Winning Over Journalists and Investors: Strategies to Play Your Cards Right

Pitching your story to journalists and investors is akin to a high-stakes card game. Your strategy and expertise certainly matter, but the cards in your hand play a pivotal role. To maximize their value, it's crucial to recognize which cards can be your trump cards. In this article, we'll explore these winning cards and how to use them effectively.

The Joker: $10+ Funding Round

When approaching journalists, a substantial funding round of over $10 million can be your trump card. Recent data from Crunchbase reveals a decline in US Series A and Series B funding rounds. This scarcity of capital makes it even more imperative for startups to catch the attention of media outlets.
Startups that secure such substantial funding are more likely to attract interest from journalists. High-value funding rounds often garner attention from influential publications like TechCrunch, Forbes, Venture Beat, and Entrepreneur. Thus, having this joker in your hand significantly eases the process of pitching your success story to editorial boards.
However, while the joker can increase your odds of success, you need additional trump cards for sustained success. Let's delve into them.

Industry Reports with Exclusive Figures

Unique market data can be your ace in the hole for accessing top-tier media outlets. For instance, a cybersecurity firm specializing in DDoS attack prevention could compile data on attack frequencies across regions and industries. Sharing this valuable information with journalists can lead to coverage on specialized cybersecurity platforms and even renowned publications like Bloomberg and CNBC.
Remember to tailor your approach to the specific media outlet's preferences. If you're targeting a UAE-focused news agency, emphasize local insights, while global tech and business media require an international perspective.

A Well-Known Investor

An investor with a minimum investment of $1 million can be your trump card, whether it's a jack, queen, or king. High-profile investors can draw attention for two reasons. First, their name can captivate readers and encourage them to delve deeper into your story. Second, it serves as a quality endorsement for journalists, signaling that your project is worth their attention.
This trump card is particularly effective when the investment represents a significant milestone for the fund or is part of a series in a specific sector. Investors like Sequoia and a16z have made headlines for their strategic investments, driving media interest.
Moreover, having a reputable investor can be advantageous for future rounds. They often bring valuable industry connections, with 20% of venture deals originating from referrals by other investors. Their endorsement also enhances the project's credibility in the eyes of potential venture capitalists.

Innovative Technology

If you've developed a unique solution that addresses a critical issue, consider it a trump card. Publications often feature startups tackling pressing problems through innovative technology. For example, startups working on climate change solutions or advanced agricultural technologies frequently earn coverage in major media outlets.
However, having an innovative product isn't always enough. In some cases, securing partnerships or initial clients may be necessary to gain media attention. Collaborations with established players can strengthen your hand and make your pitch more appealing.

Successful Entrepreneurial Experience

Past success can be your trump king or ace, both for media outlets and investors. Founders with a track record of success, especially those who have created market leaders, have a distinct advantage.
For instance, Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, raised $350 million for his new startup, Flow, from a16z. Media coverage of this significant investment was driven by the large sum, the prominent investor, and Neumann's history as the WeWork founder. This illustrates the impact of a successful entrepreneurial track record.
While past success can't singlehandedly guarantee success, it's a powerful asset, particularly when pitching to investors. Seasoned entrepreneurs are more attractive to early-stage investors, often securing larger deals and higher valuations.

News Linked to Current Events

Journalists prioritize relevance in their stories. Connecting your pitch to current events significantly boosts your chances of being featured. While you can't predict the future, staying informed and seizing the right moment can become your trump card.
During the pandemic, media outlets covered projects combatting COVID-19, companies adapting to survive, and technologies aiding in curbing the virus's spread. Staying attuned to current events can position you favorably when news aligns with your expertise and product.
As your company grows, you'll accumulate more trump cards. The beauty is that these cards remain in your hand for future battles, unlike in a traditional card game. Each trump card strengthens your position, making it easier to win challenging games, such as securing top-tier media coverage and attracting new investors through published articles.