Sex is great, but have you ever got a link from a top tier publication? Or, even better, worked on a complete unicorn of a campaign that’s gone crazy viral?
Working in Digital PR, there’s nothing like the buzz of getting amazing coverage and links for your work. I also love it when I see people in the industry sharing their successes – this isn’t bragging, it’s well-deserved pride. It’s also inspiring to the rest of us to see what kind of campaigns are earning this orgasmic coverage.
Because THAT’S the hard bit, isn’t it? Coming up with an idea that you believe in; something that others can get behind and that audiences want to see.
Everyone has different tools and processes for coming up with campaign ideas that get awesome coverage and hit the mark with target audiences, but it can feel overwhelming to know where to start.
Sometimes keeping it simple is better. Here are some of the ways the Digital PR team at Yard go about it…
What do YOU find interesting?
You’re human after all. A content-absorbing, sharing, discussing human. Why wouldn’t other humans be interested in the things you find interesting? That’s how we came up with the idea for Braw Beginnings. One of the team was really into ‘Scottish Twitter’: something that’s received a lot of attention in recent years for its unique Celtic whit.
Given that our brief from VisitScotland was to come up with something connected with ‘story telling’, we took something that we thought was fun (and Scottish!) and found a way to relate it to the topic by translating first lines from iconic books into the Scots language. This landed us 242 pieces of coverage and 192 links from the likes of MSN, Yahoo, The Independent and AOL.
What do other people find interesting?
Okay, so there’s loads of tools to find out what journalists are writing about, or what people are searching for, so you could easily go down that route. OR you could take a step back and play around with the things you use every day, like Twitter or TikTok.
This is how we came up with ‘internet breaking campaign idea’ Celeb Jets.
We were relaxed and doom scrolling like any other normal human and bang: Kylie Jenner is a trending topic, getting slated for her private jet use. That’s when conversations started happening in our team’s Twitter group (which is mainly used for social banter, gossip and sharing interesting/funny content…but of course, these chats can lead to great things). The conversation went something like this:
Kylie Jenner article shared
Emma: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could find out the flight routes of celebs and what emissions they let off?”
Me: “100% and I know exactly who we can get that data from, we’ll get Doug to scrape the data and we can do a top 10 worst offenders.”
Emma: “There’s defo an appetite for it – I remember everyone slagging off the celebs getting their private jets to COP in Glasgow.”
It was as simple as that. From there we’re (currently) at 4,100 links and millions of social mentions.
Organic social listening is such a simple way to come up with an idea. #JournoRequests can also be helpful when it comes to newsjacking. You might be sitting on data or content you didn’t even realise was relevant until you see a journalist asking for it.
Create an old school mind map
Shout out to my pal and ex-colleague Hannah Smith for bringing this concept into my life. If you’re not familiar, it’s a simple process. You write down your starting product or service, for example our client Wealthify wanted us to improve rankings and traffic on their Junior ISA page. Set your timer for 15 minutes ONLY and let the associated words or phrases flow. The trick is don’t think, just write.
Sometimes words will crop up which seem totally irrelevant, write them down anyway as they may still trigger an idea. From Junior ISA words like ‘children’, ‘parents’ and ‘savings’ crop up. From that point your mind goes on to, ‘Ok, why are parents saving for their children?’.
Then you get to things like ‘houses’, ‘weddings’, ‘education’, ‘cars’, ‘toys’. This is just a snippet of our Junior ISA mind map, but this is what led to the campaign idea for Silver Spoon, which earned us 97 pieces of coverage, including 57 backlinks, 232.7% increase in YoY traffic and a key ranking improving from 19th position to 6th. Simple, yet effective.
Step away from it all
The best ideas rarely come from sitting at a desk staring at your screen. Often, they hit you when you’re doing something mundane like taking a walk, making dinner or having a shower. When you’ve done some initial research and thinking, step away from it all and do something completely different.
Let your brain rest – everything you’ve read is still stored away in there, so maybe go for a walk, listen to some music or a podcast. It’s in those moments, when you’re not really thinking, that something will come to you. We came up with an idea around what people ‘name’ their cars on a night out for example!
Keep an ideas bank
We have ideation sessions where everyone runs through their ideas and as a group we dissect them, figure out who would really be interested in this ‘thing’, and if the data or content it’s based on is available to us.
There really is no such thing as a bad idea, it’s all about timing, and moulding the idea so that it’s fit for purpose. Also, NEVER BIN AN IDEA! Keep everything categorised in a library so that when it’s time to pitch to another brand you’ve got inspiration to work with. Perhaps the data wasn't there before, but it is now, or even better, it wasn't a hot topic then, but it is now.
Tools can of course be incredibly valuable when it comes to ideation, my point is that in order to come up with THE BEST ideas, you need to be creative in your creativity. As Maya Angelou once said, “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
It’s not always a science and can (and should) often be fun.
These ideas should definitely give you something to work with, but if you want to talk to us about enlisting a team of experts who do this day in and day out – with increasingly stellar results – then please get in touch and ask for our Digital PR team.