Seed has never looked sexier. Jason Lemkin + TechCrunch say so

Another day, another marketer extolling the virtues of “being visible”.

However, this time I’m sharing the message with added heft courtesy of Jason Lemkin, SaaStr founder and VC, and TechCrunch.

TechCrunch’s article, published on 18th January 2023, stated how Sequoia Capital has set up a $195 million fund (its fifth) to service an “ever-eager seed environment”.

Jason Lemkin chose blunter words as he took to the media waves on Monday this week; “Why Now is a Great Time To Raise Seed Funding. Even If It’s Awful For Series A-E Rounds.”

Rejoice all founders of the pre-seed. The chequebooks are at the ready.

But to land those investments, and get to those “awful” Series A-E rounds (at least for now) you’re going to need to demonstrate more than an idea.

Enter “being visible” through the power of Thought Leadership Publicity.

Seed comes with risks too

While the two articles quoted above make for great insights into the funding environment, (who could have forecast a time when Unicorn-sized funding rounds weren’t the ones making the headlines?) risk is still a clear and present concern.

No VC is allocating funds just for the fun of it.

If you’re a founder of a B2B tech startup, odds are in your favour that you have expertise in your field.

But if no one outside of your 457 LinkedIn followers (100 of them alumni you went to college with) knows that, you’ll be viewed as a bigger risk than you might truly be.

This is where working with the media comes in.

A B2B Thought Leadership Publicity strategy involves regular mentions, interviews, op-eds, and guest posts in third-party media.

All I mean by “third-party media” is media that you don’t own yourself.

So not your website.

Nor your own social media profiles.

But definitely industry publications, newsletters, podcasts, social media collaborations, webinars, summits, events (online and/or offline). And those often derided faithfuls that make up the “mainstream media”.

Make no doubt about it.

B2B PR is a long-term game. This is not advertising (and therein lies the value).

That said, one of the quick benefits founders (indeed pre or post seed) will see is an increase in their (say it) visibility.

This leads to an elevation in how they are perceived.

You’re selling yourself at seed stage

Well, more to the point, you’re selling your story, your vision and your experiences at seed stage.

There’s not exactly a product with years of trading on the table here.

When you’re raising seed (Jason has been clear he’s looking to do 2 – 4 deals this year in the $750k to $4 million bracket), you’re at the (very) early start of your company’s journey. One that I’m sure you’re looking forward to being long and fruitful.

Now, hype aside, investors are still going to do a lot of due diligence to decide whether to invest or not.

And if they’re investing in you (as opposed to a scalable product) at this juncture, the smart move is to get your name and story out there.

Picture the following scenario.

You share an announcement or insight, relating to your B2B startup, on your own Facebook feed.

Now think about this same announcement or insight being quoted in an article in a respected industry publication.

Or think about you dropping gems about the future of your niche on a well-recognised podcast.

Have you had experiences you can detail on what it has been like to gain early traction for your startup during the pandemic?

Good, because we’re now talking about opinion columns. And all the biggies (WSJ, NYT, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc, etc.) publish those.

Say what you like about the media.

But remember two things.

Firstly, media outlets act as curators. No one can wake up and read the internet every day. We all turn to publishers to alert us to the information we feel is important.

Your investors are consuming media.

They are not consuming your social media feeds.

Secondly, editors and journalists don’t court and publish the opinions of people who don’t have a clue about what they’re doing. Nor do they publish features, interviews and columns from authors (that’s you) if they don’t have helpful information to share.

Being published tells an investor you’ve got innovative ideas and the gumption to back them up.

Because visibility leads to credibility.

And a Thought Leadership Publicity slide never goes amiss in your pitch deck.

Guest post by Claire Mason. Claire is a Thought Leadership Publicist. She works with founders to land high-quality media coverage. Because the product never sells itself, but your story will. You can follow her on LinkedIn where she shares daily posts on how to work with the media.