How This Singapore Start-up is Marrying PR and Data Science

SumoStory is enabling press coverage for start-ups at a fraction of the cost

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 30 Aug 2017


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Journalists receive countless leads, but only a newsworthy pitch can cut through the noise. This is an often-overlooked, yet important PR dilemma for companies: How can they provide journalists with relevant, newsworthy material?

SumoStory is a Singapore-based company that uses data science to create affordable PR services for start-ups. It matches journalists with entrepreneurs based on their mutual interests in order to make the process of pitching much more targeted.

The company collects data on the interests and writing histories of journalists and puts it through a matching algorithm to produce a list of primary and secondary matches that fit client start-ups. SumoStory then helps clients craft a narrative for the brand, as well as possible angles for a press release. The final product is then customized and pitched to selected journalists.

SumoStory was founded in 2017 and bootstrapped by entrepreneur and former journalist Chris Chong. He co-founded Groupon in Singapore and for four years managed its marketing, communications, and PR departments. Chong was also a former advisor on start-ups in the APAC region for Singapore-based business builder, REAPRA. REAPRA is an investor in Sycamore Media Holdings, the parent company of Inc. Southeast Asia.

As former social media editor at the South China Morning Post, Chong knows the importance of cutting through the noise. And with large corporations easily outspending start-ups on Google Adwords or Facebook ads, PR is one channel that start-ups can compete with the big boys in. SumoStory, he says, offers an affordable way to boost brand awareness through creative content, such as well-developed thought leadership pieces.

“Big companies are slower and more careful with PR, which gives start-ups an opportunity to own their space,” Chong says in a statement. For SumoStory, PR is not about how much money you spend, but how you build relationships with the press.

In over a month, SumoStory has acquired 23 clients, including FOMO Pay, MBA Link, FlySpaces, Covetella, and UShift.

As for pricing, two packages are available — Ninja at S$800 and Sumo at S$2,400 for six months. According to company data, the industry average of a traditional PR firm in Singapore is around S$5,000 per month with a compulsory retainer fee.

To be sure, gone are the days when companies can rely solely on generic press releases to get coverage. PR is getting a bit more personal.