How Has PR Evolved Over The Years?

In a fast-paced, content-driven world, audiences are highly discerning and watch  brands’ actions and behaviour with an eagle eye. They sharply observe any and all discrepancies between what brands say and the policies they end up enacting, and are generally much harder to win over as loyal customers. 

With the rise of the digital age, PR has expanded beyond its traditional scope of building goodwill, trust and awareness, and ventured into lead generation and integrated campaigns. 

So what has changed and how should PR professionals be navigating this playing field?

Evolving media landscape

Major newsrooms have undergone several rounds of restructuring in recent years. By shifting the focus from print to digital, most operate on increasingly lean editorial teams. Some publications are folding entirely. For example, Questex Asia shuttered its regional operations, which resulted in the closure of a full suite of key enterprise titles, leaving brands with fewer channels for niche technology stories. Most recently, notable marketing trade publication Mumbrella Asia exited the market after struggling with profitability.

The shrinking media pool means that newsrooms must be extra selective when it comes to shortlisting media pitches – not just because they have to identify a highly curated content fit for readers, but also due to manpower and resource limitations.  

The good news is that readers are adapting to change and are willing to pay for digital subscriptions that are worth the fee. Tech in Asia’s comeback is testament that the implementation of paywalls and subscription models can work – but only if backed by differentiated, quality content, carving out previously under-tapped revenue streams for the digital publication.

Combating fake news

The wide reach of unmoderated channels like social media and messaging apps has brought with them the advent of fake news – articles, videos or posts that masquerade as “news” but are not substantiated by real sources, and are not published by real news sources. 

The good news about fake news is that consumers are increasingly cognizant of misinformation, what it looks like and how it spreads, and are aware of the role they could potentially play in perpetuating it. To assist with media literacy, the Straits Times even has a dedicated column for debunking fake news, which has been especially vital during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Combating fake news is not a fight for the media alone –  it is also the responsibility of PR practitioners to provide the journalists they liaise with with accurate and timely information from brands, and positioning key executives as thought leaders and reliable sources of truth. The onus also lies on PR professionals to counter misinformation proactively and to take a stand against the misrepresentation of facts.

The COVID-19 crisis has seen the proliferation of misinformation tear through frightened consumers and communities — using the right combination of PR and thought leadership during these troubling times is the key to emerging even stronger. Talk to us, we know how:

Embracing digital channels

APAC is one of the world’s most digitally active regions, and people here consume news in diverse ways as a direct consequence of the changing regional and local media landscape.

Digital content enables the easy sharing of media through a variety of channels such as e-newsletters, social media, and groups on messaging platforms. By using these avenues, publications can ensure news reaches their audience quickly and directly. What this means for PR is that brands now have more opportunities to get creative with integrated campaigns, which can amplify the reach of their earned media — publicity gained through sustained publicity efforts — via both paid and owned media channels.

Another popular digital format is the podcast, an audio format that has been steadily gaining momentum due to its packaged formula of convenience and bite-sized content that perfectly complements the busy lives of modern audiences. CNA, Straits Times, Business Times and Tech in Asia are just a few of the media publications that have been quick to leverage this tool to provide their audience with another way to access content.

The appetite for engaging, quality content is bigger than ever, despite smaller newsrooms and tighter editorial teams. This is why PR teams are embracing integrated campaigns that marry traditional public relations with content and digital marketing. If your brand has yet to test the efficacy of content, now is a great time to consider how both content and digital marketing can complement your broader communications strategy to maximise audience outreach efforts. 

Need help pivoting your PR strategy, or simply want to understand the modern PR landscape better? You’ve come to the right place — drop us a note at [email protected]

When Is It The Right Time To Hire a PR Firm?

So the brown stuff has officially hit the proverbial fan. The head office is in shambles, people are running through the office corridors, you’re pretty sure that weird smell is something on fire and, on top of everything, the snack cupboard is empty (*gasp*). Everyone is asking themselves how they can save the business when the management team comes up with a brilliant idea: 

“Let’s PR this! Call in the agencies for a pitch.”

Though turning to an agency may seem like a smart move during a crisis, the reality is that turning to PR professionals in the midst of a brown-stuff storm will likely be an extremely expensive solution, all things considered. Unfortunately, a company in the situation described above will likely turn into a case of “too little, too late”. 

But more than that, the question is this: is a crisis really the best time to start looking for a public relations firm for support?

So! When is the right time to hire a PR firm, you ask?

When you don’t need a PR agency

Business is good, revenue and profitability are up, the team is growing. With everything going so smoothly, what would you need a public relations agency for? This is, in fact, the most opportune time to start exploring public relations strategies to bolster the business, set up relationships with media, grow awareness and reputation in the market against competitors, as well as establish lead generation strategies with marketing. Why? When business is good, resources are available in terms of budget and time to build the foundational pillars that can help protect a business during times of reputational or operational crisis. 

When you have a clear business strategy

It is crucial that leadership within the business know precisely where the business needs to go to continue its momentum. With a clear strategy, each function has the ability to work towards a common goal, and, more importantly, work in unison with each other, as well as with an agency.

Even if the company is in a volatile period or undergoing dramatic changes, clear direction and communication from the leadership will help a communications team and the agency understand how best to provide support during tumultuous times. What’s more, engaging an agency during times of clarity will prevent them from being stuck working on last-minute, low-impact tactical projects, or, even worse, on initiatives that have been cancelled or are no longer in line with business priorities.

When the ENTIRE management team is on-board

The CEO may be walking in the right direction, but if the full leadership team isn’t walking in-step, some stumbles are inevitably going to occur. This doesn’t just mean sharing a vision and strategy for the business – it means open and clear lines of communication between department heads and the separate divisions, whether that be finance, marketing, operations or sales. When everyone is walking the same path, an incoming agency will be in a position to immediately hit the ground running with proper on-boarding sessions and the development of the right type of strategy to support the business.

When everything is in place and you’re asking, ‘…what now?’

The revelation that everything is in place for a public relations agency to come in can be an exciting one – but what should you actually look for in an agency? How do you start those conversations? How can you tell if that agency is the right agency? 

Luckily, if you have a clear business strategy that the entire management team has agreed upon and your company is doing well, that means your clear business strategy and direction can be communicated easily to the agency. Indeed, the right agency will be able to demonstrate measurable ROI, whether that be through supporting a brand with reputation development, building up the employer branding or developing lead generation strategies.

And if you don’t have everything in place? Well, the right agency will be the first to tell you so. So when the brown stuff hits the fan, your business will not only have a public relations agency that truly understands and fits into the business, media relationships have been developed, awareness and reputation have grown, allowing you to weather that storm with ease.

If you’re reading this article and think it’s the right time to hire a PR firm, talk to us maybe: [email protected]

How to get the most out of your relationship with your marketing agency

A client-agency relationship is more than just a business transaction. It takes more than charismatic account management and savvy sales pitches to make the relationship really work. What many agencies and clients miss, is in the on boarding process– from the business objectives to the culture. Here are 5 key points to help you kick-start an awesome partnership with your marketing agency:

Invest some time

Given that you’re trusting this agency with the reputation of your brand, you need to feel confident about the ability and reputation of the team. Plus,  actually getting on well with the people you’re dealing with has a huge impact on your relationship – so don’t be afraid to explore the company culture, values and, of course, technical expertise. Developing authentic, trusted connections with your customers is at the heart of marketing; similarly, you need to feel confident in your relationship with your agency. The best way to do this? Invest some time when it comes to finding out a little bit more about the agency, whether it be heading over for a lengthy chemistry meeting, going out to lunch or arranging a happy hour.

Agree to a communication plan

At the start of any new client relationship, a communication plan should be mutually agreed upon from day one. 

Some tips to consider when agreeing to a clear communication plan:

  • How often and how you’ll catch up, whether it’s in person or over a call
  • Your point of contact – Knowing exactly who your liaison is saves a lot of time and effort when you’re in need of a prompt  response
  • The agreed goals and objectives for your business and what you expect from your agency.
Set measurable key performance indicators (KPIs)

In order to keep up with and evaluate the performance of your campaigns, your agency will need to provide you with specific metrics against which to benchmark success. These should be based on business goals and expectations that were set out at the very beginning of your relationship. Reviewing them thoroughly will allow for greater productivity moving forward, and will also signal when there needs to be a change in strategic direction as well.

Make your meetings count

No matter how often or seldom your meetings occur,  preparation will enable you to get the most value from your meetings with your agency and negate the need for continuous threads of emails or calls outside your regular meetings.

Tips:

  • Agree upon an agenda before each meeting. This will give you the opportunity to include topics that are a priority
  • Have objectives clearly defined before the meeting
  • Ensure all relevant people are present to allow decisions to be made
Make the most of your agency’s expertise

You know your brand and industry the best. Similarly, your agency will know the latest developments and technologies in their industry best. In order to optimise your campaigns, they should be able to anticipate twists and turns, and should have the ability to adapt quickly when things don’t go as first planned or when new opportunities arise.

Your agency should always work according to your agreed plan and scope, but flexibility is crucial to the success of your campaign performance. Not only does this benefit your outcome, but its encourages your trust in them to be able to deliver on outcomes that matter to you.

At the end of the day, your agency contains a wealth of knowledge and expertise, so use it! Explore all the ways you can learn from them;  whether it’s downloading guides, reading their blog or regular newsletter or simply asking questions your agency can help you grow your own skill set.

Want to talk more about how an agency of experts could help your business? Drop us a line 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].

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5 strategic benefits of PR

Why should I spend money on PR?”

It’s a question many business leaders and entrepreneurs ask when allocating their marketing budgets. And even though it’s possible to drive a business with minimal or no PR spend, it’s unlikely that the brand will ever gain traction in its industry or key markets.

Many businesses regard public relations as an afterthought and the PR machine is only activated when they are hit by a scam or crisis. On the other hand, brands with consistent PR efforts are able to create long-term sustainable accomplishments, and are far more successful in dealing with negative publicity.

What’s more?

  1. PR helps generate leads

A targeted media outreach backed by high-value content assets (data studies, whitepapers, opinion pieces) will gradually convert into a lead generation machine, catching eyeballs of the right investors, talent and prospects. With the right messaging and strategy, PR can increase your credibility as a stable and potentially lucrative investment target while cultivating relationships with key opinion leaders.

  1. It helps to boost your SEO

For any brand, the key to driving visibility and positive impressions relies on being top of mind. And, the importance of SEO becomes even more critical as brands must be present and found online, easily. The more media coverage a brand receives, the more links it receives back to its website. Links from reliable, trustworthy media sources rank high in Google’s algorithm, leading to better search results.

  1. Trust for editorial content is more valuable than ads

PR’s approach to positioning your business in the public light differs greatly from that of advertisements. Media reports suggest that consumers trust third-party editorial content (which is shareable and can be re-purposed), more than any type of advertising or endorsement.

  1. PR builds successful thought leadership

Thought leadership is one of the more strategic approaches to building up the credibility of CEO’s and business leaders. It provides a great opportunity to accomplish critical business objectives, evangelise company culture, support recruiting efforts and gain partnerships and endorsements. A well planned out thought leadership campaign is not just limited to publishing opinion articles but also creates a pipeline of events, conferences, speaking opportunities, and of course social media.

  1. PR enables cross-channel messaging

Creating a digital editorial calendar is critical to keeping your company’s messaging consistent across your key distribution channels. By combining information for your blogs, email marketing and PR efforts, you ensure consistency and one unified message directed to all your content channels.

With the rise of digital and social media, the fight for attention has never been greater. Trust can be difficult to build and reputation has become even harder to protect. PR helps build brand honesty and credibility, and it’s one of the best investments a business can make.

“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!”
– Bill Gates 

 

If you need any help with your 2017 PR efforts, drop us a note at [email protected].

4 tips on creating news out of thin air

Come on, a reader knows when you’re out of ideas. Every company goes through a phase where there is simply nothing news-worthy to announce, no new products to launch, and no new events to promote – and that’s ok so don’t panic.

It takes lots of resources and large amounts of money to execute new brand initiatives, and many companies simply can’t keep the momentum going for 365 days straight. In saying that, it is important to stay active and current. In today information age, consumers are discovering and taking in so much content every day and can easily forget about you if you’re active enough or relevant to them.  

So how exactly can you keep the fountain of content and news flowing all year around?

Leverage on trending topics

Stay current by looking out for trending topics and find ways to relate them to your business.

IKEA Singapore were very quick to leverage on the Brangelina split. They released this creative Facebook advert on the day the world heard the news. It’s both clever and creative, don’t you think?

IKEA-Brangelina

 

Got data?

If your company is lucky enough to have collected any customer or industry data, now is the time to use it. Better still, if you can link it to a popular event – such as the F1, the Olympics, Easter, Christmas, or even a seasonal change – this will help drive interest and engagement. If you don’t have your own data, you can always create something informative and useful using credible third-party research sources which you can find on the internet.

HOT TIP: Set up a spreadsheet, list out all the relevant events for the year ahead and brainstorm creative brand ideas around these events.

Get your creative juices flowing

Coca-Cola is known for creating great interactive ads that are timely and always pull on people’s heartstrings. They don’t always have a new product to promote, so instead they come up with different interactive initiatives that engage consumers. It has become their way to stay at the forefront of mind even though the product has been around since 1886.

Check out Coke’s First day of College interactive ad.

Share relevant content

You don’t always have to produce your own content. With the help of the internet and different social media platforms, search for articles, videos, blogs, or infographics that are relevant to your business. It’s a good way to keep your pages alive and drive engagement.

Need help creating some newsworthy content? Get in touch with us at [email protected]

 

How to score your first job in PR

Internships are vital for getting your foot in the door. Just because you’ve studied for more than a decade to eventually get your degree doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to a full-fledged job the moment you graduate.

The harsh truth is that most agencies aren’t going to hire fresh graduates with no experience, but they are always on the lookout for interns. So you may have to bite the bullet for 3 – 6 months in an internship before you can even dream of getting your name cards printed –  and that’s ok!

So, take it from me, an intern turned full-time exec at Mutant – you need to stand out.

No boring cover letters, please

The first step to writing a good cover letter is to differentiate yourself. Don’t follow wikiHow’s tips on how to write a cover letter and ditch the boring and formal language that so many people write in.

Hiring managers receive tons of resumes every single day so you need to impress them right off the bat. If you’re going to write in the exact same way as everyone else, chances are the manager won’t even bother to look at your CV.

PR agencies look for people that can write well, and creatively. So if you’ve got the skills, why not show it off in your cover letter? It is after all the very first impression that you will make on your potential employer.

 TIP: Get started on writing that killer cover letter here.

Be active

You need to show the agency why you should be considered for the job. Telling them that you’re enrolled in the relevant degree is great, but so will everyone else.

In a competitive market, the need to stand out is stronger than ever. Employers don’t necessarily look solely at grades but also at other external activities or communities you may be involved in.

Prior to Mutant, I had a couple of finished personal projects and a previous internship under my belt. This included my short digital video creation stint with Youtube x SK-II, being a suggested user on Instagram and 5 months in an e-commerce startup.

The more activities or projects you’ve done, the more you’ll have to show and talk about in your CV and interview. Even if you’ve never worked in PR, the relevant experience in those projects will show employers your interest and passion for the field.

TIP: Start with something simple, like freelance writing.

Tailor your application

Don’t blanket send! I applied for many internships and jobs at various PR agencies and their specialisations ranged from lifestyle, startups, tech, healthcare…and the list goes on. I didn’t send them all the same CV and cover letter. Instead, I tailored each one to make it more relevant to the specific job description and the business.

Tailoring your job application to the business will show the agency that you’ve done your research and have interest in the position.

Do your research

This is a no-brainer. Simply take 15-20 minutes out of your day to go through the company’s website, social pages and profiles of who will/may be interviewing you (I said ‘may’ because sometimes you won’t know who will be sitting in the interview).

Because agencies usually have their case studies up on their website, it’s just like an open-book test. Reading through them will help you think of interesting questions to ask during the interview.

This is something I’ve done across various interviews – and to the interviewer’s pleasant surprise, they said they never expected someone a junior to do that much research.

Bottom-line, it honestly isn’t that hard to exceed expectations. It’s just 15-20 minutes of research. Do it. Don’t be lazy.

Ace that interview

If you’ve secured that interview, congratulations! The next step is to ace it.

Doing a couple of rehearsals beforehand and thinking of some good questions to ask will help you get ready and feel more confident. Remember, interviews are not just for the employer. They are also a great opportunity to learn more about the business and if you see yourself as a good fit. You can also find out about the job opportunities available for you after the internship.

 

Landing a PR internship is the first step, the next, is to dominate it. Stay tuned for the second part of this blog, where I will share my secrets on how to turn a PR internship into a full-time position.

So, have you got what it takes to be a Mutant? Visit our careers page for more information.

3 PR lessons from Rio 2016

What a great event the Olympics really are! It’s a chance for the world to come together and connect over a love of sport, patriotism and healthy competition. Every four years we witness some of the world’s greatest athletes achieve the unachievable, break records, and make us all proud.

Over time, the Olympic Games has had its fair share of PR disasters, and Rio 2016 didn’t exactly had the best start. From budget concerns, to toxic waters and pollution, Zika virus threats, angry citizens, and theft (and the list goes on), there was a point when we all wondered whether any athletes would even show up.

So how does an event this size return from the negative backlash that has been taunting it for the past few years?

Here are three key PR takeaways from this year’s games:

  1. Control your story

Haters are always gonna hate! It’s hard to change people’s minds, and so the best thing you can do is change the narrative and re-direct the focus. It’s easier to sway public opinion with the right connections and resources. At Rio 2016, having Supermodel Gisele Bundchen strut her stuff in the Opening Ceremony was the start of something good for the Games. I quickly noticed the news angle change from talking about what has gone wrong so far, to the start of a great Olympic Games. The media focus then began to shift to the events and athletes – which is where it should have been from the start.

  1. The show must go on

The Olympics will go ahead one way or another. If negative news is to happen, let it happen, and move on. The ‘negatives’ are always going to be more controversial and juicier to read about. Large-scale events like the Olympics undoubtedly have their fair share of blunders, so it’s best to just accept it, plan for it and keep the momentum going on the topics that really matter.

  1. Take your gold medal

Even when you win, you need to reflect on your performance. Walk away from an event with good memories, but break down the situation entirely – the good, bad and the ugly. I doubt many of us will really be talking about the negative aspects of Rio 2016 in two weeks time – instead we’ll be talking about the gold medals Michael Phelps walked away with, how Joseph Schooling put Singapore on the sporting map, and whether Usain Bolt broke another world record. Those are the lasting impressions that matter.

Events are hard, and you will never be able to please everyone. But managing expectations and planning ahead is part of the job. If your event is garnering negative press, look above it, go to your back-up plan and work with your PR team to help navigate the narrative during and after the event.

Need help creating a winning PR strategy for your brand? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

 

How to use PR to beat ad-blocking

If you’re a tech company operating in Asia, know this: you’re operating in the same region where 93% of mobile ad-blockers are located. As more browsers introduce built-in ad blocking, more of Asia will be cut off from online ads.

Ad-blocking hides most, if not all ads on a website. Its usage is growing rapidly in APAC because of potential bandwidth savings in countries with developing internet infrastructure. Using an ad blocker is typically a matter of downloading an app or browser extension, or turning on browser settings. With ad-block turned on, the area your ad is supposed to occupy is replaced with blank space.

The advertising industry is adapting by making ads more personalised and targeted, but there is also another channel that has existed long before digital advertising: Public Relations, aka PR.

PR targets readers by bringing the brand experience to the media they read, the people they follow or the places they visit. It is targeted messaging before Adwords Custom Affinities and Facebook Audience Insights; it is content marketing before your mailing lists started bringing in conversions.

Unlike other channels, most of PR is earned, and then supported by paid or owned content. Great PR can be a blessing for a startup looking for that big break, or an established multinational running a user acquisition campaign. Look no further than Pokémon Go for an example of how a product went viral on a wave of PR.

A journalist or influencer who writes about you positively is essentially giving a very valuable third party endorsement. This puts you on the radar of their readers and fans. Since the media decides what to post on their site, relevant content will go a long way. Instead of a direct sell, PR is a chance to tell a more personalised brand story readers can identify with and be inspired by.

Formulating a winning PR strategy

Earning PR coverage comes down to two things: good homework and good relationships. Homework means doing research on what people in your space are talking about. Some easy places to start are:

  • Your target publications
  • Social media insights of your fans and followers
  • Online professional communities such as LinkedIn groups and Quora
  • Google Trends

After finding out what people are talking about, think of how your brand can fit in, and the best way to communicate that. If it’s a press release, draft it. If it’s an infographic, map out the stats and design it. If it’s a cute cat video… good luck, there’s a lot of competition out there. If you need help creating great content, check out some of our useful resources such  as the copywriting guide or the guide to writing tech content.

It’s wise to put yourself in the journalist’s shoes – imagine you are a very busy person receiving over 1,000 emails a day, sitting by a phone that never stops ringing. You also have a reputation to maintain as an unbiased authority in your field. So why should they cover your story?

Well, it’s not through luck. Your story must have a hook, but not a hard sell. It must be factual, yet sound exciting. It presents the complete picture to the journalist, yet stays concise enough to be scanned through. And it must grab attention within the first seven words they see. If you think you have that all down, run it by a trusted friend, or a professional just to make sure.

If you are ready to take your communications to the next level, drop us a note today at [email protected].

 

Up your PR game with data

There are many ways to pitch and attain news coverage for your brand, from launch announcements, funding announcements, acquisition announcements to profile features. But unless you have an extremely strong story angle or a PR team behind you, it can be hard for journalists to pay attention to your big news.

Luckily for us, the use of data, trends and statistics is another increasingly popular storytelling tool. These figures are capable of turning observations into facts, and on a larger scale, impact industry or economic movements as people watch the news closely to make strategic business decisions.

Collecting data is a great start, but it is only half the job done. How you interpret and package the data is what can essentially land you the desired coverage.

Here are 5 reasons why you should be incorporating data into your media pitches:

1. Data doesn’t lie

The media thrive on interesting, accurate stories. Without credibility, they lose value, readership and profitability.

Data today can be easily doctored to serve an organisation’s agenda or to fit story angles, but don’t forget journalists have access to multiple data sources. This means they can easily fact check the accuracy of your story, especially when they notice a huge discrepancy.

For greater transparency, include vital information such as your data research sample size, data collection methods and the period of research. All these factors play a part to the overall credibility of your data.

2. Data makes stories easier to understand

Between simply stating the economy is slow, or telling people how slowly the economy is growing backed by GDP figures, which one would you report as a journalist?

3. Journalists trust data more than gut feelings

A good press release is not without a quote from your company’s spokesperson. But these quotes more often than not solely rely on the opinion of the spokesperson.

Incorporating data into quotes can substantially strengthen and build credibility around your brand and spokesperson.

4. Data doesn’t beat about the bush

Data-led news conveys a stronger story. When sharing data with the media, we always ensure it’s easy to digest. Use imagery such as infographics, visualisations, graphs or charts to present your story.

Journalists can easily pick out what they need, which becomes extremely helpful when they are pressed for time.

5. It’s all about the baby steps

While journalists may not always run your data as a main story on its own, they may use it as a reference point to a larger story. So don’t worry if your research is not published today, just keep in touch with the journalist and see if they can use it in a upcoming story.

Need help transforming your next announcement? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

 

Have you met yourself on camera?

Despite dozens of media training sessions we’ve conducted here at Mutant, I have yet to meet someone who absolutely loves the way they sound and look on camera. Even the most confident people struggle to prepare for TV interviews and shy away when they see and hear themselves.

“My voice sounds so high,” or “Why do I speak so fast?” are often the responses we get when playing back footage to clients.

Unfortunately, we’re our own harshest critics. Plus, seeing yourself from the outside, and hearing yourself on camera is daunting and something you’re not used to.

Here are some notes that might help you feel more comfortable with preparing for an interview, or even just getting used to seeing yourself on screen:

The camera sucks the life out of you

Have you ever noticed that when a TV host speaks on camera they talk extremely animatedly and enthusiastically? If someone spoke to you like that face-to-face in real life, you’d actually find it quite strange.

The camera sucks the emotion and the ‘life’ out of you. Meaning things that are ‘normal’ – like simply talking to someone – can come across as extremely dull and boring on camera. We’re so used to seeing very dynamic people and actions on screen that our brains have come to expect anything on TV to have 10 times more energy and spark.

To account for this, ensure your speaking volume is 10-15 percent louder than normal on camera, and that you are really bringing your most energetic self to an interview or presentation. It might feel like you’re overdoing it, but it looks great on screen.

Here’s an exercise: Think about where and when you are your most dynamic self and where your personality shines the most. Is it catching up with friends for drinks? Or is it when you speak at meetings at work? Bring that version of yourself to an interview.

Practice

Today, it’s easier than ever to do a few practice rounds for an upcoming interview or presentation by yourself. Set up your video camera or phone and practice speaking about yourself and your company. Yes, this feels really awkward, but it’s just because you’re not used to it.

Start with something as simple as answering, “tell me about your company”.

But instead of answering like a written response (i.e. “Well, we started in 2012 and we provide services in technology…”) try incorporating a story element into your answer:

“The story of how we started is quite interesting actually. We were four friends who worked together at a Fortune 500 company, but decided we needed to start something on our own…”

Write down a list of potential questions you might be asked in a TV interview and work out how you’d like to answer each one. Think of potential negative questions, which may be asked as well.

Playback time

Once you’ve answered a few questions on camera, play the footage back to yourself and analyse what you liked and what you didn’t. Was it the way you sounded? If so, try talking more clearly and lower your pitch a couple of notches. The camera also picks up our voices as slightly higher than they are, so keep that in mind.

What about the way you looked and presented yourself? Were you shuffling too much? Playing with your hair? Moving your hands in front of your face constantly? We all have our habits which can be exaggerated on camera, but at least you’re able to figure out what it is before you go for an interview.

Um, uh, like, you know…

When you’re thinking of what to say next, the best thing to do is to pause… just for a couple of seconds, so you can move on to the next sentence in a calm and easy way. Sadly that’s easier said than done.

What people end up usually doing is using their ‘tell’. This can come in the form of ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘uh’, ‘like’, ‘you know’ and several other options. Time yourself for a minute and speak about any topic you like.

Now, play that back and see if there is a certain phrase or word you keep using that is totally unnecessary. Once you’ve worked out what it is, practice replacing that with a nice distinguished pause.

Some of the best interviews you’ll see on TV are with composed people who have very much practiced self-editing the ‘like’ or ‘ummm’ out of their sentences.

The more comfortable you become on camera, the more you can work on what really matters – your content and getting your key messages across to those watching you.

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