In Blog, lessons

Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each week we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This week: a funding press release from cybersecurity firm Darktrace.

AI cybersecurity startup Darktrace raises $75 million, now valued at $825 million – VentureBeat

This news from cybersecurity firm Darktrace garnered massive media coverage. In addition to tech publications like VentureBeat and TechCrunch, the news was also covered by business media like Fortune, the Financial Times and Business Insider.

Why did the media like this story so much and what can we learn from Darktrace’s announcement?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook. Right from the start, Darktrace does a good job playing up two hot trends. Particularly after recent ransomware attacks, cybersecurity is top of the news agenda and artificial intelligence is a major technology trend that journalists love to write about. Darktrace illustrated the significance of these trends by sharing recent growth and contract numbers, as well as figures on its expanding workforce.
  • Big Names Make News. Business media also liked this story because of the connection with Mike Lynch, an early investor in Darktrace. Lynch is known as the CEO and founder of Autonomy, a software firm that was bought by HP in a controversial and well-publicized deal in 2011. Although the press release didn’t mention Lynch, many business outlets still included this big name high up in their stories.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Missing Information. The press release failed to explain how the proceeds will be used, prompting media like Business Insider to ask the company spokesperson to fill in the blanks. Darktrace could also have mentioned its total valuation after securing $75 million in funding, so journalists don’t have to do the math themselves.
  • Don’t Bury the News. Darktrace kicked off its press release with recent growth numbers and buried the real news about the investment in the second paragraph. When writing your next funding press release, make sure you include your news in the headline and the first paragraph.
What We’ve Learned: Don’t Forget to Cover the Basics

No matter how strong your news hooks are, every press release should answer the six basic questions that any journalist will have: who, what, where, when, why and how. Apart from the investment size, the names of the investors and their reasons for investing in your company, a funding announcement should also explain how the proceeds will be used. In fact, this is typically the best place to look for a news hook that will help pique the media’s interest. If you want to learn more about that, here’s a recent example from Swiss food and drinks giant Nestlé.

Check out Darktrace’s funding announcement here and let me know in the comments section below why you think it was so effective and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Marcel van de Hoef is co-founder of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and medium-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.

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