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What to do if your digital PR campaign isn’t landing

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“PIVOT!” and other steps to take if your campaign just isn’t getting the cut-through you’d hoped for.


If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that things don’t always go to plan.

But even in a year that brought us a global pandemic, a whole new meaning for the word ‘bubble’, and more Zoom quizzes than we care to remember, we also learned you can still get winning results for your digital PR campaign.

While admittedly some ideas had to be shelved or paused until the return of some semblance of normality, some were able to cut through the noise and make their mark.

Here are some things to consider if your campaign isn’t quite going as well as you’d planned:

  1. Timing

It’s true what they say, timing is everything.

This is something that should be considered at the planning stage, but as we’ve seen this year, even the most thought-through plans have been turned on their heads by Covid-19.

So, if you find that your campaign isn’t landing as expected, look again at the timing. Is it better to hang fire for another month? Is there an international or national day coming up in the calendar that you can hook it on to? What about regulatory changes or government announcements? Think about all the other possibilities in the future that you could tap into instead.

If you find a new place for your campaign in the schedule, make sure you refresh the press release and content so it’s still relevant for the new timing, including updating any comments you might have.

  1. Data

We love a good data story, and the media does too. But does your data stand out? Is it strong enough? Are you leading with the right data-nugget?

These are all questions you should ask yourself if you find your campaign isn’t landing as well as you’d hoped.

Take time to read back through your content, revisit the raw data as if you were starting from scratch, and see if you can uncover any gems with a fresh pair of eyes. If you don’t find anything new, then look at what you’ve already got and consider if you’re leading with the strongest or most interesting numbers.

If you’ve explored those options then it’s time to look elsewhere. By that, I mean seeking out external data to back up what you’re saying to add strength to your story. As well as backing up what you’re saying, you’ll also be offering the journalist extra insight for their article, which is a win-win all round.

  1. Experts

In the pursuit of a super-creative-never-been-done-before campaign, you might have come up with a brilliant new idea for your brand and you want the whole world to see it.

It’s good to be creative and think imaginatively, stretching a brand into new territories with your campaign. But if you go too far, a journalist might be wondering how you got there.

If this is the case, then make sure you have the answer covered. An easy way to do this is by partnering with an expert in this new area, to give authority to your campaign. If you haven’t done this at the start, it’s not always too late to get a third party to back up your campaign after it’s launched.

  1. Angles

It can’t be repeated enough: always consider your angles! It helps if you’ve factored in a few different hooks at the planning stage of your campaign, but even if you haven’t, the chances are there is still more than one way to tell your story.

Go back through your campaign and pull out all the different angles you can find. Once you’ve done that, think about whether you’re using the right angle for the right target publication and audience. A simple switch up of the subject line could be enough, but it’s better to be thorough and make sure your whole pitch is tailored to the right publication and the right audience. Remember, while the same story may well work for both personal finance and lifestyle journalists, it’s unlikely you’ll catch their attention with the same headline.

Another tip is to ask a member of the team who’s not as close to the campaign to spend some time looking through the content. With a fresh pair of eyes they might just pick out something you haven’t seen.

  1. News monitoring

This should be part of your daily routine, not least because it helps you stay in the know, but also because it will help you to understand if your campaign is striking the right tone. The last thing anyone wants to do is go out with a campaign that gets lost in the noise, or, worse still, is completely tone deaf.

If your campaign has been kicked down the schedule because of Covid-19 or even just because of moving timelines, then make sure it’s still relevant to the world around it when it is time to go live. And once it’s out there, don’t stop the news monitoring.

Look again with fresh eyes

These are just a few things to consider if you find yourself trying to get results for a campaign that isn’t landing as you’d hoped, but it’s by no means the only way to find a solution.

If you’d like us to help with your campaigns, contact us here.

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Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Hi, I’m Chris, Content Editor at BrandContent. I work on content strategy, planning and creation. I have nearly 15 years’ experience as a journalist and editor. I bring a newsroom mindset – along with a heavy dose of pedantry – honed from writing for the likes of the FT and Sunday Times. Outside of work? Pizza and my two small children are the first two things that come to mind.

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