Nothing beats the thrill of a digital PR campaign going viral. As backlink monitors blow up the slack channel and the links add up, the spike in traffic feels like it could just as easily be adrenaline: we love the thrill of a good campaign.
This success, as we digital PR pros all know, however, can be fleeting: what happens to a campaign after it’s had its time in the limelight? Does it go to a farm upstate? Does it simply sit on its own on a client’s page?
Increasing one’s attention towards digital PR campaigns that have longevity– not simple virality but some quality that keeps them relevant, years later- can be extremely worthwhile for anyone in the digital PR field. Whether it’s keeping the client happy with ongoing link reports months or even years after your media outreach plan ends, or even just seeing the fruits of your labor flourish, there’s a lot to love about digital PR campaigns that are longevity minded.
Here are some pointers on how to really defy the odds and keep your digital PR campaigns effective for a long, long time.
Have you ever heard of “Seventh Generation Thinking?” With origins in the indigenous population and particularly the Iroquois, it promotes a mindset that considers the effects actions today will have on our descendants seven generations from now: are we keeping future generations in mind as we act, or are we choosing the low-hanging fruit at the expense of the future?
While this is obviously a philosophy that encompasses a way of being that goes far beyond the professional sphere, the basic principles of making choices mindful of future consequence is easily applied to the world of digital PR.
When brainstorming content campaigns, think about how relevant – or not– they’ll be to the client 1, 5, and 10 years from now. While we can’t predict a lot, we can predict that consumer spending outlooks or data rankings of topics the client has expertise in will probably stay relevant and stay a part of their overall web presence in a way that more ephemeral, immediate viral campaigns simply can’t guarantee.
One of the first ways to keep campaigns relevant over time one might think of are so-called “evergreen” campaigns. These are campaigns that are always relevant- holiday spending forecasts, or even holiday-themed trends, like the most popular Halloween candy in every state.
There are many benefits of evergreen content: the news will always want content around major holidays and annual milestones: Tax Day, for instance. The perpetual demand for content these days means that the forward-thinking digital PR pro can create many evergreen campaigns around this same idea: but they’ll be one of a crowd doing the same exact thing. Is this a long-term viable solution or strategy?
Evergreen campaigns are forever relevant website content, but with that relevance comes the risk of never improving on what was a good concept the first time. There’s a finite amount of concepts one can run about the same holiday, and many other digital PR pros will be jockeying for that same holiday coverage bonanza– this can pose a challenge.
Threading the needle between perpetual relevance and keeping data feeling fresh and of the moment is hard- that’s why one solution might be executing the same campaign year over year to track trends over time: that way, each successive year provides even more insight and data than a one-off snapshot might provide.
The best possible case with evergreen content is that the links keep raining down long after outreach ends. We have had multiple campaigns get yearly bumps of links- around tax day, around the holidays, etc– despite no outreach whatsoever.
Take, for instance, our annual Tax Procrastinators campaign with IPX 1031- a great example of a campaign centered around a yearly occurrence. This campaign has been so successful it warranted an annual update!
As for campaigns that keep earning links with no outreach, C+R Research’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” campaign is perpetually relevant in its examination of a common consumer habit, and, over two years later, it still earns links. For the holidays, look no further than C+R Research’s annual campaign on package theft, an annual occurrence just in time for the peak shipping season of the year.
We all work in the broader field of SEO as DPR pros, and incorporating SEO best practices into everything we do is important: we’re in this field for a reason. While we can get caught up in the drama of the next great set of stats or a compelling content idea, it’s important to give writeups their due as well.
Doing keyword research or even a KOB analysis (that’s Keyword Opposition to Benefit) to figure out the keywords to include in your write-up will only benefit you long term. The more optimized your text can be– from making sure you have good H1s, H2s, and title tags to ensuring that the keywords you have are specific enough to make sure you rank – the more likely it is that your digital PR campaigns will keep earning links and attention long after outreach ends.
For example, a year or two ago we did a campaign on the phenomenon of “buy now, pay later” for a client, and every time said consumer trend hits the airwaves, we inevitably get even more links to a campaign that already has several hundred. This is because not only was this campaign well thought out and tapping the nerve of a broad, recurring, economic trend, but it also was well optimized and relevant enough to the client to rank well in search. Content relevance has long-term benefits for any client.
Not only that, but the better your content ranks in search, the better it will do for your client- all the link equity you get and authority can be shared through internal linking. Optimization hurts no one and benefits everyone.
One might even go so far as to say that keyword research can even inform your campaign ideas from the jump: making intentional, strategic choices around what you *want* to rank on will help inform the basis for content campaigns– and from there, you can really get the creative juices flowing. That way it’s all the easier to ensure that your written content is fully optimized in a way you’ve already determined is likely to deliver results in search alone; adding outreach to that is icing on the cake.
The digital PR industry is, as always, in the midst of change: while purely tangential campaigns might have cut it in the past, Google’s algorithmic shifts have necessitated rethinking how tangential is TOO tangential.
Tangential campaigns are a great tool- they make otherwise difficult branding or niche businesses shine in the spotlight of the news cycle and open up a world of possibilities for potential digital PR campaigns. However, they don’t necessarily do the brand favors in the long term– it’s hard to organically come across tangential content and of no use to a user perhaps genuinely looking for the actual services a client might offer.
Relevancy is increasingly important: and will keep digital PR campaigns earning links for a much longer time. Searches for topics relevant to your content mean that they’re also relevant to the client, and increase the likelihood that your digital PR campaign will aid the client not just in driving traffic to their page, but perhaps even generating their conversions. Not only that, but it broadens their established realm of expertise and showcases credibility in the eyes of journalists. Wins all around!
No content lasts forever, but these are just a few of the ways you can add a dash of longevity to any content campaign you might be executing and ensure that it is likely to earn media attention well beyond the confines of active outreach.