6 Reasons Why Your Content Campaign Might Be Failing and How to Rescue It
We’ve all been there – you build a shiny new campaign, craft the perfect outreach email, and have drawn up the best contacts, but after a slow launch with little interest, where are all my backlinks?
It’s never a great feeling when it dawns on the PR team that a content campaign might not have been doing as well as we expected. Is it our pitch emails? Did we choose the right angles to focus on? Have we missed something or is it just a busy news week?
So what steps can you take to rescue a Digital PR campaign? Discover six points to consider ahead of reangling a piece of content.
1 – Confusing content
As the main asset you steer potential contacts towards, your content needs to be useful, interesting and, most importantly, easy to use. Undoubtedly a content piece with a lot of angles is great for the PR team, but there also comes a time when a piece is too busy and puts people off.
In order to design content that is straightforward, ensure that the main points of the piece are clear. If they’re not, when users or journalists first land on the page they’re not going to be able to digest the piece properly – which won’t lead to backlinks.
Ask other members of your team to cast their eye over the piece and to provide you with any feedback. The best people to ‘practice’ content campaigns on before considering a redesign are family and friends; their answers are most likely to be honest and extremely helpful as they’ll spot things that might have slipped through the net.
If the piece isn’t floating with contacts, family/friends, and coworkers, it might be time to consider a redesign or creating additional assets to support outreach such as tables or static data cards.
2 – Does it look good across all platforms?
It’s the 21st Century (a.k.a the era of 24-hour rolling news and video content) and if your campaigns aren’t optimised for all screen sizes and browsers, you really need to reconsider this during the design and build stages.
Ensuring pieces work landscape, portrait, on mobile and on desktop screens is vital for every campaign. Journalists could be viewing your pitch emails during their commute on their smartphones or tablets before they even get into the office and we don’t want to miss out on potential placements because the visual asset doesn’t look great for them.
Social sharing, removing typo’s, basic SEO optimisation and fixing glitches should also be adjusted before launching any campaign.
Bearing the final state in mind should be a priority and designing mobile first is always a great starting point for a new campaign. The Big British Music Map we created for TotallyMoney comprises of two different views depending on which screen it’s being viewed on. This helped build a total of 27 pieces of coverage to an interactive piece with a number of different functions.
3 – Check your outreach emails and strategy
As the final step to delivering the campaign and presenting it to prospective contacts, there’s a lot that can go wrong in sending a simple pitch email. Things to consider are:
- Have you aimed ‘too’ high? Maybe refocusing who you send emails to will help with open and response rates
- Is the subject line dismissive?
- Is the tone right?
- Have you pulled out the right hooks for each niche?
- Have you spent enough time researching potential contacts?
Coming up with an outreach strategy is the golden rule of media relations. Breaking down when you’ll be going to certain contacts (including the day of the week and time of day), ensuring there’s no overlap, leaving enough time to follow up and checking the news cycle should all be premeditated.
4 – Tracking results
In order to analyse which angles are gaining the most traction, tracking results is one of the most important factors for a link building campaign. If a particular niche is working well and you secure a link or two from it, take note of the subject line and key highlights and rework them into fresh emails for the next round.
There are a number of online softwares available to help with tracking your results such as Streak for opens, Buzzstream for a more in-depth analysis of each angle and Yesware for larger mail merges and handy desktop notifications. Tracking outreach efforts also allows us to easily see which angles are just not working at all and where we might need to scrap different approaches. If an email is receiving a lot of opens but no clicks through to the URL of the piece, a rejig of the email might be worth a try as clearly the subject line is working.
Do you know how many people opened or replied to your Christmas angle compared to your travel angle? These stats can help make or break a campaign by supplying us with the tactics for our next steps.
5 – Repitch, reangle and newsjack
If the angles you’ve chosen aren’t working and you’re not satisfied with the number of email opens the campaign is receiving, it might be time for an adjustment. This can be done one of two ways; choosing different angles in the story (e.g. Lifestyle, Finance, Travel) or by reshaping the campaign asset itself.
A good example of reangling can be seen in the outreach for The Slang Map of the USA for PlayNJ. After approaching national US publications with the story in the first instance, the campaign received little interest. Using the results from the map, outreach was then broken down by state and when radio websites were added into the prospecting mix the interactive graphic picked up a lot of coverage, receiving 20 followed links.
To help reach link building goals a complete pivot of an idea, such as utilising data and research you already have, can work to grab those last couple of links. An example of this can be seen in The Best Place to Buy a Holiday Home by TotallyMoney where the remaining links became a struggle to get. Armed with the data a separate static graphic with a new angle of ‘retiring abroad’ was made, this piece Where Should You Retire Abroad helped to wrap up the campaign.
Newsjacking is another effective way to help get a slower campaign off of the ground. Be sure to keep on top of the news cycle and take note of upcoming awareness days to ensure these dates take a spot in your overarching outreach strategy.
6 – Ask for feedback
It’s something most PRs are guilty of – we don’t always ask for feedback. Whether it’s good or bad, asking why it wasn’t right this particular time can help build on your relationships as well as helping to pave the next steps for the campaign.
How Much is Your Retro Tech Worth by TotallyMoney hit its link target after asking journalists for their feedback. The general angle of ‘iconic failed tech being worth more money in modern-day’ resonated well when pitched, but our contacts didn’t really care too much about older items such as the Underwood Typewriter and a Sony Walkman. Based on this feedback, the campaign was developed from an interactive tool to two follow up infographics; one for the UK and one for the US audience.
From completely pivoting a Digital PR campaign based on journalist feedback to simply taking a step back to reconsider which angles to lead with during outreach, there is always a way to successfully reach your link building KPIs.
What’s the best way you’ve managed to pull back a campaign from the brink? Let us know.
By Pete Reis-Campbell - 30/10/2018