I spent five minutes with Australia’s Influencing, an Aussie website for PR and media professionals, talking about my work life. You can read the full article here and below.
Matthew Wu is a tech PR practitioner with more than eight years of media expertise in the technology and gaming industry. He currently works as an account director at Media & Capital Partners, a Melbourne-based investor and media relations advisory firm providing communications services to Australian technology startups.
Wu is a two-time winner of the David Hellaby Best Media Relations category at the IT Journalism Awards and has worked in a variety of technology public relations and marketing roles at ASUS Australia, Cybergamer, Sydney Gamers League and Edelman. In 2015, he led the Samsung LifeLIVE PR campaign which was shortlisted as a finalist in the Cannes PR Lions category.
Tell us about your role as an account director at Media & Capital Partners. What are your and how does a typical day unfold?
Just like most journalists and PRs out there, there’s no such thing as a typical day. The day changes depending on the news agenda and the requirements of the clients and journalists. And when shit hits the fan, that’s when the fun starts.
Morning > Walk/Tram to work while reading the global news from overnight through Apple News, Twitter, Paul Bennett’s excellent daily Startup newsletter
Morning > Grab an overpriced coffee from Bonnie Coffee Co – best beans and extraction process near the office – to start off the day and pretend that I’m a morning person when I’m really not. Head into the office and scour the Aussie papers and websites for a round of local news.
Morning > Decide which Spotify playlist to listen to and enable shuffle
Morning > Scan emails to prioritise the day’s tasks (to-do-lists are a PR must) and check in with the team to see how they’re tracking along
Morning > Tackle the most annoying or urgent task (usually the same thing)
Afternoon > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO6OaVnbqaY
Afternoon > Probably some /giphy in a Slack channel or two
Afternoon > Probably some Twitter banter too
Night > I’m a news junkie, so I’m still reading the news after work (if not online or in Pocket, then it’ll be magazines or maybe even a book)
Night > But to be honest, over the last seven days, I’ve been hitting up the Pokemon Go, so that’s been taking over my evenings lately 😐
Why did you choose a public relations career and can you describe a stand-out project that you’ve worked on?
The career actually chose me. My first gig in PR (and my first full time job) was with ASUS, the Taiwanese computer company. They reached out to me to apply for their new Technical Marketing and PR role. In a three-year stint, I was fortunate to turn my hobby into a career, as well as establish and work with many tech/gaming journos with whom I’m still in contact with today.
I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with some amazing people for household names like Samsung, PayPal, and Telstra. The key standout campaign for me was definitely planning and executing the PR strategy for Samsung LifeLIVE with the team at Edelman. We drove millions of organic views from Australia and all around the world to a YouTube video. The campaign showcased the potential of virtual reality by enabling a father to watch his son’s birth live from across Australia with Samsung’s VR headset.
It won numerous awards including the best B2C campaign at Mumbrella’s 2016 CommsCon Awards, a few accolades at the 2015 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, as well as being nominated for a Lion in Cannes’ PR category. More importantly, it established Samsung as a leader in the VR space early on, and with that, led to increased sales of its VR headset (and hence, its flagship handsets).
In my new gig at Media and Capital Partners, I’m helping Aussie tech startups that are unique and fun in their own right. It always gives the team and I much pleasure and satisfaction helping grow an entrepreneur’s baby. That’s as good as an award.
Which apps are you currently using the most and why?
Pretty self explanatory about why I use the apps that I do. For the Pokemon Go fans: I’m level 25 and on Team Valor.
As winner of the Best Media Relations category at the IT Journalism Awards twice consecutively, and recipient of a host of additional honours, what is your secret to an effective communications program within the tech sector?
Understand the technology industry and the stakeholders in it. If you know what your client is doing, then I reckon you’re only a third of the way there.
The secret is to go one step further; the secret is to know more than the client about their industry. This means you should know about their current and upcoming competitors and what real customers are saying about their products/services. You should know what trends are coming up so your client can be the first to leverage it or to prepare for it before shit hits the fan.
If you know more than the client, you’re able to bring insights to the table that they’ve never thought about, and then you’re going to be an asset to them as well as to journalists.
All this knowledge helps you communicate to journalists (and other external stakeholders) about how your client fits into a macro and micro view. You’ll also be able to think of better angles for journalists because you get the bigger picture.
Do this constantly and you’ll develop a good working relationship with journos. Treat them as equals, don’t screw them over; be transparent with them. Know their publishing deadlines and who they write, read, present to. Know what they need in order to do their jobs. Read their work. It helps our jobs a lot. tl;dr: Be a technology enthusiast first and a PR person second. Also: Read a lot. Read about technology. Read about history. Read about current world news. Keep up with the Kardashians. Read novels. Read about anything that interests you. Read across different mediums. You’ll develop better comprehension and understanding of the world by doing this.
Why do you feel so passionate about gaming and technology and how would you describe your approach to the work you do?
I’ve been lucky to grow up in a generation where technology has been an exponentially growing influence and reliance in our daily lives. I think that’s fuelled the passion –probably. We didn’t grow up rich and my family wasn’t overly into tech products like my friends, so I think that helped fuel the passion too. I was a very jealous kid when I was over my friends’ houses waiting for a turn on their SNES, Sega Megadrives, N64s, etc. These elements all start adding up like logs fuelling the fire. That’s probably a reason too if I think about it. Culturally, the notion of being a technology enthusiast has transformed from a typically nerdy stereotype in the 1990s-2000s to something that now adds to your culture capital within friends and family. There’s a reason why technology companies now dominate the ‘most influential brands’ studies, locally and globally.
You have to be passionate about technology to do good stuff. That’s the drive others may not have. And that’s the secret to be different from the rest of the pack. It’s never too late to start now though. The next 10 years will bring a lot of life-transforming tech that we can all be a part of: Magic Leap, electronic autonomous vehicles, connected lives (IoT), machine learning and AI, CRISPR gene editing, space travel for non-astronauts, etc…the rise and effect of technology is not going to stop. Who knows what else is going to pop up over the next wave and change our lives for the better?
Any other exciting news that you’d like to share?
No exciting news from me. We did just move into a new office with a pool table, bar, comfy sofas, and slick graffiti on the walls. It’s pretty cool. Any journos that are in Melbourne for a day and wanting an office to work out of for a day, hit me or any of the Media & Capital Partners crew up. I’ll also say is a big thanks to everyone who I have worked with over the last eight years. All the laughter. All the opportunities. Big thanks to Jen Crowcroft, my manager when I was with Edelman, who has mentored me to where I am today. I hope to instil the same virtues, astuteness, and patience, as a manager to my future teams.
Contact Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Tweets @matthewwu.