Have you raised a round? Congratulations! Now you can write a press release and tell the world about it.
Before joining Flyer One Ventures, I had worked as an editor in several media, including Kyiv Post and Forbes Ukraine. I have edited hundreds of news stories based on press releases. At F1V, we have successfully pitched our stories to TechCrunch, Business Insider, Forbes, and VentureBeat.
If I were to explain how to write a press release, I'd tell you to focus on three main elements: the first paragraph, the body, and the headline.
The first paragraph, or lede, should convey key news; the rest provides details.
When writing a lede, imagine answering three questions: Who, What, and Why. If the date and location are important, include When and Where. It's also useful to provide a brief company description in your lede.
Who? Startup Reface — which created a technology that allows users to “try on” the faces of other people in videos — What? has attracted $5.5 million Why? to continue its exponential growth.
Who? Startup People.ai, which develops a program that analyzes how sales specialists work and helps them forecast sales, What? has attracted $100 million, Why (it matters)? bringing its total valuation to $1.1 billion.
Who? Startup Let’s Enhance When? on Oct. 29 What? attracted $3 million Why? to develop a tool that automatically improves the quality of digital images (Why in this example also shortly describes the startup).
Journalists might rewrite the first paragraph into a more story-driven one, but it's their job. In a press release, it's better to stick to a classical lede, like the one I explained.
The key to writing a good press release body is to keep it simple, use facts, and stay close to the news you are announcing. Avoid expressing opinions.
After your first paragraph is done, write up all other essential details about the news. Here are some questions that will help you do it.
▪️ Who invested in the startup?
▪️ What is the size and stage of the new round?
▪️ What does your startup plan to do with the money?
▪️ What are the target markets and expansion plans?
▪️ How much money has the startup raised to date?
Then it’s a good idea to insert a quote. It could be from an investor or a founder. The quote must be about the round: What does this round mean for founders? Why did investors believe in the startup?
Quotes — much like dialogues in books — are the voice of your story. They add color, detail, and describe motivation. They must be written the same way we speak. Avoid platitudes like “pleased to announce”, “proud”, “excited” and “happy” — they don’t add any value. Avoid stilted terms like “synergy”, “innovative solution” and “solution.” No human uses those.
After that, it’s time to tell more about the company.
▪️ How does your startup work? What customer problem does it solve? (The simplest explanation possible.)
▪️ Who are your rivals? How do you outperform them?
▪️ How do you make money?
▪️ What metrics can you share? (Monthly or daily active users, downloads, annual run rate, monthly or annual growth rate, etc. A press release is always weaker without metrics.)
▪️ How big is your market in numbers? Is there anything in the news about the market that the reader should know?
▪️ Who are your most high-profile customers? (If the names are famous, you may consider adding them to your headline.)
Add background information.
▪️ How did the founders create the startup? Who are the founders? (Write several sentences about your founders and their initial idea. Several sentences.)
▪️ Where is the company headquartered? Where are the other offices?
▪️ How big is the team?
End your press release with a second quote but use a different source. If you had a quote from a founder in the middle of the press release, now add a quote from a VC.
All in all, keep it short and sweet — one Google Doc page is perfect (font: Arial; size: 11).
Write your headline last; it's easier when you know how the rest of your story looks.
The headline is key for catching attention. It tells readers what your post is about and convinces them to read it.
Your headline should be catchy. Use numbers, action words, interesting adjectives, and the active voice. Aim for 10-13 words. In English-language headlines, you should use the present tense and can omit articles.
In my view, these are solid headlines for a press release:
▪️ Startup Effa that creates eco-toothbrushes for Netflix, Radisson raises $500,000
▪️ Ukraine-founded startup People.ai becomes ‘unicorn’ with $1.1B valuation
▪️ Startup Let’s Enhance attracts $3M to edit photos using AI
▪️ Mini hydro company raises $18M to generate power in canals
Avoid words like "outstanding," "unique," "amazing," "leading" — they don’t add value. "Solution" is also just no.