Rising inflation and interest rates are among the list of issues that consumers are concerned about these days and brands too will need to tweak their marketing strategies amidst the teetering macroeconomic environment.
In a time where there is misinformation and distrust towards the media, PR is even more important in engaging consumers, bolstering reputation, and driving broader business goals. Mutant's "2023 Content and Public Relations Planning Playbook" shares five ways brands can up their PR game in the new year.
1. Do more with less
The media pool in Southeast Asia is shrinking, with consolidations, downsizing, and closures. Many on the editorial team are now double hatting as journalists and content creators. With editorial teams being so lean these days, straightforward press releases are no longer enough to pique an editor’s interest. Based on Mutant’s conversations with journalists, the agency found that readers are demanding more, including a better customer experience, distinctive local content, and interesting angles that appeal to their passions and interests.
To improve their pitches to the media, brands can adopt the following: Even before the pitching of stories, proactively establish a relationship with journalists so when a brand goes to them with an idea or a press release, they are more likely to respond.
- Personalise pitches rather than sharing one general pitch broadly with hundreds of reporters.
- Localise pitches by setting the right context and its impact on the publication’s audience.
- Co-create stories with media when possible by harnessing unique tools that clients may have
- Offer an exclusive where possible. When this isn’t possible, try a new angle or an exclusive piece of information to add value to reporters’ stories.
- Visuals increase the odds of a journalist running a story, so it’s worthwhile to spend extra time on infographics and curated images.
- Reporters need time to digest the information shared – so give them a couple of days before following up. And don’t follow up more than thrice.
2. Work harder to land sustainability stories
Brands are expected to be more sustainable these days and consumers are not afraid to call out or boycott brands that engage in greenwashing. However, sustainability stories are also the hardest to land. Citing its learnings, Mutant said in the playbook that sustainability stories are not considered "sexy", especially in an increasingly short news cycle.
According to one climate reporter it spoke to recently, newspapers have been turning down “gloom and doom” climate stories because their readers were tired of negative stories and were struggling with climate anxiety.
Nonetheless, brands must never attempt to 'spin a story' for the sake of a few easy headlines.Transparency, accountability, and authenticity are key factors when it comes to articulating a brand’s sustainability commitments.
Additionally, adding a human element, data-led insights, and evidence-based tips go a long way in making sure a story lands.
3. Make it experiential
The pandemic has introduced new ways of working, from Zoom to mobile editing. Aside from ensuring that media training covers the usual soundbites and key messages, there is a need to prepare clients for the nuances of Zoom interviews.
Some of the areas include being in a well-lit area and avoiding backlight, being in a quiet environment and setting the camera at eye level. It is also important to ensure that the device has a good microphone and use a clutter-free, natural background.
To draw journalists out of their homes and offices, the event should also be highly experiential, interactive, and offer a wealth of content creation opportunities.
In short, make it worth their while.
4. Experimenting with content distribution
By embracing data and analytics, media companies now know their readers' habits and how their needs have changed, from the type of content they want to read to the platforms they receive news from. As a result, publications are experimenting with different platforms and content types such as podcasts.
Instead of publishing only on one platform, publications have also diversified their channels by using Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among others. Using these social media platforms, brands can create bite-sized content that’s easy to produce and consume.
So if the brand's stories don’t make the mainstream cut – work with journalists to land on alternative media platforms.
5. Continue to engage
To effectively communicate key messages to wider audiences, brands must take a value-driven communications approach to earn the media’s attention. This means less individual, ad hoc announcements and more thematic or campaign-based work to communicate your brand’s commitment to a topic.
Equally, once a brand begins to gain the media’s attention, it’s important to keep the relationship up, by supporting their stories with quotes. There will be times when brands are restricted in what they can say – but offering alternative comments or turning it down with a strong, relevant reason will go a long way in strengthening a brand’s relationship with the journalist.
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