5 Things to Consider When Creating a Campaign for the Italian Market
After a year and a half of experience creating Digital PR campaigns for both the UK and the Italian markets, I can say with certainty: the two markets are very different.
But it’s more than just making pasta. The dissimilarities between these two countries find their roots in the different editorial policies and how journalism is perceived and carried out.
This post will share the main differences I have experienced to help you create the perfect campaign for the Italian market.
These are five things to keep in mind when writing and outreaching a campaign to the Italian press:
1. There’s no tabloid press
In the UK, digital PRs get a substantial amount of their links from tabloids such as the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail. In Italy, there’s no such thing as tabloids. Italian national publications are usually the go-to for Italian digital PRs, depending on the nature of the campaign. This makes it harder for companies and agencies to get follow links from Tier 1 publications.
Tip: Although most Nationals don’t usually link, it does happen on rare occasions. My advice when outreaching to Italian nationals would be to focus on prospecting. Finding journalists working in the right niche will help you get follow links, especially from the bigger publications. Building relationships with journalists is also hugely beneficial to getting press coverage and sometimes links.
2. Italy is not as digitally advanced as the UK
PR in Italy is less about links and SEO ranking and more about the power of word of mouth, and the way Italians do journalism is very old-school. In fact, advertorial content is not always welcomed by journalists who see companies and agencies looking for free links as suspicious and dishonest. The value of links is often unseen by Italian journalists because traditional PR is still dominant, and SEO still has to establish itself.
Tip: To make your campaign more attractive to the Italian press, include expert commentary and, if possible, use your client’s expertise to support the research. Italian journalists are more likely to link when expert commentary is provided, as it gives more credibility to the overall study.
3. Most Tier 1 lifestyle publications don’t link
As per Italian nationals, most Tier 1 lifestyle publications such as Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, GQ and Elle don’t tend to link. Getting a no-follow link from these publications can also be challenging, making it a bit harder for digital PRs to hit KPIs for their clients in the Italian market.
Tip: As websites with a domain rating higher than 75 don’t tend to link, my advice would be to have realistic expectations of what is possible in terms of link coverage in this market and communicate this to the client to set achievable targets and avoid disappointment. Don’t get me wrong: achieving link coverage in the Italian market is still doable and beneficial to the client as lots of 50-60+ DR Italian websites are still inclined to link. However, high DR sites have different editorial policies, which interfere in the Digital PR processes making it more difficult to obtain links.
4. Keep your campaigns reactive
Reactive content has been particularly successful over the past year and a half since the COVID-19 outbreak when pandemic news populated our Twitter feeds. Italian journalists love reactive content. This is why keeping up with the news is essential to finding the right angles to outreach. Although this is also true for UK outreach, the majority of Italian content is reactive.
Tip: Being aware of Italian bank holidays and religious holidays is also a great way to create reactive content; you can find a full list of Italian holidays here. Like the UK, national holidays can be good hooks for journalists looking for new, interesting campaigns. But, be sure to outreach these campaigns a couple of weeks in advance to avoid out of office emails and the risk of being too late.
5. Lifestyle campaigns don’t tend to work well
Fake products and creative campaigns don’t work well in Italy as journalists perceive them as unethical or ‘fake news’. Having tried this approach in the past, I know it doesn’t work well in the Italian market and can lead to a bad reputation for both the client and agency involved. Creative design concepts also don’t tend to do as well due to being seen as advertorial and cheap. In my experience, I’ve found that data-led campaigns are much more effective and well-received.
Tip: Economic and societal campaigns tend to work better in the Italian market, with journalists feeling more inclined to link to the study if it’s perceived as useful information that could benefit their readers. Examples of campaigns that did very well in the Italian market are:
Reebok’s Working From Home and Our Bodies campaign (Italian link here)
This did really well in the Italian market, exceeding KPIs with 12 follow links and 44 pieces coverage for the client. This campaign is very data-focused and supported by expert commentary.
Due to this being a societal campaign with a gender-gap angle, it was well-received by the Italian press, allowing us to obtain 14 follow links.
Italians still have a very old-school way of doing journalism, based on mentions over links and publicity over SEO. As the world moves towards digital innovation, Italian media outlets will inevitably have to adapt to it. I firmly believe that Italian Digital PRs have the educational duty to help journalists during this transition to ensure it is as smooth as possible.
Are you looking to expand your brand into the Italian market? Get in touch and find out how our Digital PR team could support your efforts.