Startup PR FAQs Answered at the American Chamber of Commerce
aCommerce Director of Communications, Felicia Moursalien, was invited to speak at the “Women in Business” Series in Thailand hosted by Connecting Founders and sponsored by the US Embassy and MOXY, the first female-focused ecommerce platform in Southeast Asia.
Over 50 women from all industries packed into the American Chamber of Commerce to hear four successful female entrepreneurs and thought-leaders share their experience constructing a brand, turning interests into a viable product, taking necessary risks and getting media buzz. The panel included Patchariya Archvichai of HappyPills, Natapree Pichaironarongsongkram of Supatra Real Estate and Tha Maharaj, Lauren Yates of Ponytail Journal and Felicia Moursalien of aCommerce.
Following the interest from young startups, these are her answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from last night’s event:
Q: I am a one-(wo)man team who does everything and have little time for a full communications strategy. What shortcuts do you recommend for effective startup PR?
- TweetDeck is your first step to world domination and by world domination I mean knowledge. You are able to quickly monitor what your preferred writers, journalists, publications, politicians, thought leaders, bloggers etc. are saying in real time. If you were at the event, you would know that a great and easy way to build relationships with media is through tweeting them and their work (if you like it). Tweetdeck is amazing because you can create lists to help you sift through the noise of Twitter and really focus on the channels relevant to your brand. My lists include: ‘Tech journalists’, ‘Hong Kong tech’ (when I was launching Jaha in HK), ‘Ardent Capital’, ‘aCommerce’ and of course ‘Reprieve’, where you can find my indulgences from The Atlantic’s contrarian David Frum to Frenchie English fashion blogger Camille Charriere.
- Bufferapp.com allows you to do 3 click social media marketing across the majority of your channels. I love it because I can easily share content regarding my industry instantly across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and even for my personal and company pages. When you have a daily hectic schedule, saving even 10 minutes makes a big difference so tools like Buffer will allow you to quickly build a consistent brand voice across all your online channels. I recommend taking half hour of every day to read your favourite news sites and scheduling the content across the channels.
- SEO Moz Bar is a browser plug-in that determines the SEO value of any online publication. The higher the domain authority, the more valuable your published work is (particularly if you have a back link to your website). Be aware that a website can have a high ranking even without high traffic. Ergo, don’t ignore the little guys! When making a backlinking strategy to optimize your site on Google, this is a great tool.
Q. I’m new to Southeast Asia tech. What are the main media to focus on if I’m doing a tech or ecommerce startup in Southeast Asia?
These are not all focused on tech or startups but they are listed here because they have a strong reputation for covering startup kind of news (ie. funding, launches, metrics). If your company is still very young with no Series funding or seed funding, I encourage you to shoot for local press and niche blogs first. Tech in Asia and e27 are listed first because they are amazing at giving a voice to startups, no matter how early stage. If you as a founder have insights, learnings or data you want to talk about, they are very receptive to guest posts. What they are NOT receptive to is a sales pitch talking about update whogivesahit 188.8.131.52. I get it, that update took your team half of its fundraising and 6 months to do, but think of it from their reader’s perspective: is it revolutionary, disruptive? Put your news in the larger context of all news.
2. I’m not a journalist. How am I supposed to know what is newsworthy or not?
I spent my young life oscillating between choosing a career in journalism or foreign service. I wrote for some great publications and had amazing editors who helped me shape my palette for what makes good and relevant news. That has been super useful when working with startups to create their stories. However, here is a shortcut, published by ex-Yahoo startup marketing man, Adam Gross. This is a ranking of what makes good startup or business news. Sad to say, product launches are not that cool unless you are Uber, where media will scramble to cover the very burps out of the executives’ mouths. You’ll get there!
Q. How do I justify the cost of PR to get my boss to unlock greater services? What is ROI?
I recently had a chat with aCommerce Chief Financial Officer, Piers Bennett, about his reason for investing in PR and allowing me to build a team of communications experts. These were the top three reasons why he valued media relations. As for the exact ROI of communications is hard to measure for us. If you have tips, please share!
- PR is much more effective at reaching suitable merchants than spending money buying Facebook ads and Google advertisements. There is a greater guarantee to reach the right audience – investors, new hires, partners – if your name is circulating in the right publications.
- At his previous venture, Piers found it was much easier to peak the interest of potential clients when they had already read about the company in TechCrunch or Huffington Post versus calling blind. They were also more willing to take your call if you already have some notoriety, it grants respect. This is especially true in Southeast Asia because they focus a lot on face value and prestige.
- Recruiting efforts, building the right network, word of mouth from friends, are all the “soft” things that get easier once you’ve established good PR. It’s the driving force to starting a powerful network.
Hope this was helpful. Remember, we are all learning things every day. Feel free to share in the comments or to write us on Facebook, Twitter or email our crew at firstname.lastname@example.org. My twitter is @LilFel if you want to get personal.