We’ve launched hundreds, if not thousands, of digital PR campaigns – far too many to count. Some that exceed all expectations and smashed KPIs, whereas some just don’t stick. It’s safe to say that most digital marketing companies, like ourselves, have planned, launched and eagerly awaited the results for press releases, only to be disappointed when it falls flat; missing out on key links and placements needed to meet your client’s KPIs. But is there a way to relaunch a failing digital marketing campaign?
We think so. As much as it’s important to shout about our achievements, it’s equally crucial to highlight the campaigns that don’t do quite as well as hoped. From experience, clients like to know we’re transparent and honest, as not every online marketing campaign gets the results, we think it deserves.
Over the last few years, we have incorporated several steps into our campaign strategy to help all campaigns stay on track – even if the odds aren’t in our favour.
Shai Aharony, the MD of Reboot shares some insights as well!
Here are five essential ways to relaunch a failing campaign
Evaluate your campaign angle
First and foremost, evaluate if your campaign had a strong angle to begin with. Take a moment to read through your campaign again and get someone who hasn’t seen it to review it. It sometimes help to print out your press release and scribble notes all over it, to get a clearer view of your campaign. Highlight your keyword/and or core angle – if you find it’s not clear enough, perhaps your angle was never concise from the beginning. This makes it harder for journalists to spot, when it should be easy and handed to them on a plate.
These are all questions you should be reflecting upon. And where needed, switch it up. It could be that changing one element (however big or small) could be your saving grace!
Evaluate your outreach
Be realistic and target the right journalists/publications
Personality and being personal go a long way
We know how annoying it can be to receive unwanted emails in our personal accounts, so try and avoid doing the same to journalists you’re trying to build relationships with.
If your digital PR campaign is lagging, your outreach email should be your first point of call. When outreaching your campaign, less is more – avoid large lists of contacts where your email seems impersonal. Instead, reassess and create smaller, more targeted category lists, where you can include their first name, and even an introductory sentence highlighting the connection between the research you’re sending them, their sector, as well as recent articles written where applicable.
Do this, and you’ll really increase your chances of positive leads the second time over.
Evaluate your subject line
We know that the outreach email is your only real chance of standing out among 300 other PR emails journalists receive each day. A good subject line spells the difference between a journalist opening your email or deleting it. So, if you’re needing to revive a failed marketing campaign, this should be one of the first things you revise. Sometimes, a weak subject line can drag the entire PR down, no matter how good the campaign angle is.
The key question to ask yourself is, does your subject line summarise your angle effectively? Be sure to include your focus keyword or prompt words, which help with open rates, such as: Exposed, Revealed, Mapped, Data, Statistics etc.
Likewise, if you have several opportunities to send your release to various sector specific publications, ensure your subject line is fitting to their industry and would resonate with their audience, otherwise it will be straight in the bin.
Evaluate your timings
Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to come back from a failing digital marketing campaign when time is against you. The good news is that there are several factors which you can control, whilst others you can’t, but there are also others you can't.
Timing you can control
Timing you can’t control, but can use to your advantage
Competition in the media is fierce and due to the nature of what we do as digital PR experts, it can be tricky to avoid world events that are either planned or last minute.
If you know there’s a world or country specific event planned in the calendar, either avoid it where not applicable to your client’s research or use it to your advantage to pre-plan a relevant campaign which journalists can use.
If your PR is halted by world news or an event, don’t be dismayed – simply hold off on relaunching until the news settles, giving your campaign the best opportunity to succeed. Your content campaign could be the best one yet, but no matter how confident you are, the press will always be far more saturated with anything to do with an event, over what you send them.
For obvious reasons, check the diary for seasonal events – Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc – and even sporting or motoring events if relevant to your client.
There’s no reason to avoid these calendar events – but be aware media publications will be inundated with press releases and stories, so you may need to review the timing of your campaign to ensure you secure those all-important placements when you re-launch your campaign.
Lastly, awareness days! In digital PR, they can help elevate a pitch, but they’re not always the focus. If you want to relaunch a failing online campaign, look at whether there are any relevant awareness days coming up that could relate to your research. If there is, this could your winning formula for coverage and links.
Evaluate adding in an expert comment/tips
Sometimes all your PR needs an expert comment or tips from your client or any other relevant representatives from the industry.
Depending on the subject matter, journalists like to recognise the name behind the brand conducting the research. So, where plausible, ask your client for an expert comment on the findings which journalists can use.
Likewise, speak to other key experts from the industry as your research will carry a lot more weight and credibility when referencing another expert.