The recent shadow of an impending recession has naturally resulted in a cut back in spending, including those investing it.
Portfolio Ventures recently revealed that the majority of UK angel investors had become more cautious and selective in their investments and the amounts invested in fintech, clean energy and the low-carbon economy have fallen in the last year also.
According to the UK government, over 750,000 new UK startups were founded between March 2021 and March 2022, but just 4.3% of those are showing high growth.
In a fast-paced and competitive world, attracting investment is essential for any firms wanting to take go to the next level, meaning in uncertain times, startups must use all the tools at their disposal to attract the interest of investors — including public relations (PR).
Why is PR important for attracting investment?
PR is the art of communicating your brand’s message to the public and building a positive association. If executed strategically, PR has the capability to:
- Spark media interest
- Elevate brand prominence
- Grow excitement about your product or service
- Gain a competitive advantage, and
- Position your startup as a frontrunner.
Consequently this magnetic presence entices investors.
The right media exposure can help them form a favourable opinion of your brand. Appearing in a high-profile, hyper-relevant publication validates your business: if you’re worth talking about in the media, then the likelihood is you may be worth investing in. Plus if your business is regularly making headlines, then investors will be more likely to want to learn about you.
What can my business do PR about?
Here’s a trade secret: all businesses have the potential to achieve great media coverage. You just need to know how to tell the right story.
The most traditional way to achieve exposure is by sharing your business news with the media. This includes cutting-edge projects, new senior appointments, partnerships, and previous funding news.
All you need is a well-crafted media pitch, and to make sure you’re sending it to the right journalists. In fact this point is crucial, because journalists receive hundreds of pitches each and every day so it is important that your story stands out by resonating with the topics that they regularly write about. Don’t assume, do your homework on the publications and journalists first.
If you’re attempting to secure investment, definitely make a point of sharing all your business news with the press. If you don’t have any news right now, you can still achieve great coverage — you just need to work a little harder.
A thought leadership PR campaign uses your business’s opinions and expertise, instead of ‘news’. It focuses more on individual profiles, rather than the business as a whole and consists of contributing guest content for relevant trade publications or providing commentary on trending news topics.
Here are a couple of thought leadership examples achieved for our clients:
It is admittedly more time-intensive as you must prepare the comments or articles yourself, so it is important you have a strong writer to craft them since trade and online publications will only accept editorial quality content which is of a non-commercial nature.
Despite this, it is well worth the effort. Investors favour businesses that have strong opinions and a smart team meaning thought leadership is the perfect way to showcase the expertise and skills within your company.
Know your niche: be super-targeted to attract investors
Some investors prefer to work with businesses in particular sectors or tech scenes. This should inform the direction of any PR activity you take. If your business fits into a specific niche, make sure your company is all over any media associated with it.
Let’s say, as an example, your business has launched some new accountancy software. When you’re trying to attract customers, you need to gain exposure in media trusted by business decision-makers and finance teams. However, to secure investment, you should focus on channels favoured by investors: specifically FinTech ones.
See what sort of news the FinTech trade publications like, and then work hard to pull together relevant stories or insight that will appeal to those publications and their audiences. Reach out to them with ideas for thought leadership articles, bylined by you. Follow any FinTech social channels and share their content, tagging them into conversations (without being ‘spammy’).
It may help to create a ‘wishlist’ of your dream investment firms or even well-known angel investors. Connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn (where appropriate) and see what sorts of stories they’re sharing, and which publications they’re following.
Also identify what types of events they will ‘hang out’ at. The UK is awash with investor and entrepreneur networking events, so sign up and meet them. Investors are super knowledgeable and connected, so having even five minutes with one or two can only benefit you long term.
What to do with your media coverage
A mistake we sometimes see from brands is they gain a flurry of media coverage and then press the pause button! (Facepalm). The key when achieving these headlines, is to keep up the good work and of course, extensively share the positive news across all your channels such as social media and a blog. Don’t forget to encourage employees and partners to share the good news also.
Be sure to tag or mention the publication (and journalist) in your posts: a like or share from them can help push your brand even further. Hopefully, in front of an investor.
While you’re thinking about social media, do a bit of a ‘comms audit’. Scrutinise your own channels through the eyes of an investor because they will come looking. Ensure your messaging is on-brand, up-to-date and consistent across your website and social media channels. Even think about how the imagery you’re sharing reflects your brand.
When it comes to social media content, we recommend sharing a mix of relevant news stories (with your expert opinion or take on the situation), plus content that demonstrates your great team culture, and news from events or partnerships. And don’t forget your PR coverage or your own blog content!
Create an ‘investor hub’ on your website
Last but by no means least, it’s important you make it easy for investors to find everything they need when they visit your website. This can be done by adding a webpage that provides the following information, or links to the below sections:
- Company news: this can include press releases about partnerships or previous funding, as well as any media coverage you have achieved
- Case studies: investors will want to know about any projects you have successfully deployed so far. This should include testimonials from clients, as well as any stats or data that validate your work (for example, client’s turnover increased by £Xm)
- The story so far: a bit like your ‘about us’ page, but more detailed and targeted towards investors. This should include a brief history of your founders, product launches, and funding to date.
Want to find out more about using PR as part of your investment strategy? Get in touch and one of our team will reach out to discuss your investment goals, and how Luminous PR can help.