9 questions to ask when deciding on a digital PR campaign

digital PR

Creating a successful digital PR campaign can be difficult. You want to come up with concepts that generate buy-in from internal stakeholders, as well as pique the interest of journalists.  

There is a reason why digital PR is notorious for being difficult – after all, persuading a top media outlet to pay attention to your press release, decide they like it enough to publish it and include a dofollow link to your site is easier said than done. 

To help the process along, we have compiled the 9 questions we ask whenever we are deciding on a digital PR campaign for our clients… 

1. What are my objectives? 

Every campaign needs objectives which can be measured, and digital PR is no different. Typically, you want your campaign to result in a minimum number of backlinks, a percentage increase in traffic over a set period, improved engagement with a particular page (like an interactive calculator or game) or similar. 

Once you have your objectives set, you will have metrics to measure, analyse and report on during and after the campaign. 

2. Where have my competitors secured links? 

Scoping out the competition is a good way to ascertain the types of campaigns which work well, the publications which are open to including backlinks on their sites and the journalists who will pick up digital PR content to write about. 

You can look for competitor backlinks manually by searching for their names in the News results on Google and seeing what comes up. You can also generate reports using keyword research tools, which will provide you with additional information such as the authority of the referring domain. 

Make a shortlist of the most promising-looking competitor backlinks, whether you’re bookmarking publications, journalists, campaign ideas or all of the above. 

3. Do we have existing media relationships to make use of? 

Depending on the size of your business, you may already have generated backlinks or have a good relationship with some media outlets. If you work for a large business then ask around and get hold of as much information as you can about previous campaigns, publications who have been amenable to backlinks in the past and journalist contact information. 

However these links were obtained, make a note of the people who published them and put them at the top of your media lists. 

4. What are our dream publications to appear in? 

You will likely have an idea of publications you would love to see your brand referenced in. For example, if you are an insurance brand you may dream of appearing on the MoneySavingExpert site, or if you are an ecommerce site selling women’s skincare you may want to show up in Glamour or Cosmopolitan online. 

These ideas are great launchpads to begin thinking about other publications which could be a fit for your brand. Your notes will form the basis for your media list research. 

5. What niche or tangential topic is best to target? 

Sometimes it may not be immediately obvious what your topic or niche should be in the context of digital PR. For example, if you are a mattress company then you may need to come up with a tangential topic idea in order to generate buzz. In this case, sleep habits would be a niche to tap into. 

If your competitor analysis has not helped you to come up with tangential topic ideas, then browse your dream publications and see if any articles relate to topics which could be matched to your brand. Once you have your topic, you may have some ideas right away for campaigns. If not, you can move to the next question… 

6. What are our target publications and journalists writing about? 

You may have an idea which you’re really excited about, but part of the digital PR ideation process is matching the concept with a publication and their corresponding journalist(s). Take a deep dive into your list of target publications and make notes on the types of stories they are currently prioritising. 

Also consider the social buzz around the stories – after all, journalists will be more likely to take on a story if you can prove that similar ones have generated a ton of clicks and engagement for them in the past. 

7. What are our initial ideas? 

At this point you should have some initial ideas which can be jotted down and discussed with colleagues. It can be beneficial to bring together people from different departments as everyone will have a unique way of thinking. Run your ideas past as many people as possible as you never know what may be added or adjusted along the way. 

Your list will naturally grow, shrink and change as you talk about the feasibility of each idea. A concept you may have been excited about may not interest anyone else, or it could be too difficult to get data for. On the other hand, your idea may spark something different during discussion which can be taken and run with.  

As part of these talks, you will be thinking about how to gather the information for each concept – which is where data collection comes in. 

8. What kind of data can we collect? 

Depending on the type of idea, there will be some form of data collection required. Ultimately, you are pulling together something unique and original which is designed to pique the interest of journalists. You will have discussed the feasibility for the data collection associated with each initial idea, and once you have your shortlist it’s time to dig into the resources you have available. 

For example, your business may be able to compile a survey and target your customer base to gain insights from them which can be turned into a story. You may need to figure out how to find statistics or figures from external sources – in which case you’ll need to do some preliminary research to ascertain what the process will be. Once you know how the story will be built out, you can start to refine your ideas shortlist. 

9. Which ideas can be refined? 

Once you are asking this question, you should have a few good ideas which can be used in a campaign. There may be some concepts which appeal more than others due to the level of excitement they generate amongst you and your colleagues, or perhaps the data collection process will be more straightforward for some and quite time-consuming for others. There could be a higher risk of useless data results for some ideas, but the potential statistics might be worth it. 

Your next steps may be to agree on an idea to take forward internally, or you may need to present a few ideas to stakeholders or clients to choose from. Ensure you are transparent with your presentation and share the cons as well as the pros – for example, if there is a risk of not gaining valuable insights then decision makers need to be aware and take that risk with you.  

It can also be helpful to draft up some headlines and even lay out a mock-up of the story in one of your dream publications in order to provide strong visuals to sell your campaign ideas and help people see how it will look in action. 

Need help with your digital PR? 

If you need help with building your backlink profile, we are just an email or phone call away. Get in touch today to find out how we can help. 

You can also discover the strength of your current digital PR efforts with our completely Free Acquisitions Workshop, which provides pointers about how you can take your off-page SEO to the next level, expert advice from our experienced marketers, a tailored action plan, and free resources. 


Imogen Groome

Content Lead

Imogen is the SEO Content Lead at Skittle Digital. Imogen has worked in SEO since 2016. She helped to define SEO strategy at Metro.co.uk before guiding the newsroom at The Sun Online as SEO Editor. She has more than 5 years’ experience in scaling content strategies that drive revenue for brands through organic search channels. In her spare time, Imogen writes books, watches poor-quality reality TV and hangs out with her cats.

Similar posts