Why your startup needs public relations

Plunging into the fast-paced, high-risk world of startups and entrepreneurship is exhilarating and nerve-racking — and it takes more than guts and grit to make it and be the next big thing. If you’re equipped with a groundbreaking idea and your product’s ready to hit the market, odds are you’re doing everything to spread the word: telling everyone you see about your startup, and making your rounds in networking circles to meet fellow entrepreneurs, potential clients, and scooping up an investor or two along the way.

What many startups fail to recognise at this stage is how much of a game changer public relations (PR) can be. PR is particularly crucial and most effective when a startup has just launched, and smart PR can directly impact your brand perception, company revenue and investor opportunities.

Some entrepreneurs we meet don’t see the need for PR. They believe a good idea will sell itself through word-of-mouth and personal networks. That’s definitely important, but it’s hardly enough. Public relations — and media coverage in particular — will provide you with a far wider reach than you can imagine and act as a launch pad for your big idea. Here’s why PR should be taken seriously, whether you take a stab at it on your own or get some help from industry experts.

1. Introduce your brand to the public
Media coverage in key news outlets will introduce your brand to the public. In Singapore, think The Straits TimesTODAYThe Business TimesChannel NewsAsia and other tech sites like e27, ZDNet Asia and more that are the perfect gateways to public recognition. How often have you read about a new company while flipping the newspapers or browsing news sites? Your startup could be recognised in the same way.

Public relations is essentially brand outreach to the public and your stakeholders through various media channels. Yes, you’ll still want to rely on word-of-mouth, and yes, social media should be an important element of your PR campaign, but what happens when these are combined with media coverage? Brand recognition increases by leaps and bounds.

2. Be searchable
Have you ever Googled a company, brand or product, only to find it’s not a top hit, and then give up digging for more information? With news features, potential clients searching for you will find your brand across a slew of media coverage, rather than a lonely link low on Google search.

For your startup to do well, you’ll want to build on your search ranking through search engine optimisation (SEO) to help people easily find your brand online. SEO isn’t a quick fix and takes concerted effort. Media coverage is a great way to boost your SEO, particularly online news articles that link back to your website, weaving strong backlinks. You should also ensure you have SEO best practices in place early on – here are some tips from Mutant.

3. Gain credibility
Consumers today are smart and informed. Before your potential clients buy your products or use your services, they’re researching your brand — they’ll read reviews and look into your online presence before making a purchasing decision. News coverage in reputable news sites and publications will give much-needed credibility to your services and products, particularly when you’re relatively unknown.

If journalists buy into what you’re offering, their favourable reviews will be the best endorsements. Many of them are influential, with loyal readers who treat their words as gospel truth. And news articles that quote your product users who speak to its awesomeness will add even more credibility.

4. Investors see you
Every startup needs funding — and PR will increase your chances at striking the VC lottery. Venture capitalists, government entities and rich folks are on the lookout for investment opportunities in the news. Positive coverage highlighting your business proposition and growth potential is bound to turn a few heads.

A startup we recently helped to launch in Singapore is an entrepreneur’s dream come true. Combining an excellent product with dedicated PR pushes, we secured news coverage in national newspapers The Straits Times and TODAY, popular news sites such as e27 and Yahoo! Singapore News and more, which led to calls from a major government research agency keen to invest in the app and a major client who wanted to roll out the service at scale. When you hit the media that matter, you’re going to get noticed.

5. Become a thought leader
The establishment of trusted brands goes beyond good products and services — the best ones establish themselves as a thought leader and knowledge expert in the field. As a first step, you should craft opinion pieces for targeted media and land your commentary in industry news articles. When your brand starts to get recognised, you could speak at industry events to share your insights with stakeholders.

Building thought leadership is a gradual process, and you’ll want to start working on it soon as possible. If I’m an investor or consumer looking to invest my hard-earned money in a startup and its services, I’m far more likely to trust a startup with a business leader who’s knowledgeable, rather than any other brand who’s merely jumping on the startup bandwagon for the ride.

6. Receive valuable feedback from journalists

Many journalists, particularly those focussing on technology and startups, are knowledgeable about the industry and they’ve seen many startups make it and break it. Some might think of journalists as writers who’re only out to catch them off-guard for a sensational story, while others see journalists purely as mouthpieces for their brand. Don’t treat a media interaction purely as transaction, especially in Singapore where journalists are open to conversations.

Along with your interview, make an effort to sit with them over coffee and find out what they think about your products and services. Have an honest conversation and pay attention to what they have to say. You might be surprised at their suggestions, which could help you re-consider loopholes you’ve missed.

PR complements your startup’s initial launch and can be really impactful in driving growth. Not every news article is going to land you a million dollar investment, but every PR step you take in the right direction will persuade your potential clients, add credibility to your brand, and boost your online presence to eventually establish you as the startup to look out for.

This article was first published 14 July 2014 on e27.
If you’d like to discuss your public relations approach, get in touch with us at [email protected].
Startup Live Vienna image by Heisenberg Media is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Common myths of Public Relations – and what we really do

Public relations gets a lot of flack. It often stems from a misunderstanding of what is actually required in the role. From hedonistic party animals, to the bane of many journalists’ existence, PR people have been brandished with many negative stereotypes.

I will try to banish the common myths associated with PR by sharing a basic rundown of what actually gets done in the office (besides the daily tipple or two, and hanging out at the VIP section of the club during the weekends).

The Bad Spin

“Without PR, Cinderella was just a drunk princess who lost her shoes at a party.”

The PR spin is often mistaken for deceit, when it really is quite the opposite. We pride ourselves on conducting thorough research and coming up with creative story ideas to help enhance your brand’s credibility. We are honest storytellers with sincere motives and we are keen on sharing with the public what our clients do.

Never say no

Our aim is to run a campaign that meets our clients’ needs, and this leads to the next misconception – that we are pushovers incapable of saying no. Which leads to the accusation of incessant and irrelevant pitching. (For our fellow PR friends and marketers, here are some tips on pitching gracefully to the media).

In actual fact, we first listen to our client’s needs, then consult with them on a suitable media strategy, and establish clear expectations on what we can deliver. We foster confidence and reassure clients that sometimes, the story they want to tell is not going to fly with the media or public. It’s our job to help them craft a message and strategy that will be valuable and of interest to news outlets.

Sticking to the old school

Some traditional PR methods still stand the test of time, but as consumer trends evolve, so does PR. Old PR approaches would include writing a press release and pushing it to media. These days we’re looking at all the channels available to a brand to reach out to their audience.  This means staying on the pulse of changes in marketing, social media, search engine algorithms, inbound marketing and much more – these trends provide fascinating user insights that will complement traditional efforts.


Good PR is more than hardselling stories to journalists or glorifying brands to sway public perception – we are about telling engaging, newsworthy and truthful brand stories across the most suitable platforms. Only then will the media and public start trusting a brand and its products.

13 rules when writing a press release


To find out how Mutant can help with your PR efforts, drop us a line at [email protected].

Disney – Cinderella Castle Mosaic Selective Coloring image by Joe Penniston is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


How to spring clean your website and improve your search ranking

So, you want to come up first on Google?

That’s great! And it’s definitely possible. But first there is a lot of spring cleaning and forward planning that needs to be done.

Old social media pages

Remember that Bebo page? And your Myspace account? So does Google. But if you don’t want to associate with them any more, they need to go.

Let’s call these your social media ghosts. Any old social profiles, any spammy links you might have bulk-purchased back in the day when companies sold you links to boost your SEO, and any rogue URLs. Delete, delete, delete.

Google Webmaster has some great tools to determine the quality of your site and flag any duplicate content – sign yourself up and then use these to do a clean up. Do that now, and don’t come back to this blog post until you’re done.

For a free website audit with Mutant, click here!

Look and feel

Ok! Next step – UPDATE. Just as we update our wardrobe for a new season, we need to update our sites for search (and look and feel – get rid of any nasty 90s WordArt or strobe-like flashy ads while you’re at it).


It sounds technical but it’s really not. Ensure every page is pushed as much as it can – we call this optimisation – to boost your search rankings. You may have seen the fields in the back-end of your website – now’s the time to fill them in. The most important ones to keep in mind:

  • Title:
  • Meta description:
  • H1:
  • ALT Tag:
  • Content

Check the basics first – is your contact information, services page and client list up-to-date? Do you need to take some fresh pics of your team?

Now look at the copy on your pages, and your blog. You might have laid out your top predictions for 2013 – go back and evaluate those predictions. Were you on the mark or not? If your “latest trends” piece was published back in 2007, change the headline to something a little more retrospective, then write a new post bringing you into the new age of 2014.

Internal linking

Then set about creating internal links between your old blogs and the pages on your site. The more of a web you create, the more likely you are to keep readers on your site. So, if we go back to that Latest Trends piece, update your commentary to 2014, compare and link to your 2007 blog, and make sure you also create links throughout your site, perhaps to your Services, Contact, or home page.

You are likely to feel a wave of nostalgia as you read through your old blogs. Use it! This is your chance to use the #throwbackthursday #TBT hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and share it on Google+.

Next steps

Now, that you’ve had your website spring clean, it’s time to LEVERAGE all the tools and connections in your arsenal.

There are actually a lot of free tools out there that have a big impact on your searchability. You should have an updated profile on Google Places, your details should be correct in the Yellow Pages, and you should set yourselves up on business review site Yelp.

Having an active Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google + account will also boost you up the rankings – again, it goes back to building that rich web in which to trap searches.

You should also leverage existing relationships you have with clients, clubs, chambers of commerce and tradeshows.

Customer stories are excellent “social proof” of your quality. Ask your clients if they can write a testimonial for you to display on your site, and offer to do the same in return for a link. If anyone mentions your brand or displays your logo on their page, encourage them to link to your website, and if you can write something for them – like a guest blog – make sure it links back to your business.

Now you can set about LURING your audience in with exciting content that will entertain and enrich anyone who comes across. Remember, the ultimate goal is to get people to your site, and to keep them there.

Take some time to sit down with your team and map out your audience profile to determine who you are talking to, what they are looking for, and what content you can create that will attract and engage them. Then start blogging!


N.B: A point to note on guest blogging:

Guest blogging should not replicate text on your own blog as you can risk compete for authority, meaning, their site might trump yours in search, and Google might then punish you for “copying” their content. Also make sure the site you are submitting to is authoritative, relevant and trustworthy – you don’t want your guest blogging to be detrimental your brand.

To find out about Mutant Communications’ content marketing packages for businesses, drop us a line at [email protected]

How to approach bloggers and establish good relationships

Bloggers of our day have been bestowed with something that even stirs the jealous bones of news teams – loyal, trusting readers. Pictures of newly-adopted kittens, short articles about food, and event reviews filled with selfies and one-too-many canapé pictures – which would be considered taboo for traditional news outlets – live flamboyantly on blogs and entice countless readers.

What we’re seeing today is a shift of consumer preference, and oftentimes trust, in the content they consume. Rather than professionally written news pieces, many are seeking entertaining, picture-filled blog posts drizzled with humour, sarcasm and written in simple English. Consumers look to blogs to form their purchasing decisions and the marketing impact of a persuasive, well written blog post is undeniable.

Many blogs are functioning with structured editorial teams in place, but they still work differently from newsrooms, which is why brands need to do a little homework if they hope to land a spot on popular web logs.

First impressions do count, and it’s important to start off on the right foot when you approach bloggers. But how can brands actually start approaching these digital wordsmiths?

By now, you would have done your research and compiled a comprehensive list of potential bloggers who you feel best represent your brand.

While bloggers in the past might have accepted impersonal notes from PR and marketing executives, they are less appreciative of it today. Make sure you write a personalised note to each blogger, building rapport and clearly stating what your brand offers and how you’d like to partner with them. Keep in mind that they are not obliged to rave about your product or write a story off a generic press release, even if you give them a freebie.

It’s not a ‘numbers game’ anymore, so avoid the automated approach of mass emails to hundreds of people (which will likely end up in the spam folder, and result in your email address getting blocked). Focus instead on building an actual relationship with the relevant bloggers in order for them to understand and trust your product or service. Only then will they become true brand advocates.

While everyone wants the big and famous blogs with a massive following, credible smaller blogs are often easier to approach and work with, and can spur the larger blogs to take notice.

Before reaching out, start following them on social media and reading their blogs to get an idea of how they tick. Better still, become a genuine fan of their blog – start reading, sharing, and commenting on their posts. That way, you’ll understand how your brand can fit in with the blog’s narrative and come up with suitable angles.

Take the relationship from cyberspace to real life after you’ve personally written to the bloggers – nothing beats human interaction. Have a chat about your brand and make sure you highlight anything that could be of interest to their readers. The quality of your product or brand is going to inspire the blogger to write about it, much more than your tenacity or gift-giving.

Bear in mind that the aim is not to receive unpaid advertising – bloggers truthfully share their experiences about products and services. If you want to buy a sponsored spot on their blog, it will be highlighted as such.

Bloggers have real impact and genuine points of view, and genuine interactions will always yield much greater results. So get creative, and get personal! It’s time to hit the blogs.

For more information on how Mutant can help with blogger engagement, get in touch with us at [email protected]


Chase Jarvis and fiercekitty – Photowalk Gnomedex 2009 image by kris krüg is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


The Golden Circle – Focusing on the ‘Why’ in your communications

Google dethroned tech darling Apple on the 2014 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking released days ago. The departure of their charismatic leader, business choke-ups and perceived lack of innovation in recent times likely played a part in Apple’s gradual decline – but few will disagree that Apple is still one of the most important and trend-setting companies in the world.

This news reminded me of a spellbinding TED talk by business guru Simon Sinek and his concept of “The Golden Circle”. While no brand remains at the top forever, Apple is the perfect example of a business that has exceled by functioning differently. Sinek related a simple truth – the most successful brands in the world live by “The Golden Circle”. It’s a simple shift in thinking towards your business approach, but will completely change how your business communicates.


The Golden Circle is divided into three parts – what, how and why. Every business knows ‘what’ they’re selling, some know ‘how’ they do it and their USP, while few think about and communicate the ‘why’, essentially the purpose of their business.

Most businesses communicate outside in. They tell people what they’re selling, how the product works and what’s special about it, but few touch on the core purpose of their business with each product. Here’s Sinek’s revelation – truly visionary brands, like Apple, communicate from the inside out. Every communication opportunity highlights why they’re doing what they do. Apple is about innovation – creating user-friendly products that make people’s lives better. The iPhone, iMac, iPad and all their products are a result of their core purpose. This is what makes people coming back for more. They believe in the company’s vision and transform into loyal brand evangelists.

Just think about the behemoth brands – Nike hasn’t found success merely selling running shoes. ‘Just do it’ is what we can relate to. The sense that it’s time we got started, time we pushed ourselves to our limits, and the innate ability we all have to succeed if we just try. Tech giant Google is so much more than the world’s number one search engine. They want to impact how the world collects and perceives information at every level.

But this isn’t all marketing hogwash, and Sinek delves into the science behind his theory. When brands communicate leading with the ‘why’, they speak directly to the limbic system, the part of the brain that affects behaviour and accounts for our gut feeling. This influences purchasing decisions more than appealing to the rational of our brain, achieved when brands communicate the ‘what’ of products and services to consumers.

Not too long ago, I had a chat with our fearless Mutant chief, Joe Barratt, about why he started Mutant Communications. While I’m sure our team wouldn’t mind a little fame and fortune, Joe spoke about his passion for helping businesses grow, be it startups trying to find their footing or established businesses hoping to grow their presence, and that’s really what forms the basis of Mutant’s work and why we do what we do. How do we do it? We tell great stories that build winning brands. What do we do exactly? We create content and help brands communicate across different outlets and media platforms to get the word out.

So is your company telling a story framed around the ‘why’? Do your customers understand and subscribe to the same beliefs that drive your business? Have you been affecting purchasing decisions with communications that spell the purpose of your business, or have you been repeating the ‘what’, like most other businesses?

There are likely a number of companies out there that sell similar products and provide similar services, a few that define themselves with a USP akin to yours, but not many with visionary business beliefs, and who communicate that well.

Now is a great time to review how you’ve been narrating your brand story and your approach to every communications decision, starting with the ‘why’.

For ideas on how you can communicate the ‘why’ in your business, get in touch with us at [email protected].

Why? image by BuzzFarmers is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Screen capture of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, How great leaders inspire great action

More bang for your blogging buck: How to keep a good blog

One of the things I love about PR and marketing is how aware we have to be of consumer trends, and I’ve come to realise how differently consumers act in a social-media / technology-led era compared to the past. Engaging the crowd is now a more sophisticated affair and requires being fluent in the language of content marketing, SEO, web analytics and of course, blogging, among others.

There were one million blogs in 2004 and a whopping 152 million in 2013 – that’s one blog being created every half a second, according to a HubSpot webinar on blogging. Blogs are truly a phenomenal force and if well managed, can definitely help build a connection with the audience and generate leads.

Competition is stiff and you’ll need to be smart about your approach to stand out. Develop the habit of staying up-to-date on the blogosphere’s evolving trends to ensure you stay relevant and write interesting blog posts that gel with your ongoing marketing and PR efforts. HubSpot recently shared a few tips on successful blogging, which are bound to boost your blog readership and generate leads.

Long Tail Keywords.

Since the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, searches are now more effective with additional keywords and more context. For instance, Google “coffee shops” and you’ll get more results that you can handle – looking for that good ol’ cuppa joe is not so simple anymore. Being more specific and typing “coffee shop Singapore”, “coffee roasted beans Singapore” or “chill café Singapore” will yield more favourable and useful results.

Instead of specific, singular keywords, the focus has shifted to long tail keywords, phrases that are a combination of keywords to deliver targeted results (think Chinatown chicken rice stall or Tuas chemical factory, for instance) and keep in mind that the longer, more specific keywords are less common, individually, but add up to account for the majority of search-driven traffic.

So start brainstorming long-tail keywords that can help people find your business and include them in your blog posts.

Sharable content.

Your blog content needs to be accessible. People enjoy sharing news through social media – be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ – and news feeds are broadsides of the digital sphere. Social media and content depend on one another, and content that is enjoyable, shareable and insightful – and better still if it’s viral – results in higher visibility as it makes its way around the Internet.

Encourage comments.

The comment box used to be spam bait, but is now regarded as an important tool to help foster relationships and stimulate discussion. If you haven’t already, set up a comment box and get readers involved. Encourage them to voice their thoughts, listen to their suggestions and complaints, and respond diligently. Always remember, it’s a two-way communication.

Guest blogging.

Guest bloggers with wide appeal might seem like a great idea but approach this with caution. Yes, the links can increase your SEO rankings and visibility but only if the blog post is unique. Duplicating posts from your own site could actually drop your own search ranking if Google reads you as having copied from another more popular site.

Topical vs Evergreen content.

Topical posts are trendy, time-sensitive content that include press releases, announcements, and lighthearted photos or memes on social media. While it helps to spike page views, you will need to push content regularly to maintain the numbers.

Evergreen content is relevant today, tomorrow and for a long time to come. This relevance ensures a steady stream of readers who can always refer to the content for insights, regardless of how long the article has been published. Writing tips, advice on changing engine oil in an automobile, or suggestions for a personal savings plan all fall under that category. For a healthy balance, it’s advised that 80% of blog content should be evergreen, and 20% topical.

Content Calendar.

Plan what topics you’re crafting and when you’ll be putting up your blog posts. We find this easiest with a spreadsheet clearly defining the topics, targeted upload date, listing specific owners and deadlines. Ensure that you’re uploading content at least once every week for the next six months.

One voice.

Whether it’s a blog, a Facebook status update, Tweet, or thoughts regarding a news article shared on LinkedIn – make sure you use a common voice that applies across all platforms. The audience will grow to relate to and trust this voice and more importantly, start connecting with you.

All this seems like a long list, but will soon come as second nature with practice. I find it helpful to go through these points as you review your newly written blog posts. You’ll optimise your content by heaps and ensure your brand is associated with quality by every reader and potential lead.

If you’d like to discuss your blogging / content marketing strategy, or if you’d like help crafting riveting blog posts, get in touch with us at [email protected].

7/52 – ghosts in the night {life on pause} image by PhotKing ♛ is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Hello, Asia! (How to communicate your brand and engage with media)

That feeling of complete helplessness that occurs when you find yourself in a strange land, surrounded by unrecognisable smells, tastes, sounds, faces or landmarks, is culture shock.

Sometimes it comes as a complete surprise – you might be well-travelled in a region, and well-versed in what you do, but still feel completely alien in a certain corner of the world. This is particularly true of Asia, both a melting pot and a large patchwork of countries, cultures and languages.

Watching the news or picking up a paper in a new place can be a big indicator of the shift in culture, language and tradition. It’s no surprise then that despite the regions being very geographically close, news outlets across Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore operate very differently. Whilst you might be well-versed on Asia as a region, you’ll need to understand and manage the complexities of the each specific country or city’s journalists’ motivations and media processes if you want to build a solid foundation for your brand.

In subsequent blog posts, we’ll elaborate how media in the key markets operate. Firstly, here are some journalist traits we’ve noticed are consistent in the region:

  • Deference and face, leading to shyness and reticence to ask questions in public settings
  • Language and cultural barriers (where ‘yes’ can sometimes mean ‘no’)
  • Displays of passiveness and quietness
  • Preference of personal over public contexts
  • Often younger – bright and clever, but without depth of knowledge and experience
  • Everything is captured, socialised and shared

While journalists differ from country to country, media still encompass a core, similar structure across geographical boundaries. Anywhere in the world, media want the freshest, breaking, headline-grabbing news. Journalists have a duty to inform, entertain, and enlighten their audiences – your story should make their job easier. News editors are looking for human interest and relevance. What’s the benefit for my country, and how will this development affect my people? Apart from words, media are also looking for sound-bites and visuals (even in print).

Be it Singapore, Japan, Indonesia or another Asian country, your in-person media engagements as part of public relations should always check the following boxes:

  • Always check for understanding
  • Be doubly accurate with numbers
  • Provide written summaries (spoon feed)
  • Prepare to lead the conversation, but don’t be afraid to stop
  • Prepare for the ‘door stop’
  • Prepare to be recorded and photographed endlessly by a smartphone wielding media

So, what’s your story? Regardless of your business or industry, you need to package a story and message that’s relevant to your audience. How will your announcement impact people? How is it relevant to the market? What solution does this provide to a specific market’s problem? Walk a mile in your future customer’s shoes to fully understand the context of the situation, and then execute a tailored and well-suited plan.

Here is a quick list of tips you can check against before you pitch stories to media:

  • Make sure you know where the journalist is from. For example, Bangkok Post is different from Reuters, and needs to be handled differently
  • Put your audience in the headline
  • Repeat your key point or message
  • Provide a written copy that can be used
  • Get help to prepare in advance – the best don’t leave this to chance

Before you dive into PR campaigns in a new, unfamiliar Asian market, take a moment to understand and appreciate the complexities of the media in your target country or region.

You might also be interested in Mutant’s handy guide for writing press releases. Get in touch to find out how we can help build your brand reputation in Asia and engage with media. Reach us at [email protected].

Hong Kong 2013 image by Singaporean photographer Adrian Seetho


Who are you? Finding your brand voice

You might have your elevator pitch down, and you might have a new strapline to display alongside your logo, but do you and your team really know the personality behind your branding?

Do you know how your brand speaks, who it speaks to and how it reacts in stressful situations?

I’m not talking about the introduction to the brand document you pass to new staff members on their first day of the job and I’m not talking about the logo guidelines drawn up by your communications team. I’m talking about defining the way your brand acts, speaks and reacts every day, be it walking down the street to lunch or through its daily interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. The “brand voice” I am talking about extends to phone manner and emails written to customers or clients.

You probably already have a brand voice without labeling it as such, but it’s still a useful exercise to sit down with your team every couple of months and tweak or reinforce who you are, what you are trying to say, and how to get this acrosss on social media.

Set aside an hour and allow space for everyone to go wild, scribbling words and ideas all over whiteboards, rolls of paper, or even walls.

The aim of the exercise is to ensure each member of your team is representing your brand in the best possible light and also to develop much greater efficiencies in your social engagement.

Too many small businesses and organisations waste hours on Facebook or Twitter posts that either don’t reach or don’t resonate with their target audiences. Usually it’s because they’re either on the wrong platform, or they’re sharing the wrong sort of content.

Defining who you are and who you are not will help your team determine which networks you should be on, or perhaps more important which you should not bother with, and what you can be doing to make best use of your time on social media.

The second part of the session encourages your team to develop realistic steps towards achieve the brand’s social media goals. It also asks you to come up with specific, realistic targets, such as an increasing your number of followers or shares per post. Reviewing these targets every few weeks or months will help you determine whether or not you are on track, and allow you to make adjustments to your social media calendar.

Need to find your voice? Drop a message to [email protected] 

Why you need content marketing, and 5 simple ways to kick it off

Consumers today are smarter and more discerning than they used to be. They know what they want, know where to get it, and more often than not, can see right through fancy hard-selling or in-your-face marketing. Instead of blindly reaching out through paid ads or cold calls, arm your marketing arsenal with a trove of informative, interesting content that give your audience something they are looking for.

You’ll find customers react far more favourably to free information than they do to a free balloon or sticker, and by releasing commentary, you establish your brand as a thought leader and trustworthy, industry guru. Those who actively seek out your content are more likely to develop trust in your brand, products and services, and over time become valuable leads, and customers.

Is it top-level executives in sharp-looking suits and expensive ties, spatula-wielding housewives with a penchant for cooking, or geeky high-schoolers who want to lay their hands on the newest tech gadgets? Understand the profile of your target audience in your markets and, more importantly, the common problems they face.


What you create should focus on accomplishing the following – solving the problems faced by your target audience or providing insight into relevant issues and topics. This establishes your brand as a thought leader and problem solver, building trust with your audiences. To maximise your searchability, make sure you weave in terms your audience is likely to be seeking answers to.

Company blogs are one of the best ways to share uninhibited, long-form content and well-written pieces are bound to drive hits and keep people coming back for more. For instance, a recruitment agency developing content for its target audience of job seekers and employers can gear its posts towards solving commonly-faced problems and providing useful information – job seekers might want to know about the hiring landscape, how to fine-tune their CV and tips for job interviews, while employers would be keen to learn about hiring through social media and the best ways to headhunt and attract talent.

Social media is undoubtedly one of the main spheres people share and consume content – the common denominator among excellent content is that they either provide insight or entertain in a manner that’s compelling and engaging. Be it cross-posting your blog post, sharing a relevant industry news article or posting a meme, it needs to be interesting to your followers.

Snippets of company-branded content in the form of tip sheets, infographics and snazzy posters are neat content offers that brands can also share with followers to up their game. Visually appealing, entertaining and oozing of brands’ individuality, these pieces of content can help build brand recognition through insights and advice.


Company blogs can easily be housed on your website, and creating an extra tab on the website menu makes it more likely to gain readers and followers. Harnessing the power of social platforms is a must for businesses, but the key is to only jump on board the most appropriate networks for your needs. Take time to decide which one works best for you.

B2B brands might find LinkedIn to be much more effective than Facebook as it reaches out to the right target audience who are willing to spend time consuming content for professional insights, instead of browsing cat memes. B2C brands such as fashion companies might prefer Instagram to showcase its products on a visual-driven platform


Start with baby steps – create one piece of content per week and share two to three social media updates, dependent on your desired platform. This could be a blog post on an industry trend, a Facebook update with offers for customers and a LinkedIn update with a link to a news article. When you’ve established a consistent content push, you can aim for publishing two to three blog posts a week and daily social media updates. To help boost hits, the best times to post on social media are often during daily commutes and post-lunch.


1) Define your target audience

Map their profiles, problems and goals.

2) Consider the most suitable platforms for your content push

Which social medium works best? Is a company blog the best platform to air your views?

3) Draft up a content calendar for 3 months

List relevant weekly blog post topics, consider interesting angles for social media and populate the calendar with non-time sensitive infographics, memes or news articles, then set aside time for content creation and social media updates, and assign deadlines.

4) See how others do it

Check out your competitors, take notes on what they’re doing well and how they’ve messed up – reference good ideas and make tweaks to your content marketing strategy.

5) Track your results

Don’t let your work go to waste without knowing its business impact. Track daily site visits, find out which sources your leads come from, understand what articles gain the most traction, then tweak your content approach to ensure best results.

To find out how Mutant can help with your content marketing needs, get in touch with us at [email protected]

Why bloggers can deliver the marketing boost you need

It has been close to two decades since the web log’s humble beginnings in 1997. Now, from The Huffington Post’s insightful business advice to Perez Hilton’s latest revelations of celebrity shenanigans, blogs have woven their way on to everyone’s daily reading lists, and are now seen as very effective platforms for influencing consumers, particularly the Millennials.

Bloggers today are viewed as opinion leaders who represent a new era of knowledge and advice, shedding light on what they know best, be it health, fashion, food, politics, or travel. And they entertain while doing so.

So where do bloggers fit into your business equation? As the lines between old and new media become blurred, bloggers have become the virtual advertising billboard of our day and act as gateways to introducing your services and products to a highly-targeted readership.

Some may think that blogging has run its course, but the numbers prove otherwise, and the percentage of readers and consumers of blogs look to be growing even bigger.

According to Ingnite Spot, 77 per cent of Internet users read blogs, while 81 per cent of US consumers trust advice and information from blogs.

One of the reasons for repeated visits to the best blogs lies in the unique voice of blogs – they are interesting, recognisable and they entertain, and the best ones make sure that voice rings true across its content, be it Nike or Barack Obama. These voices are heard by loyal followers who read the content regularly.

A survey revealed that 85 per cent of consumers research and read online reviews for local businesses, and more than 60 per cent of online purchases were made based on a blog post, according to Ignite Spot.

Loyal readers, or followers, which can be in the five or six digit range, develop a high regard for their content and opinion, and will share posts with their own audiences on social platforms. Blogs sometimes even reach full circle and get coverage in traditional media too.

Many blogs set themselves apart from traditional media by providing an ‘insider’s view’ into the story, relaying the experience through a participant’s lens. At a fancy black tie whiskey event, for instance, you might find news journalists stepping back and reporting on the hard facts – product details, visitor turnout, snippets of the CEO’s speech – as is expected of them, but bloggers have free rein to immerse themselves in the experience, writing about the glamourous celebrities, the stinging taste of the single malt whiskey, mouth-watering canapé, drab decoration, you name it. They offer something more personal and opinionated – despite being biased in some instances – that fulfills the need of many readers who wished they were present at the event.

Blogs thrive today, so much that blogging has become a full time job for some – and a lucrative one at that. Just take a look at BryanBoy, a fashion blogger from Philippines who has a Marc Jacobs bag named after him, or Xia Xue, a lifestyle blogger who underwent plastic surgery sponsored by Singapore broadcast company, MediaCorp.

These larger-than-life cyber moguls started on the same footing as many of us.

Despite the obvious success of their writers and owners, the power of blogs is still underestimated, or misunderstood. There are so many to choose from and it can get quite daunting for one who isn’t familiar with the blogosphere. Where do you start? Who is appropriate to represent your brand? How do you connect with them?

Finding a suitable blogger who aligns with your brand is more manageable than it seems, and all it takes is staying abreast of the different social media platforms and blog content, and ultimately establishing relationships with bloggers, some of whom might be influential personalities.

For help on finding the best bloggers for your brand, get in touch with us at [email protected].

Rosie the Blogger. image by Mike Licht is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Why you need PR and how to be good at it

I love writing down my thoughts and voicing my opinions – and the fact that my company has a blog on which I can do this is great. But every now and then, I come across something that says it all for me.

This piece in Venturebeat is one of those pieces, and answers that burning question I find myself addressing at every networking or drinking or socialising event.

Why on earth is PR beneficial to a business? People will ask this all the time. “I have my stickers, I have my website, I have my fliers, I even have my ad appearing in high-profile magazine. Why do I need PR?”

Or, “why can’t I just write a release and send it out myself?”

Well, when was the last time you opened a spammy email from a stranger talking about a new product, or shared a static ad on Facebook. When was the last time you wore a branded sticker on your lapel to support a brand you didn’t have a personal connection to? Unless the advertiser is running a multimillion dollar campaign employing the world’s top satirical advertising creatives, your stickers are unlikely to contribute anything more to society, than more non-recyclable waste.

Vivek Wadhwa, formerly of Seer Technologies and Relativity Technologies, relays his experiences of PR both with, and without a proactive strategy.

At his first company Seer, the team invested heavily in marketing, but was afraid of the media, extremely protective of their messaging and hesitant when it came to pushing their news. Result = no one had heard of them, despite incredible achievements that blew the big players like Microsoft under the water.

A few years later at Relativity, Vivek took a completely different approach, commenting on things the media were interested in, and responding quickly with honest, headline grabbing answers. The company’s products might not have been the sort of thing to stop press, but they provided a window into their world, and spun the fact that they had a team of Russian ex-military and intelligence programmers into a story about them being a James Bond-esque organisation.

Result = featured on all the major TV networks and achieved more than 1000 articles in major publications, including front page of The Wall Street Journal, and named one of the top 25 “coolest” companies in the world by Fortune magazine.

Here are Vivek’s tips for running a PR campaign, and they are very much in line with the way we work here at Mutant Communications, in building relationships, links and thought leadership across multiple media and audiences.

  • Read dozens of business publications. Understand what topics are newsworthy and which journalist writes about what topic, then offer them your insights.
  • Focus on the needs of the journalist and not yours. No one is interested in your product. If a journalist asks you a question, answer that, and don’t obsess with getting your product covered. Build a relationship over time, and it will likely pay off with your getting the coverage that you are looking for.
  • If you do have something to announce, put it in the context of a “news hook”.  Make your message timely and relevant to what is happening in the industry or the world.
  • Don’t ignore small or regional publications. You may want to be in The Wall Street Journal, but it is not likely to cover you until you have built great credibility. Your best starting point is small, industry-oriented or regional publications. They are a lot easier to approach and will likely be interested in breaking your story.
  • Be available—even when you are busy. Journalists on tight deadlines need sources to quote as fast as they can get them.  The first to respond usually get featured.
  • Be honest. You will find that journalists have excellent “bullshit detectors”. If you mislead them even once, not only will they never write about you in a positive way; they’re likely to tell their associates about their experience.  I confide in journalists all the time.  I have not had even one journalist report on something that I said was off the record or was on background.
  • Be yourself, and express strong opinions. If you’re going to hedge your bets or be diplomatic, your message will drown in caveats.
  • When all else fails, write your own story yourself. The blogosphere has democratized journalism over the past few years, and there are hundreds of blog sites where you can post your opinions. You can even set up your own.

Thanks Vivek, for beautifully summarising the slides I present my potential clients.

Why hire people to do your PR? Because more than anything, they are clever storytellers who know how to get the media and target audiences excited about you. Then, they help you craft your messages to best generate buzz, and ultimately boost your business.

To learn more about how a PR campaign can benefit you, and how to use blogging to your advantage, contact Mutant Communications. Joseph Barratt: [email protected]

Newspaper. image by James Yu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

10 easy steps to organising a stellar fashion event

Events are an important part of a fashion brand’s PR campaign. They can also be a fashion brand’s worst nightmare, but here are 10 easy steps to a successful shindig.

I’m definitely not going to give you my two cents on the latest fashion, but I do have an idea of how you can make your fashion brand or concept fabulously famous through a memorable, successful event.

Events can be scary, but they can also be very effective marketing tools.

All you need to remember is this very simple acronym.


(Purpose, Audience, Channels, Budget, Strategy, Measurement, Management, Equipment, Details, Follow-up).

Let’s start with purpose. There must be a reason you are promoting your brand or event. Do you have a new line? Do you have an interesting guest? Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Pick a purpose that will run through all the elements of your event.

Audience. Who do you want to attend your event, and who do you want to hear about it? Fashion bloggers? Cashed-up mums? Investors? Identify the groups who absolutely want to hit, as well as those it would be nice to hit.

Channels. There are so many to choose from now – be it the multitude of social media platforms, broadcast radio or TV, flier drops in shopping areas, blogs, newspapers, magazines, ads on taxis and buses. When you know WHO you are talking to (audience), it’s easier to firm up which channel is best for reaching them.

Budget and timeline. Bor-ing, you say. But this will make or break your event. These days, brands are looking for creative ways to do more with less, but things you may still need to pay for include venue, talent, F&B and marketing materials. Keep costs down by using your already-established relationships, by building partnerships with other complementary brands that reflect the same purpose and audience, and try to be clever about aligning your event with something your audience is already excited about (increasing their likelihood of attendance and support).

Strategise. Now that you have your budget and timeline, you need to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. How are you going to hit your audience via those channels you had established? How are you going to communicate your purpose? How much time do you have till the event takes place and what do you need to accomplish each week leading up to it?

Measurement. Before you start executing your bulletproof strategy, set yourself some targets. What will determine the success of your event? Media mentions? Attendance numbers? Sales? Make sure you place adequate weighting and direct budget towards the channels that will ensure you hit those targets.

Management. You’re nearly there, but before you press play, think about what you can do to make sure the people you are communicating with get the right message. Look at the materials you are giving press, and make sure there are no burning questions left unanswered. Brief your spokespeople on what they should and shouldn’t say to any press and make sure you prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Equipment. Technically this is the event management team’s role, but really, if the music is too loud, or there aren’t enough microphones, or your slideshow won’t play, or the lighting makes all the guests look a bit unwell in photos, there’s no point in having an event. Make sure you personally check all these components before the event.

Details. Again, you might think this is the event coordinator’s role, but what are the location, food, invitations, music and collateral going to say about the brand?

A lack of food, an awkward location, deafening music and tacky collateral can be all it takes to deter the media from what could otherwise be an amazing story.

Follow-up. So the event’s over – now don’t let all that hard work go to waste.

How are you going to track the success of the event, thank guests and media for their support, and give them something to hang on to, to ensure they continue to be interested in what you are doing? How can you make best use of the database you have built? A follow-up email with links to photos and regular (but not spammy) updates to let the guests know when you have special offers, or just that you are around, ensures you continue to build on the success of the event.

So, there you have it. A killer event, as easy as it is to say PACBSMMEDF.

Have a chat with us about organising a media event and getting the word out to ensure a successful shindig. Reach Joseph at [email protected]

Stop looking! Fashion Runway 2011 image by Henry Jose is licensed under CC BY 2.0.