How to Battle the “Coverage Blues” in Digital PR

How to Battle the “Coverage Blues” in Digital PR

by Molly Belcher
PR Specialist

10 March 2023

As the popular saying goes, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Like most things in life, digital PR without planning can be a recipe for disaster.

As digital PRs, we should be asking ourselves the following questions:

  • Is my story newsworthy?
  • Am I targeting the right audience?
  • Does my media list include relevant journalists?
  • Did I include high-res images and contact details?
  • Are there any major stories in the news right now?

By asking yourself these questions, you can make sure that a proper plan is put in place before pitching your campaign.

It’s also key to have an understanding of what your clients’ competitors are doing. Where are they receiving links and where are they not? This is an opportunity to jump on what they are not doing and step above them.

Pitch the right story to the right journalist at the right time

A newsworthy story will naturally gain popularity among an audience. Make sure that the journalists that you are sending the piece to are interested in the topic and the method of data collection you used (you’ll find that some journalists only publish stories about celebrity interviews or real-life case studies).

To give your piece a better chance of getting picked up, ensure that you provide journalists with the ‘full package’ in the initial email – this includes the press release, high-resolution images, and any important contact details. Journalists who have to chase you for content will be much less likely to publish your piece.

When sending out a pitch to a journalist it is often just a case of  ‘right place right time’. If you are lucky, a journalist will receive your pitch email just as they are looking to publish a piece. On sites such as Vuelio and Roxhill, journalists can input their working hours and the best times to contact them in their inbox. This is often first thing in the morning before setting their plans for the day.

Obviously, no one can predict the news or what’s going on in the world (especially in 2023), but be cautious not to send journalists your pitch if something is dominating the news agenda. It just means that there’s more chance the smaller, less ‘groundbreaking’ news topics will be cut and your piece won’t be picked up.

Build relationships first

Your piece may not be getting the coverage it deserves – not because of the content but simply because you are going out cold to journalists. For PRs, relationship building is a large part of the role. Before pitching to a journalist, do your research:

  • What have they recently published?
  • Is your story similar to this?
  • Have they previously used the same method of data collection?

By asking yourself these questions you can start to build up a picture of what journalists like to receive and what they don’t.

Make sure you follow journalists on Twitter and keep an eye out for their recent stories, posts and achievements. By reacting to these you will build up a rapport with them and they will be more likely to recognise your name when it pops up in their mailbox.

Check for coverage, then try, try again

Whether you use Buzzsumo, Google Alerts or a simple Google search, ensure that you check for coverage thoroughly, as you could be missing something. It can be useful to combine methods to check that you haven’t missed a key brand mention or link. Bing can be a great search tool, as it pulls different results to Google, so may uncover tricky to find coverage.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! In terms of PR, this means re-angling. If the first headline and press release doesn’t get picked up by journalists, try to find a way to re-angle and re-pitch it. Make sure to update your media list as this new angle may be attractive to a wider range of journalists.

Having said all of this, sometimes you can have the recipe for a ‘perfect’ PR campaign and it won’t get picked up anywhere. In this situation, it’s important to check in with your team to ensure that you are not missing anything. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes and a new way of looking at the world can be the solution. You can also seek support from the wider digital PR network, whether this be on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Stay positive

Another useful tactic to help ease the ‘coverage blues’ is to make a folder of positivity. Create a folder on your desktop and include all things positive – whether this be feedback from your manager, positive comments from journalists or a working document of all of the coverage you have picked up for your clients. Having a pinboard where you can pin the logos from different outlets is also a nice way to keep track of coverage whilst celebrating every small win.

Most of all, it’s important to remember that you are in your job role for a reason – don’t let imposter syndrome kick in, be confident, and trust yourself and your experience.

Looking for some help generating coverage? Check out our digital PR services and what they can do for you.

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