There's a somewhat simple analogy for startups in accelerator programs. Think of it as though you are a chick, mother-hen is brooding over you and providing you with everything you need for survival. But once you leave the nest it's game time - you need to advance and scale. How are you going to do that if no one knows you and your product/service? Before you get out of the accelerator, you’ll want to stir up some chatter.
But don't stress too much about it, here's a list of some things you'll want to consider when getting the word out about your company.
Stay in your lane
Research and target relevant journalists in your field. As a fashion start-up , don't seek out a science journalist, they are not going to be interested.
Instead, type in keywords related to your business in a search engine and browse through the articles that come up, note the journalists who wrote them, and build a list like this. You can use tools like Justreachout, and Cision which have simplified this process.
Don’t go for the kill
Wait?! Do not send unsolicited messages because nobody likes that. Rather, build a relationship with the journalists by networking, engaging, attending, and contributing on/to LinkedIn, Twitter, online events/forums, and other industry events.
Also, check out articles written on top companies in your field by journalists, network with the people (in Marketing, PR, or CEO/founders) in those companies, and ask for a warm introduction to those journalists.
It’s ideal to build a relationship with journalists long before you need their help. Offer your knowledge and/or expertise in your industry to them via ‘help a reporter’ as a source when they need it, and in due time that karma will pay handsomely!
Generate News Worthy Stories
Don’t make contact until you know what you want. Have a clear goal and make sure you have newsworthy stories. Set your KPI’s on what you want to achieve in the accelerator (which could include a significant number of customers, product launches, product/sales milestones, a breakthrough in research, a recent funding round, upcoming event, etc).
Share those milestones and statistics with the journalist, and offer an exclusive if you can. Don’t ignore journalists from smaller platforms such as blogs and trade publications, they are easier to reach. We've all got to start somewhere.
Be the master of your own destiny, create your own publicity! Strategize and put out regular quality SEO/SEM rich content on your company blog/website, ads, sponsored posts, across all digital platforms, etc. while guest contributing on other platforms to build a strong community and credibility. This will increase your visibility, draw the attention of journalists who find content/inspiration from social media and they may reach out to you for a feature.
Getting press can be quite tasking but it’s worth the effort. Starting early long before you need help and drawing a plan that is long-term and focuses on longevity is key. All the benefits of being visible accrue and before you know it, you will be breaking the internet and rolling with the big boys.