In 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 and milestone press release from Impossible Foods Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up making meatless burgers from plants.

Impossible Burger’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Highlights Challenges of Food Tech – New York Times

A new investment round for Impossible Foods grabbed the attention of the start-up scene this past week as it announced that it achieved key milestones relating to food safety and intellectual property. TechCrunch, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal all had articles about the funding.

What can we learn from this announcement from Impossible Foods?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook. With investments from Singapore-based Temasek, Bill Gates, and Khosla Ventures, this press release was off to a great start by using the Names Make News hook. Impossible Foods used its statement as an opportunity to educate readers about their business and a milestone it reached this month: a patent to use its soy molecule in its meat substitute. The company reiterated its obvious efforts in the trendy world of “food technology” and sustainable plant-based meat by citing data about how manufacturing its burger uses less water and generates fewer greenhouse gases.
What Doesn’t Work: 
  • Missing Information. The press release failed to explain why Impossible Foods raised money and what the funds will be used for. The company’s CFO told the Wall Street Journal the company didn’t need additional financing but decided to raise capital anyway, leaving us with more questions. The company also said it had reached some key safety milestones, but a closer read of the statement reveals data from 2014, and news about plans to provide data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this month.  The New York Times highlighted the company’s health and safety challenges.
What We’ve Learned: Don’t Forget to Answer ‘Why’

Impossible Foods’ announcement captured the attention of the media but there were some gaps in its statement. No matter how big the names or numbers are in a funding announcement, or how trendy a topic is, be sure to always answer the “Why.” Here’s a recent example from Swiss food and drinks giant Nestlé that explains exactly what their new funding will be used for, and alleviates many of the questions the media may have had. The New York Times’s story angle on Impossible Foods focused almost entirely on food safety, probably because the announcement lacked any new data as evidence of safety.

If your company has just secured new financing, be sure to alleviate any inevitable concerns that investors, consumers or regulatory agencies may have. Answering these questions will help you control your company’s narrative while easing criticism or concerns from the media.

Check out Impossible Foods’ announcement here and let us know in the comments section below what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Alex Armitage is co-founder and CEO of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and mid-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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