My company is profitable! Do I still need marketing?

According to a recent report, the success of SMEs is essentially like flipping a coin – there’s an estimated survival rate of 50%. This means that establishing a strong and profitable core business is more crucial than ever before.

Since survival is a major focus for SMEs, investment in other aspects that may not seem to have immediate trackable results on business performance are often highly scrutinised. But even when SMEs manage to survive and find their stride, becoming profitable without the help of marketing, content, public relations or social media, many decide to continue without these things. Why would they need them even if they are profitable? Let’s dive right in.

Marketing

With the view that only large, multinational organisations have dedicated marketing teams, many SMEs outright dismiss the idea of hiring dedicated marketing staff. If SMEs do have a staff member focused on marketing, the scope of that role is usually tied up with additional tasks, such as business development.

Without the attention and focus of a true marketing professional, marketing initiatives usually end up in the form of more traditional activities, such as developing collaterals or organising events, which often do not drive easily trackable business results. A dedicated marketer will be able to identify broader business issues and create solutions to fix them, whether that be an online lead generation, sales team support or employer brand management to help bring in the best talent.

Content

Content is on the radar for many organisations, but often only in the form of a few commissioned articles for the company website. The truth is that content has many more practical uses for a business than most business owners realise. Content can be presented in many ways – think text, infographics and videos – and have the ability to engage potential customers across a wide array of platforms, ranging from the company’s website to social media channels to content-led PR campaigns.  

A singular piece of content, such as a research report, can be reworked into different pieces of satellite content, including infographics, toolkits and short, digestible videos that can be shared on different channels. Lead generation, client relationship management and sales support are all business-focused goals that can leverage content to deliver measurable results.

PR

Crisis management and spin-doctoring are often the first things that come to mind when thinking of public relations, but these functions are usually back of mind when it comes to successful businesses who are focused on growth.

Public relations can do much more than just clean up sticky situations. Good PR will play a key role in stakeholder management, putting the business in the midst of relevant discussions happening in the industry and the media, and positioning key people in the company as thought leaders. Strong PR can boost the visibility and credibility of the business and open new doors for the company in the process.

Social media

If you think that social media is simply a Facebook page for consumer brands to deal with angry posts, think again. Social media can act as a multi-platform ecosystem that can be used to engage with different types of audiences. By using specific targeting, businesses can reach new and relevant customers from literally all around the world.

From customer support and sales to employer branding and community management, every employee can learn to use social media in a way that influences the business, no matter if it’s a B2C and B2B operation. It’s important to establish goals and outline clear roles that each social media platform will play for the business, though; only then can a business truly start to see the benefits of a social media strategy.

Do you want to find out more about what marketing, content, PR and social media can do for your business? Drop us a line at hello@mutant.com.sg

How to jump-start social media when no one knows your company

It’s easy to make noise when you are the head of state. Both Lee Hsien Loong and Donald Trump are two (good and bad) examples of how to engage millions of people.

                                                                   

While the impact of social media is undeniable, not every business enjoys the reach of someone in the limelight. Though it’s hard to make noise when no one knows about your company, inaction is infinitely worse.

Before you jump the gun, you have to make a commitment to regularly update your business’ social media accounts. Ideally, appoint someone to be your social media manager, as it’s something you have to consistently work at to see benefits – ranging from direct communication with your customers to reaching people that never heard of your business.

Here’s how to get started:

Where is your audience?


With an array of social media platforms out there, you don’t need to be everywhere. To get your social media presence kickstarted, you’ll need to know where your audience is. If you are a B2B company, you are more likely to start conversations on Twitter or LinkedIn, while an e-commerce can better engage with users on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are unsure about what you should do on your social media channels, check out these do’s and don’ts of social media. This is where you’ll learn about how to reach your target audience and the tangible results you’ll be able to reap from it.

What are your goals?

                                                             

Bear in mind that you’re just starting out – so don’t be unrealistic with your goals. For newcomers like you, it’s recommended that you focus on consistency and growth to really make your social media game work.

For consistency, work on:
– Lock in a set number of days to plan posts and work on your social media presence. A good start will be 3-4 days a week.
– Create new content at least once a week to beef up your content library. This can be a new set of photos, a blog post or a video about your business.

For growth, work on:
Setting a goal for how many followers you want to gain by a certain date. Every business grows differently, so plan accordingly. Having a number to work towards will make things clearer.

If you want to start with a bang, you should consider working with social media influencer – Increasing engagement for your posts. Instead of asking your family and friends to share your posts to get the algorithm working, you might want to do a giveaway to start getting shares and traction.

What’s in your content library?


Gather all of your content into one folder that your team can access. This will be your content pool where you’ll go to find images, old news clippings, videos or anything relating to your business. If you make it a habit to populate this folder, your planning will be easier in the future. A good way to start your content pool is using your website’s content. You can always repurpose and use it for social content. While doing this, you’ll also probably start to visualise what sort of content you’ll want up on your social media channels.

Other content ideas:

  • New product updates to keep people interested
  • Introduce new team members to make your brand more human
  • Insights from conferences to show you are a thought leader
  • Behind the scenes snapshots for a positive image
  • Giveaways and contests to expand your reach
  • Photo albums for the user’s visual pleasure

Which brings us to the next point…

Have you created a social media calendar?

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. All you need is a handy excel sheet that keeps track of the content that you’re planning to post, or have already posted. This will also come in handy when you’re brainstorming for new social media ideas. It also makes it easier for everyone to share ideas. A well-kept calendar will also help you to plan your social media campaigns more efficiently.

What conversation are you joining?

Now that you’re sorted, it’s time to be part of all that social media chatter. Have a look at what’s trending by gathering some data and see where your brand can be part of the conversation. Controversial topics aren’t a strict no-no and may sometimes help your brand to stand out. But make sure that your company has actually something to offer or say about the topic. You have to remember that the social media world can be harsh and controversial topics can easily backfire. But in the end – it’s still up to you to decide if it will work for your organisation or not.

Need help with managing your social media campaigns? Drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

How to determine marketing priorities as a tech startup

As a tech startup owner, you’re faced with a multitude of challenges and anxieties as you think of ways to grow your business. Budgeting, resourcing, manpower, business development are all high up on the list, but so is marketing, which often doesn’t get the due it deserves. That’s because startups don’t know where to begin and have trouble identifying key priorities. And we get it — with so many options and so much jargon thrown around, it can be a confusing.

Take a step back, breathe and focus on one thing at a time. Here’s a few tips to help you determine your marketing priorities:

Audience group

Get the ball rolling by identifying your target audience. What are you trying to sell and who is it for? Do you have a brand voice in place? If not, focus on concurrently establishing your brand voice.

Whatever your end product or service is, defining your audience group allows you to identify the best marketing and media channels allowing for a more streamlined marketing strategy. For example, if you’re in the business of developing a payroll system, consider channeling your funds towards platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter for your digital marketing, instead of consumer-facing platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Budget

Here comes the word that no startup owner wants to hear – budget. As a startup running on a lean budget, every dollar counts, but that doesn’t mean compromising on marketing. Expensive marketing doesn’t necessarily equate to good marketing and vice-versa.  Relying solely on your product attributes sounds idyllic, but more often than not, it isn’t enough.

We’re living in a digital age and this means you should take advantage of online channels and social media – after all, it’s free to use and easy to set up. Also, explore other avenues such as user-generated content, blogs and white-papers instead of spending money on advertising.

Define outcomes

Every marketing campaign has to have clearly defined outcomes and objectives. To do that, you need to identify where your company sits in the growth cycle.  If it’s still early days, brand awareness and data generation should be part of your KPIs. The data you acquire from these efforts will help define future campaigns too.

However, if you’re startup has taken off beyond the brand awareness stage, you should focus on ramping up sales and building a lead gen pipeline, meaning it’s time to reassess your marketing priorities and make necessary shifts.   
For B2B brands this means focusing on content marketing, while consumer-facing startups may consider giveaways and social media flash deals to excite their consumers. User-generated content is a great way to create buzz around your brand — not only is it free, it also considerably improves brand engagement.

Suggested reads:

If you need help getting started with your marketing priorities, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg 

How to manage your brand reputation online

The secret to becoming a world class brand? Going beyond social presence. Technology has enhanced the ability for brands to engage consumers anytime, anywhere –but you can’t just rely on the technology alone. In the fast-paced world of GoPro, Netflix, Spotify and Instagram, let’s not forget Pampers, Oreo, Dove and Charmin. And for good reason.

The success of these legacy brands proves that while creating a kick-ass marketing content strategy is vital, maintaining reputation is just as (if not more) crucial to your brand. So how do you keep up?

Here’s a few tips to get you started:

Monitor what people are saying about you

Blog posts, social media, customer comments, reviews, Tweets need to be on your radar. Every time you find a comment about your brand online, remember others can see it all over the world. However, sifting through all your online data can be time consuming. Tools such as, Google Alerts and MonitorThis, are easy to set up and allow you to filter to get the relevant notifications.

In today’s highly competitive world, tracking and listening to social conversations aren’t enough. Brands need to proactively engage with consumers – this includes responding to both positive and negative feedback and reviews. Nobody wants to do it, but to manage your online presence, you must deal with negative feedback head-on.

The best way to protect your brand image is to work to resolve negative criticism. Not all feedback is bad feedback, distinguishing the harmful from the productive is key. If there is feedback that you can work with – it is often useful to keep your response visible, just make sure you are able to identify the difference between trolls and constructive criticism.  Stumbling across posts or comments that are less favourable means that your target audience can too, which is why removing negative comments from internet trolls on your website or blogs is vital too.

Create amazing content

Anyone can sit down and write a ‘standard’ blog post, but creating ‘amazing’ content — that takes time, dedication, and effort. That’s what Oreo’s Halloween 2015 campaign demonstrated when the brand created a Vine video series spoofing classic horror movies featuring cookies.

Understand your audience

This always has (and always will be) key to maintaining a relationship with your consumer whether it’s online or offline. One brand that gets it is Netflix. The video streaming company leverages its vast amount of data to dig deeper and understand who its social audience is. Whether it’s a famous quote from one of its available titles, or a GIF that summarises how most of us feel about the video streaming site, Netflix continues to create content that its users can relate to.

   

Embrace the weird and run with it 

Whether it’s fun, silly, quirky, factual or awkward – embrace your target audience’s humour and reflect that in your brand’s personality. The big names in branding don’t just use social to market products. They create a community that can come together to share advise, feelings and memories. This is simply learning to nurture your target market. The iconic nappy brand, Pampers, creates a safe online platform for soon-to-be parents to come together as they embark on the adventure together.

Big bang versus thinking small

When toilet roll company, Charmin, were faced with the difficulty of creating excitement around their loo roll, did they succumb to the challenge of coming up with a killer marketing strategy? Nope, they introduced #TweetFromTheSeat campaign, where consumers could participate in the hilarity of Tweeting while…er, doing their business. Ridiculous but effective.

Satisfy customer cravings

Whether it’s a Galaxy chocolate advert or the latest news on upcoming technology trends for 2017, it’s worth tapping into consumer insights. A great way to pique your target market’s interest is to empower users – user generated content makes the brand more approachable. This also allows you to convert their eagerness into a marketing win. Users get the opportunity to share their own story socially.  GoPro not only create great content for social but also amplify user-generated content with zero ad spend. Win, win!

The bottom line is that your online management and reputation is important, now more than ever. Brands need to stay abreast with what is happening with their image online. Once you’ve found your online voice, be mindful of your ongoing image and how you want to be seen to the world. No two brands are the same and neither is their reputation. It is about identifying the right strategy that works for your brand.

If you need help creating your personalised brand strategy, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg

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 hello@mutant.com.sg.

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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 hello@mutant.com.sg.

5 steps to help you plan the best content mix

Content Marketing is still marketing. We’ve covered the ‘content’ portion, and now we’re going to apply this to the ‘marketing’ side for the perfect content mix. The basic formula is the same, there’s a funnel, so have something for every stage of the funnel.

Awareness

The most important thing to keep in mind here is who you want to generate awareness from. It is easy to boost a post to an entire market for a week, and bask in the vanity metrics. However, raw impressions or even ‘Likes’ do not mean much. Learn who your audience is, and find out how and where to engage them in a targeted way. It could be an event, in which case roll out live content supported by social. It could be a publication, so try a solid PR pitch or even sponsored content. 

The thing about awareness is, it is the widest part of the funnel, and a good awareness campaign requires a metric tonne of effort. You have to create something entertaining, on-brand and shareable, and distribute it well. That said, wide does not always mean tall. Awareness content should not dominate the content calendar. Put that effort into distribution and quality, not quantity. 10% of the calendar can go here, and space it out across the year.

Interest

This is where we start getting into the bulk of your content. When people ‘Like’, ‘Follow’, ‘Subscribe’, search for you and so on, it means they are interested in your content. To translate that to interest in your product, align both content and product closely. From a potential customer’s point of view, think of the questions they would ask that will lead them further towards you.

Typically, it is a pain point of “How do I do X?”, where X can be any problem, such as:

  • Choosing the right facial cleanser for Asian skin in a Western-dominated cosmetics market that tends to either over-dry or cause breakouts
  • Integrating big data into marketing analytics without the need for IT intervention
  • Getting lunch in Singapore’s CBD for under $10

Furthermore, the context of ‘Problem X’ varies based on prevailing trends. Weather changes cause breakouts, and technology changes cause breakdowns.

News sites and social media are a great way to surface these questions. Apart from that is also Google Analytics and Trends. That means ‘Problem X’ is going to form the backbone of your SEO. If people find you through viral content, they’re looking for a laugh. If people find you to solve their problems, that’s where there’s a clear path to conversion.

40% of your content should make up the interest stage, and if it performs well, feel free to boost on social, or go more in-depth with a white paper.

Desire

Here, people want your product, but they are curious. The solution is to show it to them. Webinars, trailers, teasers, demos, testimonials. Make compelling case studies, create infographics showing the amount of improvement possible… and then put a call to action at the end. Here, conversion should be the main goal; sharing and engagement is just a bonus. After all the effort attracting an audience and building up credibility, this is what needs to happen:

So make this 18% of your content.

Action

As far as content marketing goes, action is pretty straightforward. Want, give, have. However, APAC is a market where a single discount day generates e-commerce sales that dwarf the rest of the world.

So maybe your audience wants your product, but they expect a bit of special treatment. Space out contextualised specials very sporadically to cater for this. Perhaps it is your company’s anniversary, or Christmas. In any case, emphasise the context to make it clear this doesn’t happen every day. After that, dress the copy up to sound fun and drop a subtle call to action at the end. Do this about 2% of the time.

Retention

What do Seth Godin, Bain & Co and Salesforce’s US$2bn annual revenue have in common? True, they’re all rich enough to fill a pool with money, but the point is, they all support the notion that it is easier to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire. In all likelihood, existing customers will be interested in finding out solutions to related problems, and feel reaffirmed by your case studies and infographics. In other words, most of your existing content should already be relevant.

That said, there should still be some space dedicated to the post-funnel- to cover the human side of the relationship. From a content perspective, that means personalising the brand. Make your own in-jokes to get people to laugh with you. Share milestones to let people know you’re here to stay. Tease your latest updates so there’s something to look forward to.

Naturally, this is not the kind of content you would expect people to search for. However it is more ‘Likeable’ than how-tos, so an interesting graphic can get great traction on social. Aim for people to engage with this content organically. If people ‘Like’ your content, then they’re more likely to see your other posts in future, and cost less to boost towards. This stage should form the last 30% of your content.

 

The recommended split should add up to an 80:20 fluff:sell ratio. For brands new to content marketing, it is a balanced, middle-of-the-road guideline to start off by testing everything. However, each brand is unique in their own way, and ongoing data will lead to each option being weighted differently as time passes. Your CRM, Google Analytics and social platform’s insights will be your friends here.

If you need help planning the best content mix for your 2017 communications strategy, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

Planning a tech B2B content calendar in 2017

2017 has arrived, and that means another year of content that needs to be planned. For tech B2B companies, it should go without saying that your company blog is important for generating leads, engaging and retaining your community, or simply letting people know the lights are on. On a broad level, not much changes, but every year brings its own quirks. So how do you plan blog content for 2017? Here’s some key trends to keep in mind:

More people are looking at you on mobile

This varies from company to company, so check your Google Analytics to see how many people are reading your blog from mobile. If it’s more than 30%, start cutting content down to size. No point being verbose if it makes people swipe away.

Mobile-friendly also means thinking about how to handle content other than text. Widescreen formats still work, but important details or text should be viewable even when shrunk down to 4 inches wide.

Your site should also be mobile friendly – it’s easy bonus points for ranking better on Google. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure your content works well on mobile. But please, draft your content on a keyboard. Being typo-free goes a long way towards looking professional.

Hedge your traffic sources

It’s 2017, so write for humans first. Robots should always come second, but don’t forget about them.

Facebook will never stop tweaking their ranking algorithms, so don’t expect what works today on Facebook to work forever. Because of Facebook’s endless changes, 2016 saw the prolific collapse of a number of clickbait-like sites, and plenty of collateral damage at respectable news outlets. Fake news looks likely to follow, but I’d like to hope we’re all honest people here ☺. Of course, Facebook is still a valuable source of traffic, but a sustainable strategy means looking beyond the gold rush.

On the Google front, the search engine continues to update its ranking algorithm, aiming to prioritise original content that makes people stay, read and share. Focus on interesting content, and don’t forget to support it with meta tags, and just a smattering of keywords in the right places.

Ideally, traffic should come from a combination of social, search, back links and dark social. If a single source accounts for more than half your referral traffic, think of how to diversify and buffer against algorithm changes.

Go live

Consider live content to make your posts more visible. Videos streamed ‘in the now’ do not just rank higher on Facebook and Twitter, they also give you a reason to repeatedly post related Tweets and photos to stay visible and hit different hashtags for the duration.

This tactic works best when you actively go out and network. Attend (or organise) events with a huge following, meet reputable people and tag them in a photo. Leverage their following to reach a new audience. Bonus points if you can feature them in your content and they share it. Offline activities boost your online presence – who’d have thought?

Plan it out

When you’re ready to start making your content calendar, click below for a free content template. This is based on the very same template we use to plan client content throughout the year. On the “content calendar” tab, you can plan your posts to make sure a regular stream of content goes out every week. On the “report” tab, a pivot table has already been created, where you can filter by month or content type to make sure you have the right balance.

 

If you need any help with your 2017 content marketing efforts, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

5 PR tips to get you through the festive season

So, you’ve made it to December. You’re probably wondering where the last 11 months have gone, but hey ho, it’s now time to start looking ahead.

December is a month that is notoriously filled with back-to-back celebrations. From year-end parties to Christmas and New Year gatherings, it’s full on – but it’s also a time where some people (and businesses) slow down as they mentally prepare for the next year.

However, the media doesn’t stop. Newspapers and magazines are still being published, and TV news doesn’t take a holiday either. Journalists are always on the lookout for new stories and ideas – in fact, this slower time of year often means journos are keener than ever to be approached with thoughtful content. It’s basically a prime time to pitch!

Here are some PR tips to help arm you throughout the festive season and keep your business on track well into the New Year:

  1. Pitch, pitch, pitch!

The worst thing you can do is go silent during this month. Instead, keep pitching and stay in touch with key journalists. Research what’s trending and create content pieces or use past ideas and share them with the media. Keep things fun, and where possible make it relevant to the festive season. Even if your story isn’t immediately picked up, the journalists have you on their radar for any future stories, and you can follow up come January with a fresh pitch.

  1. Become a social butterfly

It is the party season after all! So get out there and spread those wings. Meet new people, attend industry events, parties and talks. Chances are you’ll bump into members of the media or like-minded people that may have an interest in your business. Have fun, but keep your PR radar on for any opportunities to spread the good word about your brand!

  1. Keep connected

Yes, your usual media contacts may be away enjoying their holidays but there will be other writers and editors you can connect with. This will also help expand your PR network and database in general. Stay on top of your target publications and check out who’s writing stories that are relevant. If you’re not sure who’s holding the fort while your closest journalist contacts are away on holiday, pick up the phone and find out.

  1. Stay socially active

Whatever your do, don’t forget to remain active on social media. Today’s consumers live and breathe social all year round, and this includes Christmastime. Whether you are manually posting on your company’s chosen platforms or using management and scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, make sure you have a strategy in place – even if you are on holiday. Staying active helps keep your brand top of mind and maintain the traction you’ve built up throughout the year. Download our social media content calendar template to help you map out your social plans across the next month and into the New Year.

  1. Plan ahead

Given December is a quieter month, use this time to plan your PR calendar for the New Year. Map out your communications goals and get prepped for new announcements or launches which you know are happening in 2017. Create plans, make calendars and add in tentative timelines to stay on track with execution, ensuring you start the New Year off with a bang!

So what are you waiting for? If you need advice on how to use the festive period to your advantage, get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

4 things Casey Neistat can teach you about PR

This week CNN announced that it has acquired shortform video app, Beme – the product of a collaboration between ex-Tumblr(er) Matt Hackett and filmmaker Casey Neistat. Never heard of Beme? You’ll be forgiven. Despite a promising kickoff, the video messaging app (akin to Snapchat) never achieved widespread appeal and suffered a ropey adoption curve.

The acquisition (reported to be $25 million USD) represents a logical skip-jump for CNN, who have come along way from their broadcaster roots to become a 24-hour global multi-platform network, and a consistent adopter of new mediums. In an age where anyone with a smartphone can become a news correspondent, it was only a matter of time before a global network like CNN dipped its toes into shortform video.

What seems clear though, is that CNN is really buying Casey Neistat, the filmaker turned vlogger who regularly draws over 20-million views to each of his daily vlogs and, who arguably changed the entire vlog medium by bringing a filmmaker’s lense to a disposable, low-fi format.

Here are four key PR lessons you can learn from Casey Neistat:

1. Be open and real

Neistat leads a successful tech company, yet he talks to his audiences through channels and forms that they understand and can connect with. When Beme started having technical issues, rather than a smoke and mirrors approach to hide his company’s shortfalls, he was open and sincere about the mistakes. As a result, he was able to build greater trust and buy-in from the public and key stakeholders.

2. Trust a influencer’s integrity – it’s what makes them valuable

With nearly 6-million subscribers, Casey inevitably monetises his activities with brand partnerships. However this doesn’t mean Neistat becomes a starry-eyed spineless brand ambassador. Instead he’ll often work closely with brands such as Apple or Canon, only to criticise the products, albeit in a constructive and level-headed way.

Working in PR, we often bang our heads in frustration when a story hasn’t gone quite the way we planned, or didn’t even land at all. But it’s the influencer’s ability to speak honestly about products that separates the role of PR from owned media and is precisely what gives it true value. Brands who understand this will always work with influencers like Neistat, respecting their unswayable integrity, rather than treating them like glorified infomercials.

3. Storytelling is everything

 

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Neistat hammers this home with every video he creates, from ads with Nike, to vacation vlogs in Vietnam, to Beme itself. With a growing emphasis on native and content-based advertising, it seems that many marketers get distracted by the medium over the message. In essence though, nothing has actually changed. Storytelling is and always will be the most crucial element – irrespective of platform, medium or screen.

PR’s value-add is its ability to really understand the audience and convey a story to audiences with unparallelled authenticity and sincerity. Consumers and the media are now more savvy, discerning and BS-resistant than ever before, so make sure your story is compelling, interesting and not just a sales pitch.

4. Know when to zip it

Neistat’s usual topics cover technology, gadgets, filmmaking and storytelling. However, on a few occasions, Neistat has stepped off-piste into commenting on areas outside his usual content, such as the US election. He was met with quite a violent backlash from the YouTube community who didn’t appreciate him stepping off his impartial boosted-board.

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So what’s the lesson? Make sure you understand where your area of knowledge lies and stick to it. The media may often look for outsiders to comment on subjects outside of a spokesperson’s field, either to offer a fresh perspective or draw them out of their comfort zone. Succumb to the temptation to enter another arena – even slightly – and you risk alienating your brand, diluting your core messaging or, at worst, diving headfirst into a PR disaster.

As a hybrid of consumer, creative agency, tech evangelist and influencer, Casey Neistat has made more impact on the content marketing ecosystem than can fit concisely into this blog, and nothing says this more than CNN’s latest purchase. It’s certainly an exciting time to be in content marketing and PR.

If you need help spreading your brand message, get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg

Image source YouTube

The rise of digital: How an online strategy can complement traditional PR

Let’s face it, we’ve moved into the digital age. APAC is now home to more than half of the world’s internet users, where there are currently 1.83 billion Internet users and 1.43 billion social media users. Comparing this with 2014’s figures of 1.2 billion internet users and 9.6 million social media users, that’s a whopping 52.5% and 47.5% growth in each category.

With the shift to digital, comes a lot of change in the way we communicate and absorb information. Consumers are expecting different forms of interactions, which means the way we communicate with our audience should evolve too. Here’s a few things to consider:

1. Establish your online presence

A key component of PR is working with the media. But in today’s context, the media is not restricted to solely print media – it extends to bloggers, social media influencers, e-magazines and more. Firing off press releases to engage only traditional media is simply not enough anymore. These days, people are almost always online. Failing to be where your audience is could harm your business and you’ll get left behind. A digital strategy establishes your online presence, builds brand reputation, and engages your audience with relevant and useful content. This results in increased visibility on search engines and following count on social media platforms.

2. Apply personalised communication

A digital strategy creates two-way communication and brings the audience into the conversation with options to share their opinions and thoughts. It also offers a personal look into your organisation – afterall you are reaching out to real people.

3.  Grab their attention

Attention spans are dropping, and long-form content from print does not work in the digital landscape. Instead, a good digital strategy delivers bite-sized attention-grabbing information to readers, with links to longer content such as formal press releases, blogs, or media coverage.

Traditional PR no doubt still has a place, but a digital strategy can complement those efforts and elevate it further. A smart mixture of both extends the reach of a purely traditional PR approach, and ensures your business stays on top of its game.

If you need help seamlessly executing a comprehensive PR campaign, drop us a note a hello@mutant.com.sg