As your tech startup progresses through various funding rounds, it is naturally important that your public relations strategy grows and evolves to ensure that you maintain consistent messaging while adapting to changing investor expectations.
The tactics that you use at different stages will not likely differ dramatically. Certain PR basics – maintaining consistent messaging, aligning PR efforts with company strategy and remaining adaptable and nimble – are relevant at all stages and fundamental to any successful media-related strategy.
But generally speaking, how should your public relations approach look and grow based on what funding stage your company is at?
When considering your media strategy for a seed-stage company, the focus should be on building visibility. A strong PR strategy — now and in the future — starts with a strong foundation based on building solid and cohesive narratives on your company website and social media.
This can also be an excellent time to build relationships with relevant reporters. Vertical reporters may well, over time, become Tier 1 reporters covering a beat of relevance to your industry. Seed-stage companies should also look to build relationships with relevant local reporters to build a strong presence within their community.
Stepping It Up for Series A
After your company moves to Series A funding, the foundation of your PR program will remain largely the same, but the program can become a bit more robust.
Thought leadership programs, in particular, can begin to establish your company’s leadership as a trusted and credible source of industry expertise.
Also, you’ll want to implement a regular cadence of company news that will get coverage and steadily build your company’s presence among industry leaders. Relevant announcements can target a variety of outlets, especially in terms of vertical-specific publications. As your company’s news permits and merits, you’ll also have the opportunity to offer exclusives to relevant reporters to further solidify important relationships.
Other proactive media outreach could also be part of your program, including Tier 1 and Tier 2 business, technology and vertical regional press outreach, as well as other specified outreach, perhaps around the media present at conferences you attend or other industry events.
These components combine to garner publicity for your company, attract potential investors and maintain a positive relationship with stakeholders.
Series B: Demonstrating Growth
For a Series B company, you’ll likely turn your focus to news announcements that showcase your growth and movement from an early-stage company to more middle-stage.
This may take the form of product announcements, notable executive hires and major customer announcements or partnerships. With this news, you’ll want to maintain relationships with the vertical and regional press while also building business press relationships.
Your thought leadership program should remain steady to demonstrate how your company’s leadership has a strong finger on the pulse of the industry. Using these tactics, you should be able to develop a reputation for being a trusted source of information and expertise within your industry.
Series C: A Comprehensive Approach
Similarly, PR strategies for Series C companies employ many of the same strategies as other companies in earlier stages; however, those programs can simply continue to become more comprehensive.
Your corporate news and announcements will likely be more relevant, with even more notable publications and business press targets.
The industry honors your company targets are also likely elevated as you may qualify for awards that require a higher revenue. Your social media strategy also may change slightly to account for a larger audience.
It’s also possible that you have a bit more wiggle room for additional PR services such as social media, analyst programs, survey reports and other initiatives that require a bit of a larger investment but can be impactful in distinguishing your company from its competitors.
No matter your funding stage, public relations will always be an ongoing and case-by-case process, and strategies should evolve with the company's growth, trends in the industry and changing market conditions. Tailoring your PR tactics to your specific funding stage helps maximize their effectiveness in supporting the overall business objectives.