5 Reasons Your Digital PR Campaigns Fail

Date published: May 20, 2014
Last updated: May 20, 2014

Digital content promotion is hard. Every day, over 450,000 content pieces are created with over 30 billion pieces of content per month being shared on Facebook alone. This requires marketers to develop a process of identification and engagement with those contacts that will link them to their target audience.

Because of this, knowing the qualities of a successful PR campaign is just as important as being aware of the mistakes you might make along the way. If you find your campaign isn’t experiencing the success you want it to, below are some possible actions you are not taking.

1. You don’t understand the “why”

Brands exist to solve problems. One of the basic issues in promotion is ignoring the brand’s “why” which can be translated as “Why are they in business?” or “Why do they perform their service?” or any number of questions that begin with this particular interrogative. In content promotion, the same question needs to be asked. Content that seeks to answer questions for an asking audience inherently serves that audience. In this, the brand provides something through its content that helps the customer relate to the “why.” This act of service begins to build a relationship that leads to conversion.

2. You don’t understand the customer

This goes for both B2B and B2C clientele, and is hand-in-hand with the “why.” The next steps include finding the people who actually have the problem, creating content that serves rather than sells, and promoting it properly. If social media has taught us anything it’s that people are different, and knowing these differences are the key to reaching the intended audience.

For example, different age groups use Facebook more than Twitter and, depending on the time of day, those age groups will be more engaged. Get to know your customer through audience, content and trend assessments. Find out where they are online and what compels them to interact and engage. From there, serve them with the content that can help solve their problem.

3. You aren’t using your content correctly

Content is the mode by which the brand solution can be communicated. Over 70 percent of customers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads, and 68 percent are likely to spend time reading content from a brand in which they are interested. Below are some questions to ask yourself before you start creating content:

  • Does your content work to solve the problem of the targeted audience?
  • Does the content add value to the outlet you are pitching?
  • Is the subject matter of the content something your contact will even be interested in?
  • Has this topic already been covered and if so, what new angles need attention?

4. You don’t research the outlet

Journalists, editors and bloggers are busy people. Pitching content that does not interest them, both personally and professionally, not only wastes their time but makes the rest of us in the industry look bad. Research the outlets you are pitching and the individuals who will receive your pitch. Follow them on social and interact with them. Does what you intend to promote provide value to their readers? Engagement them with that mindset. Tools like Cision, Buzzsumo and Followerwonk will help get you started.

5. Your pitch is too long

Pitching is a subjective science ruled by the whim of the writer and reader, where the most perfect pitch could be outright dismissed by the latter because they’re “having a bad day” or “it wasn’t the right time.” This means it’s important to get to the point. Most media contacts won’t care how well your pitch is crafted if you aren’t upfront.

Generally, the subject line and first two sentences should clear about why you are contacting them. If you’ve done your research, then the reason you are pitching them should align with their interests and they will read on. In the latter part of the email, you can include the information about the content and who it will help, citing a past article they have written to support your claim or just simply confirming that because they are a subject matter expert, you think they will be interested in the content you are trying to promote. Use ego-stroking where appropriate, but be sincere about it.

Digital marketers are not content peddlers. We should not be blindly sending out poorly crafted, long pitches to outlets that care nothing about the content promoted. We care about the brand and the content that it uses to engage the right audience, with the right problem in order to offer a solution. The “why” of what we do should always be the reason we do it.

Image credit: Hans Gerwitz


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