In the last decade and more doing PR for companies in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia, one of the biggest takeaways has been that if used correctly, PR is the most effective growth tool available to any brand.
Since my early days putting in the hours at the large agencies to my forays in-house with stints at startups and corporates, the demand for the industry has never faded. However, what has become apparent is the lack of clarity on how to make PR work for your brand.
Using that hard-earned experience and countless hours of research, I’ve compiled a few trade secrets for you to use for your startup
Use the media for their reach not SEO
The media are a great tool that often have platforms with great domain authority. Think Forbes, Tech Crunch and even The Straits Times offer amazing SEO value if they include your backlink. However, where there real value lies is their reach as a trusted news source, so do not under utilise a chance to be featured in the news.
A strong PR campaign that hits all the buttons – positive, strong messaging, and a fun and great story – often results in great business success. Successful campaigns can yield great success such as a flood of inbound leads, a bump in downloads of an app or even help educate the masses about important issues.
PR is often that igniter that every brand needs to explore and by focusing on doing it the right way and getting into the right publications, it can lead to strong results. One of the main reasons is that people trust news more than advertisements. Ads are sponsored content, which brands have complete control of and consumers know that. PR stories are built on providing journalists with a potential story that they build themselves and are not influenced by the brand. Wonder which one I’ll trust more?
Consumers love success stories
Brands often come to us with a simple premise – here is our product, make it shine. That’s fine, but honestly what really gets the consumers excited are success stories that are inspirational.
Most startups use newsletters as a way to engage their network, but how excited are you going to get about a long educational newsletter? Probably not that excited. However, a fun and interesting newsletter that adds value to your daily reads might be something you as a consumer look out for. That’s where brands can excel.
If you are a young startup without much experience, then start creating your own inspirational content like personal success stories. Struggling to maintain that, then look at your peers or industry and highlight successes there. Educate the public about the industry and how you can help them become one of your inspirational stories.
Hard work is a must
A common misconception that plagues the industry (yes, I said plagues) is that PR is simple and hardly a skilled service. Nothing could be further from the truth. The challenge of getting a story into the news is tough and some even try shortcuts that rarely ever end well.
There is no shortcut I’m afraid, but there is also a high chance of success if you put the effort in. From writing amazing press releases to spending time to engaging the media even when not pitching a story, does help improve your chances of being featured in the news.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, think that spamming journalists with a dozen emails a day about the same thing will improve your chances and show you working hard. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to give them time to see your emails or messages, think about it and then respond. Be smart with your follow-ups and give them a reason to want to write a story in the first place. FYI long wordy emails with a lot of jargon is not a good reason to a journalist to write a story.
Hopefully, you will use this information to help your brand get featured in the news. So start now.
About the author
Terng 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.
This is a sponsored post by SYNC.