When To Offer an Exclusive on Funding News, and How It Impacts PR Results

Back in 2019, we wrote about when to offer an exclusive on funding news, but since then a lot has changed. According to Crunchbase data, global venture funding hit an all-time high of $125B in Q1 2021, with late-stage funding deals taking the lion’s share of that pie. Due to the rapid increase in digital transformation efforts brought on by the global pandemic, technology adoption is on the rise, as are venture capital investments in technology startups from early stage onward.

So, it stands to reason that we’re doing more funding announcements than ever before, which got me thinking about which strategy — exclusive or broad embargo pitching — could consistently yield the “best” results for SaaS companies. For the purposes of this article, I’ll use “exclusive” in reference to offering a single reporter the opportunity to cover your news, and “embargo pitching” in reference to pitching several reporters the news under embargo before the announcement date.

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Pros and Cons of Offering an Exclusive for Your Funding Announcement

You’ve received a round of funding. After celebrating with some drinks and team bonding, you grab your PR team to shape the strategy for sharing the news. You know you want coverage in all the top places: VentureBeat, TechCrunch, Forbes, Bloomberg. Even Wall Street Journal —  because who doesn’t want their face formed by little dots in black and white in one of the most widely read publications in the world? 

Your hopes are reasonable, but there are a few things to consider before executing a strategy: 

  • Some reporters — especially at top-tier publications like Forbes or Bloomberg — won’t cover a funding round unless it’s 100M or higher. Generating interest from these reports will require more creative thinking like the use of a high-profile customer or insights into additional financial numbers like YRR or customer deal-sizes
  • Offering exclusive access to your CEO and rights to the story to one reporter can help lock-in that home run media opportunity
  • Sharing the news with a handful of top reporters at target vertical and business publications could mean more coverage from an array of outlets for the next couple weeks

The goals for your funding announcement dictates the strategy 

Now that you have insight into the first considerations PR professionals evaluate before shaping a funding announcement strategy, understand that there are pros and cons to any approach. To get to the root of why this announcement is important (besides the obvious), ask yourself: Who do I want to see this coverage? What do I expect this coverage to do for my business? What will make the stakeholders at my organization happy? 

Let’s break this out further with possible answers and scenarios to help you pinpoint the real goal for this announcement.

Scenario #1: I want to reach prospects with this news to influence their decision to purchase our offering, thus impacting the bottom line and making stakeholders happy.

Depending on your use-cases and buyer personas, it’s likely that your company’s target prospects read a variety of publications specific to their industry, as well as business press.

To get in front of these prospects, the best approach would be to pre-pitch the funding announcement under embargo. The positives for this tactic are that coverage is almost guaranteed and will extend over a longer period of time and a variety of media verticals. However, bullseye media targets — those dream or ideal outlets we talked about at the beginning — might not ask for information prior to the announcement day and can become further disinterested if they see the news has broken.

Scenario #2: I want other investors and business leaders to see our momentum to demonstrate dominance in the industry because stakeholders have competitors top of mind. 

Business press is where you’ll find investor and business leader’s eyeballs. To entice top tier media contacts who cover business, exclusive, embargoed interviews and early access to news is the way to go. Publications like TechCrunch and VentureBeat often take the embargoed release and draft a feature to run the day of the announcement. The benefit of this is the upper echelon of media will cover the news the day it’s released across a newswire. The downside, however, is you can only offer an exclusive to one person.

Scenario #3: I want more partnerships and this news gives them confidence to do business with us. That means stakeholders can establish additional revenue pipelines, reach a new market of prospects and bolster our credibility.

Again, an exclusive is the best approach to almost ensure you get top tier business coverage on announcement day. But, we’ve also found success in offering the embargoed release to a select group of targeted media, telling them as much. Not only have we seen multiple top publications run the story, but it also allowed us to pre-pitch vertical trade simultaneously. The same pros and cons apply here as to the above.

All this said, remember that note about some media only caring if the round is at a certain amount? To get editors at top-tier publications — like New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg — to write about a smaller funding round, it’s essential to offer extra company info like financial metrics or a customer in which they can interview, in addition to access or an exclusive. This approach can be weaved into what’s outlined above, but it will affect the amount and type of coverage that runs in relation to the funding round news. 

TLDR? In order for your PR team to align tactics to garner the type of coverage that will make you and your team happy with the announcement, we have to know what the real goal is. You need to bring your ideal outcomes and expectations to the table so we can layout the execution options for the best end-result. 

Want to learn more about fully maximizing exposure to your exciting news about closing a round of funding? Check out our Maximize Your Funding Momentum eBook.

3 Common Mistakes SaaS Companies Make When Announcing Funding

You don’t have to be a SaaS genius to know the importance of funding. For many, funding is the fuel behind scaling a startup, hiring the right people and attracting the right customers and investors — and a lot of them. But often, the rate of support for the success of startups begin to decline after their first round of funding. In fact, according to CB Insights, 67% of startups fail to exit or raise additional funding, 48% of startups make it to a second round, and only 15% raise a fourth round of funding, usually a Series C. Continue reading “3 Common Mistakes SaaS Companies Make When Announcing Funding”

5 Indicators You Should Invest in PR

Public relations can often fall to the bottom of a company’s to-do list. Businesses need exposure, credibility and awareness and PR is crucial in the process of achieving those. While it is easy to put off PR, it is never too late to start your journey. If you find yourself asking “is it time to invest in PR,” look for these five key moments. These indicators are great signals that your company is primed to start a PR program. Continue reading “5 Indicators You Should Invest in PR”