If you’re raising an investment round, you may have considered PR. Whether someone suggested it to you or you’re PR curious, you’ve probably wondered why PR comes up so often when you’re seeking investment. From your Series A and beyond, a good reputation helps you raise more money faster. PR helps you attract investors, provides ongoing confidence to investors, and helps the company’s valuation. These are the reasons investors like to see companies use some investment funds for marketing and PR. They know you can run a profitable business without PR, but you can’t be the market leader without PR. So, when should a startup hire a PR firm? We work with a lot of companies either seeking acquisition or raising funds. Let’s dig deeper into how PR helps secure investors.
First Step: Segment Awareness
Many companies discount B2B or industry PR because industry publications don’t have the public cache of larger business publications like Bloomberg or the Wall Street Journal.
But that’s a mistake. Industry PR is one of the most underrated PR assets when looking for investors. Investors often circle an emerging industry sector, like healthtech or cleantech or cannabis, to find opportunities, and vertical publications are a great resource. Let’s face it – your startup will not be a unicorn until you’re a segment leader. This type of PR might include thought leadership or owned content campaigns. If your company does not have many search results, industry PR is a natural first step.
There’s another reason to start there: it’s excellent practice. Having 10-15 interviews under your belt really makes a huge difference when you DO get an interview with a national publication. And these credible pieces show investors you’re ready for a capital raise.
Use Data and Insights for VC Funding
A key trend in securing media is providing data to journalists. Journalists are more constrained than ever before. Third-party, statistically relevant data is the crown jewel for consumer business publications like Fortune and Bloomberg. But if you don’t have that kind of research, especially if you’re a SaaS company use the data at your disposal. I don’t mean customer data, I mean information like trends that your product is seeing.
The media isn’t the only stakeholder group that loves data: VCs do, too. Having this data really gives you many ways to capture VC attention, drive and lead conversations, and earn trust from stakeholders. And the best part? You can keep some of this data private and in your pitch deck, which you can use in your funding pitches.
Build Today for Tomorrow’s Funding
Less than 1% of companies appear in the Wall Street Journal or Forbes. Earned media is valuable because it’s difficult to secure, and the credibility factor is greater than anything you can buy. But quality PR is a marathon, not a sprint, and the investment in PR becomes more valuable over time because the more press you secure, the more likely you are to be seen as credible.
Sometimes, companies who are raising funds come to us to help them close a deal. They say, “If I could get a few pieces of press next week, that would be great.” While we might assist you with some sponsored content or contributed content, that’s still an incredibly tight turnaround for us, in part because we don’t know your brand, your voice, and your leadership. And unless you’re already in the news cycle, it’s even less likely a company will secure earned media in that time frame.
PR for investors takes time. PR is branding to journalists. Here’s a typical situation: our groundwork pays off when a newsjacking opportunity presents itself, and journalists trust our client because we had been building that trust for three months already. After that, the company became a credible source for relevant topics for some of the world’s biggest media outlets.
Remember, credibility is not something you turn on and off; it’s something you nurture and guide. That’s PR, and that’s why it’s so valuable when you’re raising capital.
Added Bonus: Crisis PR Preparation
When you’re in the middle of a raise, that’s the last time to scramble for crisis PR. Should you have a crisis, whether that’s a product recall or something more complicated, when you’re raising money or pre-IPO, PR can be the difference between simply surviving and thriving after a crisis.
Crisis campaigns start at $20,000, and that’s after you find a PR firm while your crisis is spinning out of control. When you have a PR firm on retainer, the crisis will still be expensive, but your management of it will be swifter, more strategic, and more effective. With the help of a good PR firm, you can steer your way through the crisis and out the other side with confidence and your brand intact. You might even get bonus points from investors for handling the crisis well.
Taking care of your reputation always pays dividends. When the timing is right to raise capital, that’s a great time to hire a PR agency. A good reputation will help you raise more money, faster.