More than words – why PR should embrace data

The world of PR is more than words. As data is becoming increasingly democratised, ‘big data’ buzzwords are flooding into every industry – including PR. While the days of merely managing relationships and clippings are over, data is a highly crucial factor for successful campaigns today. PR professionals are experts in creating original media angles and pitching stories. But data can help to refine and sharpen these angles even further.

Many tech companies find it difficult to justify or see the immediate value of hiring PR. However, the business insights of companies can be the missing piece that helps to showcase thought leadership, gives a new market perspective and makes stories more interesting to the media and their readers.

PR is not product release

Product news releases are a big part of the PR world, but editorial teams have taken a strict stance on not publishing anything too closely-related to product releases. In today’s world, readers are far more discerning about advertising and sponsored content, therefore it’s crucial for media outlets to be objective. This makes it even harder for smaller companies to be heard at all. So, why would companies still hire PR professionals to create and distribute product releases?

A mere product release no longer has much impact in today’s busy media world. Data doesn’t just indicate a number of PR hits – it can actually proof points. Putting things into perspective, data can offer context and new PR angles. Using simple metrics, companies can share their real success stories. No matter if it’s the launch of a new product or industry trends – all of it can easily be quantified with ROI and other gathered data.

Turning data into insights

Collecting data before the conception of the PR campaign can offer key insights, shining a new light on the company’s product release. The successful communication of new products needs not only the accurate description of its benefits but demands a wider business context and key insights from the market. For example, a company offering ICT solutions won’t receive much media coverage with a mere product release. However, paired with a survey insight, such as ‘95% of APAC CIOs are actively seeking help with the digital transformation of their companies’, a product release can become major industry news.

Here are 4 tips to incorporate data into your PR strategy:
  1. Analyse product and market
  2. Interpret data with focus on product-market fit
  3. Align product communication with key market or business insight
  4. Design PR campaign around insights and product

Once you have collated your data from your research, it needs to be interpreted. An analysis is essential in this situation. PR professionals need to be able to slice, dice, and analyse data that drives new insights and interests journalists, whilst ensuring the company is represented in the best possible way.

Need some help to strengthen your PR messages with insightful data? Drop us a message to [email protected]

How young brands can create content

Is your company still at its beginning? Nobody really knows who you are? A content marketing campaign is the way forward. The question, however, is where and what kind of content you should create. Your options include thought leadership articles, industry reports, creative infographics, white papers, press releases, consumer guides and a growing stream of publishing platforms. With an increasing amount of content choices, it’s hard to pick the right one.

If no one has ever heard of you, it’s important to make a good first impression. Creating content for your brand is the best way to trigger and control the impact you want to make. Here are a few questions you need to consider when creating content for your still young and unknown brand:

1. What platform to use?

Social media has seemingly made it easy for brands to reach far and wide, but the truth is that it’s increasingly hard to break through the noise, especially if you don’t have a sufficient following yet. As there are a large variety of platforms to explore, you can’t be everywhere simultaneously. Not even the most established companies are present on all social platforms. The trick is to concentrate your efforts. But where?

If you know your business and customers, you probably have a good idea where you might find the right audience. If you are an e-commerce business trying to reach consumers, you want to be on Facebook and Instagram. But if you are a B2B company, you will have better chances of promoting yourself on LinkedIn and Twitter. When you have decided on a platform, you should explore its various features. Don’t get distracted by toying around on other platforms. Although it’s recommended to have profiles on multiple platforms and repost content there, your primary content creation efforts need to be concentrated on one platform only – at least in the beginning. After conquering one platform, you can attempt to dip your feet elsewhere.

2. What kind of content to create?

Choosing the right platform for your business is just the first step.  Next, you need to think about the type of content you want to produce. No matter the industry, it is ideal to use a variety of content types. That said, content works differently across industries. While no one will pay attention to your white paper if you are in the e-commerce space, everybody will take notice if you are a data analytics company.

Here are a few questions to get you started on finding a content match for your company:

  • What are other companies in your industry doing?
  • What can you do better?
  • What is your expertise that differentiates you?
  • What value is your content adding to users and consumers?
  • What highlights your business best?
3. Where to begin?

Content marketing has become hugely popular, but often brands don’t think through their strategies enough. Before blogging and posting like there is no tomorrow, you need to define what you want to achieve. Most companies want to increase awareness, generate leads, drive conversions, collect emails or achieve similar goals. All of which are reasonable goals, but you need to define a goal that is aligned with your business objectives.

Before creating your very first post, you need to ensure that your website is up-to-date, mobile-optimised, offers a simple way to contact you and depicts your company in the best way possible. Why is this important? Imagine your content goes viral and plenty of traffic and leads come to your website, but your contact form doesn’t work or your website appears clunky on mobile – all of your content efforts go straight out of the window. Therefore, before creating any content, make sure you are ready to receive the traffic and leads it will generate.

4. Can you do it yourself?

One blog post per month is not an effective content marketing strategy. If this is all you have time for, you might as well not do it. You must remember that you are not the only one fighting for consumers’ attention. Once you have assessed your content needs, you need to be dedicated to executing it.  

While some brands begin their content journey with freelancers or in-house, others work with content agencies right from the get-go. It’s not a one size fits all approach. Think about what is most effective for your company. If you are a B2B company, you might want to ask an agency to create content, but handle the direct engagement on Twitter yourself. Take on what you are confident with. If your company and an e-commerce and consumer-facing, content is even more crucial for your traffic, brand awareness, and campaigns. Depending on the size of your business, you might want to consider an in-house content team. If that isn’t possible for you yet, you can hire a content strategist, who can orchestrate the creation of content with agencies or freelancers.

Need help with content creation for your brand? Drop us a note at [email protected]

PR or Branded Content – Which Is Your Best Bet?

While native advertising still retains its appeal under the marketing umbrella today, the journalistic form of branded content has grown to become marketers’ new weapon of choice, as they have greater control over the content published. But is branded content really easier, faster and cheaper than PR?

Given the overlap between both strategies, some may even argue that branded content will eventually come to replace the jobs of public relations pros. When slapped with a budget limit, marketers are often forced to weigh one option over the other. Others are spoilt for choice on the channels to employ for their messages to be heard loud and clear. As a marketer, how do you decide which strategy works best for a business? Here are a few questions you need to consider.

Who are you targeting?

Defining your target audience from the beginning is key to shaping the outcome of your storytelling efforts. This includes having a strong understanding of the media consumption habits of your target audience – where do they “lurk” on- and offline, what type of content do they consume, and how do they react to various types of content?
It is also imperative to be on top of existing regulations and policies pertaining to branded content, especially on social media platforms. Facebook requires the brand to clearly indicate that the content published is branded, while Influencers collaborating with brands are required to explicitly highlight the commercial nature of their content with hashtags such as #sponsored or #SP.

How will your content benefit your audience?

While branded content allows companies to leverage on the reach and engagement of media publications, consumers have become more discerning than ever. This means they can easily tell branded content and advertorials apart from journalistic articles. It also means they will make a conscious effort to avoid such articles.

At the end of the day, if you’re putting your money on branded content, consider how you can craft content that is compelling enough to stir the interest of your audience or share new knowledge with them. A job board’s main purpose, for example, is to have jobseekers come on board, create their profiles and land a career with them. But with so many job boards readily available out there today, job boards have expanded into offering free, targeted career advice for jobseekersWhile career advice does not appear to have an immediate connection with a job board business’ main function, it serves as another avenue to drive brand recall while adding value to a jobseeker’s job search. The next time a jobseeker thinks about job searching, the particular brand whom they’ve interacted with would remain at the top of their minds.

How much time do you have?

Behind every successful PR campaign, is a great number of hours put into preparation. This includes crafting the right brand key messages, identifying the relevant media outlets, drafting press releases and building the company’s press kit. Having ample time to pull the materials together can aid to the overall success of the PR efforts.

But if you really can’t wait at least a month to start seeing some media traction from your PR team, branded content can be a quicker alternative to achieve a similar end goal. Whether it’s partnering up with a media house or collaborating with influencers on a post, a video or a blog post, these factors can all be controlled to suit your needs.

What are your budgets?

Just like advertising, branded content is a reliable way of securing desired placements within your choice of media publications, allowing your messages to get heard. However, it is the quality of that branded content that will make the difference – and producing quality takes time. But while engaging a PR agency for their expertise and contacts across multiple media outlets can cost a lump sum, engaging a well-known influencer for a one-off branded Instagram shoutout, or engaging a publication for a content partnership can likely cost just as much. You also need to consider that one post alone won’t do much, as consistency and continuous engagement will keep a brand in the consciousness of consumers.

Consider your end goal

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing the marketing channels for your brand. Every channel plays its part in supporting the bigger picture of marketing. At the end of the day, it’s your understanding of your business’s needs, and knowing how to effectively blend various marketing strategies to put forth a cohesive message. That’s what will ultimately drive the best results for your business.

Want to talk more about getting your story out there? Drop us a message to [email protected] 

 

3 PR takeaways from the UK general election

Calling a snap general election ahead of Brexit negotiations caught almost everyone by surprise. With the expectation that Theresa May’s Conservative party would gain a larger majority to prevent any opposition to the Brexit deal, and the Tories being far ahead in any opinion poll, the odds were in her favour. At least they were meant to be. As the dust settles on the UK snap General Election, we can take a step back and consider the top PR takeaways from the crash and successes of the campaigns.

Avoid the U-turns

It goes without saying that May has suffered. One of the biggest PR disasters of her campaign has been the lack of and even loss of trust due to a number of U-turns she made. Here’s a look at all the back-pedalling that went down:

  • Let’s begin with the idea of calling of a snap election, after categorically stating that it would not happen: “There isn’t going to be one. It isn’t going to happen. There is not going to be a general election,”.
  • Then came ‘Dementia Tax’,  the Conservative’s proposal for adult social care.  The party first said that people with less than £100,000 in assets would have to pay for care, but four days later announced a cap on social care costs.

All this backtracking made the party appear weak and wobbly to the British public. Instead of jumping to decisions and then rescinding, much more respect is to be won by taking the time to consider the steps they were taking. Trust is one of the most important factors for your brand. As an intangible asset, it builds loyalty, meaningful relationships, and ultimately profitability. Of course, you can say your business is honest and credible, but consumers won’t buy it unless you walk the talk.

Brand personality – have one

It’s one thing to talk to 200 people, but May’s campaign visits were especially restricted, prompting many to accuse her of hiding. When you’re the face of a party, or a brand for that matter, you cannot become invisible. To relate to your target audience and really reach out to people who so desperately want to hear your voice, you must be front and center. Leaving the public to solely focus on policies and not influence or create interest is one of the biggest PR blunders you can make.

Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, engaged  with his supporters through rallies, social media and Live TV debates. This gave him the opportunity to be more visual and active, but also showed that he cared — certainly when compared to an absentee leader. The difference between the two candidates can be seen in their social media followings. Statistics from We Are Social show that the Labour Party increased its following by 61% across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the six weeks after the election was called. The Conservatives’ following rose by just 6%  in the same period.

No getting away from media training

We don’t know if her PR team shared questions prior to interview, but when asked about the ‘naughtiest thing’ she had ever done, May confessed  to running through fields of wheat. Well, social media had a ‘field day’ and had –admittedly hilarious – fun with this interview leaving #wheatandwobbly trending on Twitter.

Media training can be highly effective in helping you develop the skills to get your message across succinctly and with impact. And when you are an effective spokesperson, the media will return to you for expert commentary. Sometimes journalists can ask questions that are difficult to answer or put you on the spot. Media training can prepare you for challenging questions and any unexpected twists or turns during the interview.

Want to speak more about your PR campaign or media training? Drop a note at [email protected] 

Google and Facebook are changing the game for PR

It’s hard to imagine doing PR in a world without Google and Facebook. Headlines have to be snappy and featured photos must be ‘thumb-stop worthy’, while the copy needs strategically chosen keywords to rank higher on search. Most importantly, editors are always looking for a new tech PR story to keep their sites timely with engaging content.

Here’s a quick overview of how PR is changing in 2017 – the year Google and Facebook took 20% of global ad revenues:

Competitiveness among publications

The only constant in the world of news has always been change, as websites and magazines are battling for the reader’s attention. Traditional hard news is in decline, while soft news pulls people in with bite-sized content, punchy headlines and provocative images. The difference in 2017 is the algorithm, which now cares about how much time readers spend on a page. The more and the longer readers stay, the higher the page will get ranked on search. As a result, publishers are now looking for meatier content that is still highly engaging.

The upside is that good content is being rewarded more. The downside is that there will be even more content for the reader and the media space becomes even more competitive. We need to create even more and better content, as otherwise, editors will shoot it down faster than a North Korean missile is trying to fly across the Pacific.

PR measurement

For many years now, PR has been moving from a nebulous, immeasurable territory to something that needs to be justified to the management. Gone are the days of archaic metrics like AVE (advertising value equivalent). As publications and journalists are now sharing their stories across traceable social media channels, campaign measurement is no longer estimated by just pickups. Everything can be measured in comments, shares and likes.

Crisis prevention

A scandal or a spokesperson’s misjudgement can spread like wildfire. Just remember how Kellyanne Conway’s ‘alternative facts’ created an outcry around the world. The real-time nature of social media makes a capable PR team a necessity. The only thing better than a curing the crisis is prevention. A brand’s sentiment is subject to many factors outside their business, but good PR is still key to maintaining timely, appropriate and on-brand responses.

The speed of the news

Facebook’s feed is real-time and Google updates take mere seconds. If something catches fire, the whole forest burns. The difference now is that search and social will quickly blow a trending topic. The recent WannaCrypt incidence, for example, was instantly trending, generating four million search results in a few days. Once a topic is hot, everybody wants a piece of it. Jumping into the media cycle, there’s a higher chance content will be searched for and appear in Google’s Trending Topics sections or will trend on Facebook. As news outlets want to break more hot stories, brands have a chance to create tremendous traction.

Following up to maintain engagement, building towards the next campaign and measuring the results are always key. But given the trend towards shorter, softer and more timely stories, PR needs to change with the way the news move. It’s no longer about getting into a mainstream newspaper and giving yourself a pat on the back.

Need help with your PR campaign? Drop us a message at [email protected]

PR is evolving, and so should you

The way we communicate has completely changed over the past decade, including the concept of Public Relations and the way we do business. Recent office chatter brought up stories of how things were done back in the day. All media clippings were processed in-house and keeping a media list up to date was a job on its own. Today we outsource these services that helps us focus on what’s important.

In a rapidly evolving industry, there is no place for complacency. PR professionals should develop a hunger to learn more and become a specialist in the field. The ability to write an impressive press release and put together an amazing pitch is no longer good enough. The scope has moved far beyond drawing up a media list, writing a press release and following up. In order to make an impact across all platforms, we now have to focus and build relations with key media in the digital and social space. PR professionals or agencies that are not evolving with this landscape will be left behind.

Clients are expecting more. They want to be relevant and make an impact where it matters most. Here’s how PR and marketing can adapt to meet clients’ growing needs and demands.

Access to information in the palm of your hand

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, the way people access information has changed entirely and continues to change. Your target audience have gone from readers to users. Information is readily available to anyone, everywhere, at any time. Make sure you change with the times and keep content interesting, relevant and easy to consume. Check out our blog 3 ways to help bring your content back to life for some tips!

Find the right influencers

PR professionals and brands still dismissing influencers and bloggers as real content creators are committing professional suicide. Influencers are the most connected people today. Their devoted followers trust what they say and many influencers have larger followings than many media outlets. Collaborating with an influencer in your industry is a great way to get traction and interest in your brand or product. A word of caution though — don’t go in blind, it’s important to partner with someone who is relevant and authentic to your audience and brand.

Learn a new skill

The PR scope is getting wider and clients are demanding more. To be able to keep up with the demands, learn a new skill, understand how digital platforms work – it’s the only way to improve your offering.

Content

Content is and will always be king. Having the ability to create compelling and shareable content will make you indispensable. Learn the art of writing for various platforms. Know your audience and create captivating content that will get people talking. Great content adds value to SEO efforts and it encourages engagement, which means your content or brand will be seen.

Public Relations will always be about storytelling and being able adopt a forward thinking approach to how we achieve our targets.

Need help telling your story? Drop us a message at [email protected]

Small fish, big pond. When to outsource your marketing

Whilst almost everyone can grasp the basics of marketing, what does it take to really shine?

The overarching goal for most businesses is to expand and grow, though when it comes to marketing, too often there is a shortage of time and resources to figure out the most effective digital, transactional, and diverse strategies. Sure, you can try do it all yourself but that could lead to poor quality, potentially harming your business. And what a waste of your productive time and money that would be!

Hiring an agency to give you a hand is no longer exclusive to bigger shops, in fact, it is a lot more common than you think for small to medium size businesses to call in some experts to give them the boost they are looking for.

First and foremost, you get a VIP pass to expert industry knowledge. The benefits are immediate. A great marketing agency is not only up to scratch with marketing technologies and how to make them work for you, they also have the experience of doing it for others. This could give you the edge you need and saves you scrambling to play catch-up with competitors.

Secondly, putting your marketing in the hands of specialists, means your marketing won’t suffer due to staffing issues. Consistency is key when it comes to successful marketing, especially online – if not, Google will notice flows in your content production. Nowadays, all it takes is for your in-house marketer to go on holiday or have a sick day to affect the smooth running of your output. Outsourcing simply keeps the consistency despite what may be happening in the office. All the while, you get to focus on what your business does best. Working with the right agency not only means being up to date with latest technologies, it also helps to know where your target audience is and what systems are best suited to tap into them. All you need to do is sit back and watch your market grow with the trust that this is being done for you.

Outside knowledge from working with an agency can bring you and your business numerous benefits that you may not have considered; fresh eyes, new ideas, industry expertise and technology know-how. Skype, for example, used a team of developers in Estonia to build out their business when they first got started in 2003, leading to a buy out with Microsoft in 2011 for $8.3 billion USD. Slack is another company that has seen great success outsourcing design in its early days.

Last, but certainly not least, brand monitoring. Outsourcing your marketing function shouldn’t be a one-trick pony. A dedicated and proactive agency should be continually optimising your marketing efforts. The world is a competitive place for brands big and small, and it is crucial to lower your risk of market stagnation. Brands need to be up to speed, consistent, as well as creative with their ideas. Having a great marketing campaign but not the strategy and monitoring in place is a slippery slope for brands. However, an agency will constantly try new things to keep your business on trend to deliver agreed-upon goals.

Sound good? But where do you start. Choosing the right agency for your business can be mind boggling and full of people trying to sell you something without your objectives in mind. Find an agency that understands your brand and is willing to take the time to work out the best strategy for your business.

If you want to discuss your business potential, big or small, drop us a message at [email protected]

 

7 things to consider when choosing the right PR agency

Are you thinking about hiring a PR agency?

With so many agencies to choose from, it can definitely be an overwhelming process to find the perfect partner to help communicate the right brand message to the right audience.

Whether you have gone through the selection process in the past or you’re looking for the first time, here are the 7 crucial factors to consider when screening potential agencies:

1. Plan and prepare

First and foremost, you’ll need to decide what your business goals and objectives are. Do you want to achieve brand awareness, or make your new product launch the talk of the town? Or perhaps you want to establish yourself as an important thought leader in your field? Having a clearly defined goal helps to narrow your search down to find agencies with the right capabilities and expertises.

2. Size does matter

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Large firms may have greater manpower and resources, but smaller agencies make up for it with a nimble and flexible team that’s quick to catch changing trends. By default, smaller agencies have a flatter hierarchy with less bureaucracy and red tape. This can translate into saved time and resources, and greater visibility into operations. What’s important is to identify an agency with the right size and fit for your brand – one that has the relevant experience and staff to meet your needs.

3. Avoid a bait-and-switch

When hearing pitches, pay attention to the team. Make sure what you see is what you get. Are you dealing with a large agency where smaller accounts are handed down to junior staff? Will the team pitching to you be working on your account? Some agencies send a pitching team made up of senior partners and the top creative honchos to woo you, but once business is secured, the account will be handed off to other members of the team. Clarify who will be developing and executing the campaign to avoid unpleasant surprises.

4. Making connections

When you hire an agency, you gain their valuable contacts and connections. Make sure the agency has trusted and positive relationships with the right people and media. Besides making it faster for you to see results, your business would also be able to leverage upon those relationships beyond PR purposes.

5. Area of expertise

It goes without saying that the agency you hire should understand your industry and the basics of your field. Having to constantly explain programmatic buying to the account manager can get frustrating, so pick an agency that has experience in your industry and region. They should be able to work their magic and simplify the technical jargon, making even the most unsexy topics sound fun.

6. Practice what they preach

PR is one of the fastest moving industries, and it’s important to ensure the agency you choose is dynamic and always one step ahead.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a decision:

  1.   Are they experienced with social media?
  2.   Do they provide digital strategies in addition to traditional PR?
  3.   Are they able to provide media training?
  4.   Can they build great thought leaders?

If, for example, an agency says they specialise in executing social media strategies, check to see if they have an updated blog and social media pages. You can tell a lot about an agency through its online presence. Are they practicing what they preach?

7. Counsellor versus yes-man

While it’s important for an agency to execute campaigns well, they should also be providing strategic counsel and speak up when they feel your ideas won’t achieve much. Instead of a yes approach, an agency that challenges your ideas and offers alternative solutions works better than one agreeing to every single idea. Having an objective view and strong news judgement is one of the biggest benefits to hiring a PR agency. You want an agency that takes initiative and thinks outside of the box to find the best solution to help achieve your goals.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you choose the right PR agency with the appropriate capabilities, experience, and right fit for your company.

 

Keen to learn more about what Mutant can offer? Drop us a note at [email protected].

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

Is your startup ready to launch? Probably not.

You’ve got two engineers, a cool co-working space, a product in the works, angel funding, and a registered company name. Congrats! You’ve done a bunch of productive stuff, but it’s not enough to introduce your company to the world.

There are several fundamental steps you need to do before consulting a PR agency for the launch of your product or service. There is a common misalignment in a startup’s timeline, where the founder feels they need to get media attention for their half developed idea first, then raise more funding to complete the world’s greatest product.

Sorry friends, it’s the other way around – you need to develop a working prototype before letting your freak flag fly in the media – otherwise you’ll spend a lot of cheddar building a product with features nobody needs.

Some startups tend to think first about how they can scale their idea before they have a working product. But let’s say you spend $200 on Facebook ads, get some downloads – but your app is buggy, or has a three second loading time – that’s an automatic uninstall. Figure out first if it can be used and sold before spending tons of cash on it.

There’s only one chance to launch, so before calling up a PR company and selecting the fillings of your mini sandwiches for media, make sure you have the following, in this order.

1x solid MVP

The MVP (minimum viable product) is a working product with core features, let’s say version 1.0 of your product that lets you gain insight as to whether the world actually needs it. There’s no purpose in spending your savings building the Uber App if you don’t develop a functional “driver”  account that makes you scale the adoption among drivers.

20 x friends

Well, they could just be colleagues or neighbours – individuals who will not blast you on social media if the product is buggy. You need at least 20 people who are using the MVP and are willing to give you feedback. Here you need to ask, do people love it? Do they need it? Will this gain traction? Will they trash if after five uses? You need to build a product that can gain traction before scaling.

Feedback

It’s better to do repairs or a pivot BEFORE you launch than after you launch. A company that has an identity crisis doesn’t look good to the media. Once you have some local users, this is the opportunity to do some A/B testing, improve on the UX, and even at this early stage you still have resources to pivot if you realise no one needs blue tooth dog collars. Now ask, is it going to be scalable?

[Spoiler alert Silicon Valley S3]: You don’t want to end up like Richard when Jack Barker’s cuts up Pied Piper to make it easier to sell via the ‘Conjoined Triangles of Success’ to make it more profitable.

10x pieces of good content

Let’s say you’ve launched early and the media are flooding to your Facebook page. But umm, there isn’t anything on here except 1 post from your mom that says ‘I’m proud of you!’ Have someone create content on your company website just to show that you are truly interested in the issue you’re solving.

5 x brand ambassadors

We don’t mean the tanned and toned Instagram influencer who holds ANYTHING for $500 a post, we mean a real human being who truly LOVES your idea and product. If you have social friends who are ranting and raving with one another about your idea, then it brings some legitimacy to your product. An enthusiastic brand ambassador is worth more than any advertisement at this point.

1x small community

Once you have some people who love your product or service, it’s enough to start a community. This can just be a minimum of ten people who are talking about your dope product online. Successful startups have kicked off because there was a community around an already existing common issue: ‘Jon realised he couldn’t get meatloaf online, ‘til he met Peter and Jim who also wanted to digitise the meatloaf industry’.

People might not know they need your specific product, but if they meet other people who love it, they might realise they have been missing your product their whole life.

Always remember to start small, very very small. Do that small thing very well and invest in making it better for your fans. Only then can you grow and improve. This will reduce the amount of money wasted on building and selling a product that nobody wants.

Get in touch with us at [email protected].

This article was first published in Tech in Asia on 11th May 2016

I’ve launched an entire company on my own, I can do my own PR, right?

The email addresses of the reporters are online, I have friends of friends who can introduce me to some reporters at Channel NewsAsia. I can save some money and do my own PR, right?

Well you could. Then again, you could also buy your own property without an agent and represent yourself in court. The question is then, would that really be the best way forward?

The most important thing about PR is not the media contacts, it’s the narrative. What an agency can provide is a seasoned ear that can counsel you on what exactly are the really juicy stuff that would be interesting to press and then find a way to package it.

You know that saying: “When you are too close to a situation (in this case your business) you can’t see the big picture”? This is exactly that.

If we had donated a dollar to charity for every time a client wanted to release to media the outcome of an “internal meeting” or “upcoming revolutionary product upgrade”, the world would be a better place.

So back to packaging, how do we do it exactly? Here’s the secret. We take a magical blend of the following:

  • Your objective for the PR effort (e.g. get more users to your product, build buzz before an upcoming IPO?)
  • Your key messages (e.g. what makes your business special in the market? Reliability? Cost-effectiveness? Proven R&D?)
  • Your initiative / announcement (e.g. Doubling your headcount in Singapore? Tie-up/partnership with another firm for an initiative? Received a round of funding?)

We will use all this information to provide journalists and influencers with a comprehensive narrative that will articulate your brand in the best way possible.

Without the narrative, you may still get the coverage, but trust us, it won’t have the same impact on the readers. There’s nothing worse than securing a big interview but losing the story because the message was lost. It won’t leave a lasting impression.

Need help kickstarting your next PR campaign? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet To Building A Powerful Media List

Behind every published news article, is a compelling media story and a PR pro’s powerful stash of press contacts. This stash comes in the form of a targeted list, consisting of the contact details of new editors and journalists.

Pulling a new list together for your business is no easy feat, and can take hours on end. With the availability of media database programmes, this task’s been made much simpler. These programmes however, often involve hefty fees.

To those who are feeling the pinch of investing in such programmes, this cheat sheet is made just for you.

Who do I want to read my news?

Building your own media target list is not rocket science, but it does require some thought. For starters, consider who your audience is, and the most relevant media outlets to best reach out to them.

Besides naming these publications, break the publications down into their individual sections – think the business section of a local newspaper, or the food section of a magazine. This will effectively narrow down the scope of your search, saving you a great deal of time.

Look into major newspapers and relevant magazines

Luckily for us, most newspaper journalists have their email addresses embedded alongside their news stories. If a writer touches on a topic or story you consider to be relevant for your business, take his or her email address down.

For the magazines, check out the foreword section. It will give you a quick overview of the magazine’s editorial team and the details of the various magazine section editors.

With this, you are well on your first step to building your targeted media list.

Get online and social

If you can’t seem to locate a particular journalist’s contact details within the print publications, tapping into the online counterparts of the news outlets can be helpful. If not, move on over to the journalist’s social media pages such as LinkedIn, Twitter or even blogs.

Along the way, you will probably even learn much more about the journalist – everything from their high school, the event they have just attended and a collection of past stories they’ve covered. This knowledge can come in handy as talking points when you are in touch with the journalist.

‘Make up’ the journalists’ email

If you pay enough attention to the email addresses of journalists from the same publication, you may begin to notice how the make up of their emails remain consistent across the board.

When necessary, play around with the journalist’s first and last name to try and “guess” his email address in context of the others in the same publication. If you have the journalist’s name right, chances are, you will get the email right as well.

For example: A journalist’s email in a certain publication could look something like [email protected], combining the journalist’s first and last name to create the email address.

Suppose you’re seeking the email of another journalist within the same publication or group, your guess would then reflect the above.

If still you still can’t locate a journalist…

Simply pick up the phone and get in touch with the editorial department of the various media outlet. When on the line, be clear with the purpose of your call and whom exactly you are after.

I’m sure these friendly folks will be more than glad to assist you.

Retain the list, keep it up-to-date

Getting your list ready is one of the stepping-stones to getting the word out about your business, but the work does not end there.

Due to the nature of the industry, journalists move around, and they do it fast. As such, you will need to be on top of these movements, ensuring that your media lists are always updated with the freshest press contacts, or risk having your news stories fall off the face of the earth.

Repeat the steps above over and again – including new contacts when you spot them, and removing contacts when their emails stop working.

Need assistance on maximising the reach of your press materials? Get in touch with us directly at [email protected].

 

What a legendary Hollywood talent agent can teach you about PR

We’re in the business of shining the spotlight on other businesses. So to do a little research,  I watched a documentary on sixties Hollywood talent agent, Shep Gordon and learned a thing or two about what it takes to make other people famous.

It’s alright if you haven’t heard of him, that’s his job – to make other people famous.

In the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon you see the talent manager’s chain of life events unravel, and along the way, I picked up tips on about how he successfully managed the world’s most famous personalities at the time. If iPhones existed in the sixties, Jimi Hendrix, Dalai Lama, Janis Joplin and Alice Cooper would be WhatsApping him on the regular.

Here are the qualities that separate a novice from a true PR professional:

Mr Nice Guy wins

Professionals who work in public relations have a clear swagger to them. They have the magical ability to smooth over gaffes as if they were all part of the act. But PR agents don’t need to be overly polished snobs like Samantha from Sex and the City. PR is one of the few jobs where being nice actually gets you everywhere.

Shep’s was the king of normcore style. He was low-key, if not a little Terry Richardson-esque (sorry) in the wardrobe department.  But he was known for his amazingly warm demeanour and was super easy to get along with. This is what matters in PR. Keeping it real gives you an edge.

The sky’s the limit.

Shep had the most out-of-the-box ideas for PR stunts. He invented the concept of ‘celebrity chef’. He was the first to introduce top chefs to the entertainment industry – inviting them to appear on shows and act as ambassadors for cooking products. There are many avenues that go beyond traditional media to achieve brand awareness – he went against the tried and tested method and achieved one of the best strategies to reach out to the crowd.

Take risks – it’s okay in PR!

When getting truly creative, you always have to take a risk – it is a make or break situation that can get people talking. For Shep, any PR was good PR.

The American agent came up with a PR stunt in London, staging a breakdown of a huge truck in Piccadilly Circus, displaying a risqué photograph of a nearly naked Alice Cooper, his modesty preserved by a strategically placed snake. The streets went wild, it literally stopped traffic. Everyone wanted to know who Alice Cooper was.

 Get social (offline)

You need to be a social person to be in PR. You need to be comfortable around people and have confidence. If you’re not a social butterfly, it’s time to practice.

Every chance you get, sign up for gallery openings, networking events, after parties. Being around new people makes you more aware of how to manage different personalities, and make new friends.

Be genuine

You’ve heard it so many times – but you hardly find sincerity and genuine people, especially in the PR industry. We get flak for always wanting something in return – a piece of coverage, or a pitch. Stop this stereotype and try meeting people without a motive – have a genuine interest in the other person and always make sure to ask them about themselves before blabbing about the client you want to promote.

In a Forbes article about him, Shep was quoted, “What’s really important for me is to do compassionate business.” We need some love and compassion – and it can start with PR. It is a tough job, but Shep reminds me about how amazing it can be when done right.

#PR4EVA

For help on making your business shine, get in touch with us at [email protected]