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A dynamic media landscape and the rise of AI can prove difficult to manoeuvre, especially for brands or in-house teams without previous experience. However, a changing media landscape does not necessarily change how campaigns are created. Beginners need to know the foundations of PR campaigns to deliver great results consistently.

If you’re looking to create newsworthy concepts to build backlinks or raise further brand awareness for your business, this blog will look at the building blocks of digital PR campaigns to achieve great coverage and stellar backlinks.

First things first – the brainstorm

The first step of any campaign is to find an original, but relevant idea. For this, you should come together as a team and throw ideas at each other, looking at what’s currently getting picked up in the media and how a story can stay true to your brand’s ethos and guidelines.

Key factors to consider for idea generation include your target audience’s interests and needs, vital media niches you want to reach with the campaign, what the competition is doing and whether you have the authority to comment on certain topics you’re thinking of exploring as part of the campaign.

For help on how to run brainstorms, you can read our helpful blog.

Once you have your idea it’s time to collate the data

Depending on your campaign, you might have to collect secondary data to back up your messaging. For example, if you’re a travel brand you might want to scope out the best areas for fine dining across the world. For this, you would need to source relevant data, such as restaurant reviews and accessibility. Untrustworthy data should be avoided at all costs, as this can harm your story and your reputation, too. If you’re using secondary data you must also ensure you have approval to use the data for media purposes too.

Some of our favourite data sources that we used to form campaigns include Statista, YouGov, ONS, FOI requests, consumer polls, social listening and general search trends.

You can also source experts within the field you’re covering to add further authority to your campaign including influencers and other experts depending on the topic you’re exploring. At connective3, to elevate our campaigns we often collaborate with influencers, professors and psychologists to name a few.

Supporting onsite content and designs

Once all data has been collated and triple-checked by you or the team, it’s time for design and copy. Now, not all campaigns require design and supporting onsite copy, especially if you’re planning to link to an already live section on your site such as a specific product page, but if you want to host content on your blog with supporting visuals, here are our tips.

Some examples of design you could use are:

  • Infographics for tables or data
  • Interactive pages to sit on-site
  • Header designs for the on-site content
  • Video design to accompany your blog

Content that sits onsite should also host more than just the data from your press release. Here, you can include more from your research or perhaps some supporting tips to make sure you’re offering journalists other link opportunities. Plus, this will allow you to jump on reactive stories in the future with the data you’ve gathered and hosted onsite.

Drafting your press release

While the content for the onsite blog and the design are being created, you can write the press release for your campaign. A crucial point of every release is to find the perfect hook that’ll catch the journalist’s attention immediately. It needs to be relevant, and newsworthy and cover important information including the who, what, why and when.

Building a media list

Relevancy is key when creating a media list and we always opt for quality over quantity. Your list should contain all relevant journalists to your story. You can find relevant journalists by using Google or other search engines by adding relevant keywords to see who has covered what in the past. Be sure to also look at your target publications and make sure the relevant journalists are also added to your list. Software such as Vuelio and Roxana can help you find relevant publications and journalists’ contact information.

The importance of an outreach plan, before outreach

Sometimes, your campaign can be ready to launch when suddenly breaking news erupts. Or perhaps you’ve launched your first angle and it’s just not bringing in the results you had hoped. So, first and foremost, you need to be prepared from the start. That’s why we always recommend having a thorough outreach plan in place. What angle are you launching first and why? Do you have different angles to approach different media niches with (you should)? What angles will you explore if the first doesn’t deliver? Or, if you’re aware of a potential situation that could impact the news agenda, do you have any supporting data or expert commentary from your campaign that can be elevated to use as a reactive opportunity should this happen? Always plan for the “what if”.

Building your results through media outreach

Once all your assets are live, you can start your outreach process. A tailored approach to relevant journalists is key. Look at what the journalists have written before and mention why you’re sending it their way. Do they cover wellness-led stories; Inform them your story fits their topics!

While no links can ever be guaranteed, there are ways you can increase the chances of coverage. At connective3, we look at what’s being covered in the news and adapt our subject lines and pitches to different journalists. Creating multiple angles to your story will also help you reach out to more journalists. However, don’t fall into the trap of bombarding journalists at once, you must take a tailored approach.

If you’re using software such as BuzzStream to help your outreach, look at the opening rates; is it low, or high? How many times do journalists open your emails, is it one, or perhaps five or six times? Reading the data from your initial outreach can help you adapt your press release for the future.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a digital PR campaign consists of. There are many key components and threads of information to keep track of, but with excellent time management and a strong team, you can create the most interesting digital PR campaign, and adapt it to the media landscape.

Want to learn more? Read more about the digital PR team and their work on our site.