Getting coverage and backlinks in top tier publications is no easy feat. Digital PR’s are trying every single day and many struggle.

Let’s think about it for a second, how many agencies and brands are pitching stories to journalists every single day? To give you some indication, most journalists at top tier publications will receive anywhere between 100- 200 email pitches a day from PR’s.

So how do you stand out from the noise? The first step is to make sure you have a great idea which is both relevant to the brand you are working for and is interesting enough to the journalists you are pitching.

At Story and Search we only work on creative digital PR campaigns, we our methodology always takes a creative first approach. Why? because if you have a piece of data and present that data to people in plain written format, it may have some impact but lacks the emotion to really grab peoples attention and draw them in.

But if you were to present that data in some kind of visual that shows people rather than tells people the impact of this data, you will find this has a much more powerful effect and will yield much better results.

Here is a great example of one of our campaigns that shows you how to present data in a way that is visual, shocking and attention grabbing – https://fashion-responsibility.fiveofus.com/

So how do we come up with ideas that make a different and generates results that gets your brand featured in some of the largest publications in the world?

Below is a step by step plan to coming up with great campaign ideas for Digital PR.

1 – Find topics that are relevant to the product/service you offer and the solution it solves.

2 – Use a tool such as BuzzSumo, use the content analyser and enter the topics one by one into the search bar.

3 – Jump to pages 15 to 20, if on page 15/20 the engagement is still at 50 or more, go back to page 1. If not, your topic may not be broad enough or journalists may not be writing about that topic, so it could be time to move on to another topic search. Or the topic isn’t the issue but the search phrase you are using is. Play around with that a bit before making a decision.

4 – Let’s assume your topic passed the test mentioned in step 3, now you want to go through each page picking out articles and content that you find most interesting about this given topic. Copy and paste the article URLs into a google doc and write a 1 liner per article just mentioning why you find it interesting.

5 – After you have scanned through 15 to 20 pages on BuzzSumo and copied and pasted a load of articles, go through each of the articles and give them a topic name. For example, if the story is talking about how children in poverty are being graded unfairly, this topic could be “child poverty” or “education outcomes”.

6 – Now let’s say you have around 10 to 15 topics, it’s time to start ideating off these topics. Set yourself a timer for each topic and push yourself to come up with as many ideas as possible in a few minutes per topic.

7 – You want to end up with around 80 loose ideas. Sometimes these are just questions. around 90% of these ideas will be rubbish, that’s fine. We only want 5 to 8 good ones that we can validate further.

8 – Now we have say 7 ideas, time to validate them. We would need to do a quick feasibility check. If it is a campaign built on data for example you would now need to start searching for the data required or get a data specialist to go and find out if the data is there and to structure it into a format that works for the story.

9 – Now we know the data is available, we would check things such as, has it been done already? has the data we need already been used? are journalists writing about the ideas we have come up with (back to BuzzSumo for this). Quick tip, some people test their ideas on Reddit to see if there’s any appetite.

10 – Score your ideas out of 10 based on your interest level, the success you think it could achieve and how hard it will make.

11 – Now using your scoring system in step 10, pick 2 to 3 ideas if you are an agency presenting this to a client or if you are in-house, pick an idea, get feedback from colleagues and get making the campaign. 🙂

This is a quick snapshot of one of the ways we would ideate for a client. It is important to note that there are many ways to do ideation and we use them all.

If you want to get in touch to find out more ways to come up with great creative digital PR campaigns, get in touch with me at kostas@storyandsearch.com

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