A common mistake most startups make is looking at PR like a necessary evil rather than a genuinely effective business growth tool. Working in PR for over a decade has thought me a couple of things or two about helping businesses scale, but showcasing that value to entrepreneurs is a bit of challenge. You see, most of them don’t understand PR and do not believe it is actually effective.

The main reason for this is the technical nature of many startups in the region and their focus on KPIs and ROI without putting proper context to these numbers.

Measurement is possible

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Judging successful PR campaigns has usually been tied to number of articles generated, positive vs negative sentiment and other factors, which are not directly tied to business goals. This isn’t ideal for young startups that value every single dollar spent and need to see returns in the form of growth or new business.

Tying your PR campaign to business goals is possible and in my opinion, the only way to ensure PR stays relevant in today’s changing business world.

What you should be measuring

How do you define success?

Look at what you consider to be a success in business and tie your PR goals to that. If you’re looking at inbound lead generation, increasing web traffic or visibility in the investment sector, then make sure your PR is focused on that.

At SYNC, we fight against having to use the amount of coverage as a KPI for success, because it doesn’t actually mean success, it just means we can get your brand featured in a publication.

Let me use an example to illustrate my point a bit more clearly.

We work with Konsyg, a Sales as a Service brand, that is based in Singapore but covers the global market. When they were looking for publicity, we decided to focus on getting them the right type of coverage in the media that would generate genuine business leads. So we decided to pitch a story to Tech Collective (hi guys), about the problem with sales and the mentality towards sales in the region.

The story went viral (I hate to use this word, but a few hundred shares does count as viral in a business context) and CEO William Gilchrist was able to generate real revenue and business leads from a single article.

I highly doubt that we would have been able to secure similar results if we hadn’t focused our efforts on the right media, with the right topic and also worked with the client to help proactively use the coverage as a prospecting and sales tool.

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Why this matters

As much as we like to see PR as a love-child of the marketing and advertising department and the media call it the ‘dark side’, thus allowing them to say he/she’s gone over to dark side whenever a journalist switches careers to PR, it is an effective and exceedingly efficient business tool.

The industry as we see it now is a bit stagnant and doesn’t quite know how to properly work with the growing relevance of startups and a brand new market segment that honestly did not exist a few short years ago.

Agencies are trying and mostly failing to adapt to the changing work scopes and requirements, which means not being able to balance budgets and still trying to fight amongst themselves for the 1% that is made up of a few dozen companies.

There is a whole market of untapped potential in the region that requires a little bit of education but are essentially ready for PR to become the catalyst they need. So maybe it is time to rethink the way you see PR.

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This article was contributed by Terng Shing Chen, CEO of SYNC PR.

About the author

Terng Shing - Profile photo smallTerng Shing is the Founder and CEO of SYNC PR, a PR and content marketing startup that uses technology to reduce time wasting and administrative tasks in delivering results. Based in Singapore, Terng Shing has been focused on helping startups and SMEs build their brand story through media and content.

His experience includes a decade of work in PR and communications agencies, managing top-tier fortune 500 companies to the leading startups in Southeast Asia. Terng Shing has a passion for innovative communications and is convinced that PR is the next great industry to see positive disruption.