If the company is extremely lucky, investors may take notice despite a lack of media strategy. But quite honestly, without some buzz around the brand, most people will never know to invest.
The startup stage is critical in the business lifecycle. While focusing on technical aspects of the offering is crucial, hoping your brand automatically gets press attention and builds a positive reputation is a mistake.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Your marketing team can work in conjunction with your PR team to create a winning media strategy while executives focus on the core business. Here’s a closer look at three must-have aspects of a PR strategy for fundraising and IPO.
Consistent press: This is a pivotal credibility marker. Visit a successful startup’s website, click the press tab, and you’ll generally find a steady stream of announcements that convey company health: items like product updates, growth data illustrating momentum, new hire announcements, partnerships or major customer acquisitions.
A consistent media strategy should also incorporate thought leadership elements that build your brand and enhance your leadership team’s credibility. This includes published interviews, Q&As and byliners in industry, trade and national press that investors read. Rapid-response components that address newsworthy issues or analyze sector trends are also a great way to attract industry and investor notice.
Social media engagement: Engaging content from your CEO and other top executives helps build momentum toward a funding round or IPO. You should use platforms like Twitter to engage with people who are interested in your sector, provide growth data, announce product updates and point to longer-form content published elsewhere. LinkedIn is also a useful platform for calling attention to topics of interest for investors and your industry. Having C-suite members promote your earned coverage positions your company and its people as experts to industry peers.
Media training: It’s critical that all company spokespeople have undergone media training so they can handle press inquiries effectively. Your team should nail down a set of talking points and ensure each team member can discuss each point fluently. The last thing you need while gearing up for a funding round or IPO is an executive who goes off-message in front of the press. Better interviews build stronger media relationships, making reporters more likely to cover your fundraising and/or IPO.
We’ve all seen executives fail to get their message across or fumble opportunities by mishandling the media. Leaders need to generate positive press, engage reporters, talk to investors across platforms and communicate consistently. With these elements in place, you’ll be geared up for a successful funding round or IPO.