From Strategy to Execution: a Successful Digital PR Story

The Interest in Digital PR has seen a significant rise over the past few years across plenty of industries, particularly those focusing on SEO. While some companies choose to outsource their Digital PR efforts, others take on the challenge in-house.

The allure of securing free backlinks from media outlets, which are typically not available for purchase, is highly attractive.

Given the importance of E-E-A-T in ranking your brand, the true value of these links cannot be overstated. But what exactly is required to launch a successful Digital PR campaign? And by successful, I mean one that secures at least a few links from top media outlets.

In this article, I’ll share my personal journey of executing such a campaign. Additionally, I’ll outline my methodology and offer tips for those commencing on a similar project.

A Bit Of Background

In 2022, when I embarked on my Digital PR project, my experience with such campaigns was minimal. Along with a few colleagues, we chose to pursue different strategies, allowing each person to explore their own methodologies and ideas to see what would emerge.

We were aware that not all approaches would succeed, but our goal was to identify the effective ones by learning from our failures.

Keep in mind, that this was before the era of Chat GPT, creating a distinct environment from today. Back then, you had to conduct all research independently, without the possibility of obtaining direct answers from a chatbot.

Initial Phase: Ideation

While my colleagues opted for creating polls and outsourcing them, I chose to pursue a different and more cost-efficient approach, in line with our goal to experiment with various methodologies.

I decided to design an infographic based on research conducted using Google Trends. The topic was specifically related to the United States and was event-driven rather than evergreen. Therefore, I opted for a state-by-state approach.

Given the significant differences between states, I believe this would hold value for local media outlets as well.

The Research

Completing my research with Google Trends and summarizing the data into a format conducive to content creation and an engaging infographic took me between 8 to 10 hours.

Initially, I underestimated the complexity of the research, given the numerous variables and the fact that Google Trends’ options were not entirely suitable for this type of research. However, with a bit of ingenuity, I managed to get the results I was looking for.

The Content Structure

After completing the research, I needed to create a content structure (brief) for our copywriters, ensuring the information was presented engagingly. The brief was detailed, providing clear instructions and emphasizing the most intriguing findings from the research.

Employing various angles to present the information was crucial in making it unique and compelling. I later applied this same approach to Outreach Campaigns, which we will discuss in the following sections.

The Infographic

The visual quality had to be top-notch, given the topic’s potential for a visually appealing infographic. After several days of collaboration and discussions with our design team, we succeeded in creating two infographics: a primary one and a smaller, supplementary one that added extra information and value to the article.

The chosen colors and design were in perfect harmony with the event we targeted, and the overall user experience of the page upon going live was excellent. Full credit goes to the designers, whose creativity and execution were of exceptionally high quality.

The Promotion (The Outreach)

After several weeks of working on the project and launching it, the focus shifted to promoting the infographic and my findings. Those experienced with Digital PR campaigns are likely aware that this phase is probably the most challenging.

The promotion can significantly impact the campaign’s success… I opted not to use any promotional platforms except for HARO, where, unfortunately, no relevant queries appeared.

My strategy centered on direct email outreach, with meticulous research into carefully targeted journalists and media outlets.

I aimed for high topical relevance, targeting only those outlets and journalists who had covered similar or related topics in the past. I initiated my first outreach campaign two months before the event.

Through personalized emails and special software for outreach, I noticed that some recipients opened the email multiple times, hinting at potential interest. Interestingly, there were no responses to the emails initially. However, I soon began to notice backlinks appearing while monitoring the site’s performance in Ahrefs.

This encouraged me to launch two more campaigns, targeting additional sites and presenting the findings from various perspectives. Essentially, I was experimenting with different outreach templates at this stage.

Then more backlinks followed and it was very pleasing to see my first DPR campaign ever to be a successful one.

The Results (The Backlinks)

The infographic successfully secured over 20 backlinks, featuring contributions from media outlets with Domain Ratings (DR) of 92, 91, 87, and 72.

One of the most challenging obstacles was that the infographic was on a gambling domain with a pretty non-brandable name, so this made the task of getting these links even more difficult.

My Top Tips for a Succesful DPR Campaign

  1. Choose your topic wisely – spend as much time as you need on it. If going for an eventful one – plan and schedule everything because you’ve got a natural deadline. Check if the topic is already covered, or if similar topics managed to attract backlinks in the past.
  2. Integrate a visual element and make it stand out.
  3. Show different angles of your research and adapt it to different target audiences.
  4. When doing the outreach campaigns, target carefully only journalists and outlets that cover similar topics.
  5. In your outreach templates, focus on providing the angle your target group would be interested in with.
  6. Personalize the outreach approach and don’t let your email get flagged as spammy.
  7. Promote it on Social Media – especially if you have a visual element.

Final Words

This story reflects my early experiences with Digital PR campaigns. It falls short of a “case study” since I’m constrained in the amount of detail I can share. However, adhering to fundamental principles and assessing what works and what doesn’t in your market are crucial steps toward achieving success in your campaigns.

Examining data from previously analyzed Digital PR campaigns can offer valuable insights and set realistic expectations for those just beginning to venture into similar endeavors.

Dimitar Kondev is an SEO expert working on the International market with more than 4 years of experience.

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