The fact is that marketing your business investment opportunity or campaign will help you attract investors.
One of the best ways to create “eyeballs” on your borrowing (or crowdfunding) and business is to attract coverage by local media or bloggers. For purposes of illustration, this advice uses the example of a Peer to Business Listing campaign on InvestNextDoor. (Note: InvestNextDoor is a new crowd-lending marketplace that Canadian entrepreneurs can list on to raise funds from investors in the USA – it is not currently available to Canadian investors due to securities laws.)
Crowdfunding and impact investing are hot topics right now, so your story, and the fact you are turning to your community, not the banks to grow, could be of interest.
A) Who should I target?
The best bets are area news media or bloggers that cover your business niche. They are more likely to be on the hunt for local content or niche content.
- To find local media sources in your area, try a simple Google or Bing search termed “(your area) newspaper.”
- To find local bloggers, search ““(area) blog (relevant keywords, e.g. organics or sustainability or business or investment).”
Ideally you should contact at least 10 to 15 media or bloggers (TV, news paper, online news, radio). This increases your chance of coverage.
B) Finding relevant contacts
On their website or blog, search for and find their contact information. The contact page is often located in the footer. Once you are on the contact page, you may find:
1) An email to submit your news tip/story. The email address will usually be tip@_____news.com or news@______news.com.
2) A submission form. Just copy and paste your pitch/story into the box and press send.
3) A list of reporter/editor emails. Find the reporter/editor you think would cover your story.
4) Blogger contacts vary. You may encounter an email, a form, or they may encourage you to reach out via social networks. The general rule is the bigger the following, the more challenging they are to engage. So, make sure they blog about your sector so your outreach is relevant. Their coverage can be huge.
Tip: Do NOT send your email to more than two reporters from the same site. At most just send to one reporter plus the general tip email.
Target media on social networks
You can try this with both news sites and bloggers. You may find the bloggers most receptive to social media outreach if they are clearly active on a specific network.
- Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.
- Facebook message them. If no response for a few days, try a page post with just three lines. i) Why you’re contacting them. ii) Why it matters. iii) What you want them to do.
- Tweet at them.
Recommended hashtags to try in different posts (one to three per post): #impactinvesting #impinv #localization #locavesting #community #crowdfunding #organic #sustainability and any for your region #mendocino #northerncal #ukia.
Tip: Tag InvestNextDoor in your posts and we’ll help spread the word
- http://facebook.com/investnextdoor (tag @investnextdoor in a Facebook post once you have liked us)
- http://twitter.com/investnextdoor (tag @investnextdoor on Twitter)
C) What to write
You need to address why your story is relevant and why they should cover it. Your pitch email should include the following:
1) Why your story is relevant to a particular news outlet
2) Your key messages (Keep it Short & Sweet. You just want to hook them into writing the story or interviewing you.)
3) Past news or blogger coverage (include links!)
4) Links to your campaign and website
5) Your contact information (social networks, email, phone)
D) Sample Pitch template
Here is a sample template you can fill in or adjust:
Hi [“reporter or blogger name” or “editor” for general email],
Given your previous coverage of local [Organic? Sustainability? Investment? Main Street?] stories, I wanted to share with you and your readers our quest <what you do> to collaborate with local investors via crowdfunded borrowing so we can make [location] [description of impact/growth]. Unlike crowdfunding for rewards, we are offering a market return paid monthly to our investors on our listing.
At [company], we sell [or provide product/services]. [What makes your company unique]. [What you add to the community].
[What you are you looking to do with the funds, what impact will it have]. [Company] has decided to offer the investment to local investors rather than having banks profit. With online social lending (crowdfunding) platform, InvestNextDoor the goal is to get local investment while building loyalty and connect with a bigger audience. [Company] hopes to reach their goal of borrowing $[amount] from local investors by [date]. You can find our InvestNextDoor campaign here [link].
[Add quote such as]“While we are a high touch organization with a passion to make our community healthier, we were excited about the opportunity to use high tech (via crowdfunding) that allowed local investors to earn returns while making a positive community impact,” stated [Name, Title].
Our story has been covered in previous years by (name any local coverage). Given the local angle, positive community impact, and technology innovations, your readers would be interested to read on. To see our campaign and story, click here: [Marketplace link]
For additional inquiries, please contact [Your Name] at [your email] or [phone number]
E) What to do when you hear back
- Since you’re trying to attract investors, emphasize why your business is a great investment and how their backing will generate “social returns”- e.g. jobs, expansion, local benefits.
- Provide the reporter or blogger with images, videos or visuals that tell your story.
- Talk about what you do, whom you help, why it matters and where they can get involved, in simple terms that readers will understand. Try and put your newspaper reader or web surfer hat on and speak in that voice.
- Emphasize the urgency of your campaign deadlines.
- Take advantage of both your business story and the hot topics of impact investing, crowdfunding, localization + social media to generate interest.
- In some cases if you sense a receptive audience, offer to provide a complete version of the story as everyone is short of time so bloggers may publish it as is
F) What to do if you do not hear back
Often, you need to send the email 2 to 3 times before you receive a reply from the news outlet. Try sending a follow up email if you don’t hear back from a particular news outlet after 1 week. Try not to send over 3 emails to the same reporter/news outlet.
Also, if you can find a published number, consider giving them a call.
G) What to do after media coverage
- Check any stories written about your campaign to ensure they have provided proper links. The best way to do this? Google keywords from your campaign or set up a Google Alert. For example look up “your campaign title + your city.”
- Once you find media written about your campaign, update your backers by sharing the link on your campaign listing Overview, Social/Media page and over your social networks and website.
What do you think? Had success getting coverage? Please add your tips as a comment.