3 Essential Components of a Successful Digital PR Campaign

A mix of traditional PR and online tactics, digital PR can be a hugely valuable part of a marketer’s strategy. As digital PR continues to grow, it's important to know the essential components of successful digital PR campaigns:

Clear Goals

As you know, the first element of any traditional PR campaign is setting clear, measurable goals. It's the same for digital PR. 

One of the primary difference between digital PR and traditional PR is that digital tends to be much easier to measure. In digital PR, we can monitor effectiveness through: 

  1. Links Especially if yours is a campaign born of an SEO need, you’ll want to measure the number and quality of new backlinks coming to your website
  2. Link Positioning In line with your SEO backlink requirement, you’ll also want to state more specific requirements, such as links to a certain page or section of your website
  3. Traffic One of your goals might be to get audience members to visit a website and interact with your brand, so site traffic is a tangible measure of this goal

Of course, you can reference traditional goals, but try to make them tangible. For example, you might specify that you want to broaden visibility among a specific section of the target market. Setting the goal of placements in websites relevant to that sector would help guide the strategy.

Have Credibility as a Source

If you want to create a digital PR campaign about sports, for example, you’d better be an expert in sports. Or, at the very least, have something to prove your credibility in speaking on the topic.

In any campaign, you’ll need to ensure the company has credibility in the topic around which you want to base your campaign. This might mean:

  1. Creating an on-site asset to accompany your campaign, such as a visualization of a complex topic, an in-depth blog post or a data analysis relevant to the topic of focus
  2. Having a spokesperson on the topic who either works for or with your business, backing up your campaign
  3. Having a reason to talk on that topic, e.g. selling a range of products relevant to it, or being based in the location about which the campaign is speaking

Think Like a Journalist

Journalists will want to credit their sources where possible. But they need to maintain their credibility. This means they’re unlikely to use your content if you lack credibility. The last thing a journalist wants to write is something that's factually incorrect or ends up looking like a PR campaign.

One process you can use is circles of focus.  Articulate with executives topics that are most sales driven for the brand. Then discuss how far beyond those topics you can venture to gain coverage. Typically, the further removed the topic from the business' core products/services, the less sales-y it sounds. These less sales-y topics are more likely to gain coverage. Avoid going too far removed or the topic loses relevance for the business.

Be Creative, Be Inspired, Be Better

A good practice is for digital PR teams to share elements of interesting campaigns they see in the press.  Similarly, teams should keep a record of what inspires them. They can do this through a Pinterest board or via Slack channels, for example. 

The key thing is that journalists receive so many pitches. As a result, they need to make quick decisions about which to pursue and which to reject/ignore.

A journalist likely will reject a pitch when it's something that’s very close to what’s been covered previously. On the other hand, straying too far from what’s worked in the past might obscure your campaign's potential. Yours might be the greatest new idea, if the journalist doesn’t get past the subject line, it’s not getting covered.

That’s why it's important to take inspiration from successful campaigns. Keep notes about what made those campaigns successful. Be bold enough to come up with new ideas, but also remember that taking inspiration can help you prove the potential value of your campaign to a journalist very quickly.

Laura Hampton is head of digital PR at Impression