atom42 Digital Marketing Blog
atom42 Digital Marketing Blog

The six sins of digital PR: are YOU guilty?

25 May 2017
By Corinne

Designing digital PR campaigns that gain both online exposure and high value, relevant links is tricky.

We’ve worked on all kinds of digital PR campaigns, and we’ve learned how to avoid the many pitfalls that even highly experienced companies can stumble over.

If your last digital PR campaign left tumbleweed bouncing across your screen, it may have been down to one of these six digital PR sins. Ignore them at your peril.

Sin #1: Your story was obvious marketing

There are a few ways this can go wrong. Perhaps your story contained useful information about your new product, but you were overly flattering about what it offered? Maybe you failed to use the objective voice, or lacked expert comments to provide credence to your story? Perhaps the story lacked substance and was simply a promotional piece? Journalists are allergic to obvious marketing and can smell it a mile off.

Sin #2: Your article was too generic

We usually want our digital PR campaigns to be published on a range of websites, gaining maximum exposure and links along the way. But if you cast your net too wide with a single, one-size-fits-all story, it’s liable to fall flat. Tailoring your article to specific sites, or groups of sites, takes longer, but the results will prove this strategy worthwhile.

Sin #3: You lacked a human angle

Without a human angle, stories can come across as flat and uninspiring. Whatever it is you’re describing, consider how you can highlight the human side. Perhaps a survey will show how people are reacting to the subject of your story, or a case study will help to bring it alive. This man-goose story is an example of the kind of human interest story that can get journalists’ pulses racing.

Sin #4: Your email was long and rambling

No matter how good your story is, it can easily get lost in a long, meandering email that just doesn’t get to the point. Journalists often receive hundreds of emails a day, so to hold their attention you need to spell out the story straight away. Including the ‘5 Ws’: who, what, where, why and when as soon as possible can help do this in a straightforward, recognisable way.

Sin #5: You didn’t include a news hook

Ultimately, journalists are looking for something that passes as ‘news’. Be ruthless about your story: what about it makes it newsworthy? Why is it relevant now? If you can’t answer these questions confidently, it’s time for a rethink.

Sin #6: You didn’t provide images

Stories create images in journalist’s minds, so having relevant pictures to accompany your story is a must. At the very least, you should have professional quality pictures of those quoted. However, more striking imagery can radically affect the decision to publish or not, so considering how to produce the best photographs for a campaign is time well spent.

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