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Surprising Places to Find Inspiration for Your Next Digital PR Campaign

By Victoria Schmid

The Digital PR world moves quickly, with new campaigns popping up every day across a range of industries. To keep up with events, trends, and stand out in a journalists’ inbox, digital PR agencies need to be innovative when it comes to campaign ideation when creating their next piece of content.

Digital PRs know that an email pitch (especially a subject line) is an important part of grabbing journalists’ attention. It’s equally important to create cutting-edge campaigns that help your brand and digital PR strategy stand out from competitors.

So before you pitch another Google Trends map or run your next survey, set some time aside to explore these unique places for inspiration for your next successful digital PR campaign. Balancing relevancy and innovation is the key to earning top-tier coverage for your client.

Four Places For Digital PR Campaign Inspiration

At the heart of every digital PR campaign is a newsworthy idea. You never know when inspiration will strike, but some places are more fruitful sources of digital PR inspiration than others. Here are four of our favorite places to get the creative juices flowing and find fresh campaign inspiration in 2022:

  • TikTok
  • Print magazines
  • Google News
  • Editorial Calendars

By taking time to find out what the hottest content creators, magazines, and publications are writing about, you can either find inspiration of what trends to jump on, or avoid entirely when generating ideas for digital PR. 

But let’s face it, in 2022, you can’t talk about trending without talking about TikTok.

TikTok

TikTok can seem overwhelming and intimidating if you’ve never used it before, but the reality is that TikTok’s social media popularity is skyrocketing (the number of users grew 40.8% just last year) and even had more traffic than Google in 2021.

Digital PR campaign ideas often come from anecdotal stories around us. Whether we’re talking to friends, family, and coworkers, or reading what people are talking about on Reddit or Twitter, it’s easy to get inspired by what we’re exposed to most often. TikTok is the king of anecdotal information: you’ll likely see people talking about topics months before it hits the news cycle.

For example, this TikTok video was posted in September 2021 and shows a woman concerned over finding an AirTag attached to her car. The topic of “AirTag stalking” didn’t regularly appear in mainstream news until November 2021. This is a perfect example of scouring TikTok for anecdotal stories that will make their way into the mainstream news cycle in the near future.

Print magazines

Recently while traveling, I picked up a few magazines and was surprised just how much inspiration I was able to get for future digital PR campaigns. The surveys, story angles, and graphics were unique and highly tailored to their target audience.

Magazines are the original niche publication. By their very design, magazines aren’t cluttered with less relevant content like websites or articles littered with affiliate links. You’ll be surprised to see how many different stories and angles can be found about one topic in a magazine. Pay attention to what survey stats they highlight, what data sources they use, and what language and visuals they use to appeal to their audience.

stack of magazines

Google News

Google News is a great tool for trend forecasting and newsjacking. It can also be a great source of inspiration for your next campaign.

Compile a list of 3-5 keywords that range from broad to niche about your site’s topic. Then filter the results for this time last year or a few months ahead (for example, if you are ideating for August 2022, then filter for August 2021) to see what journalists were writing about in the same time frame last year. 

Try going back three years, or even five to take note of what journalists were talking about in your space back then, in order to better anticipate what they may be interested in in upcoming months.

For example, let’s say your client is in the fitness space. A great place to start with your Google News keyword research would be with phrases like “workouts”, “at-home workout,” “gyms,” “fitness,” and “weight loss.” For this example, I’ll focus on “at-home workout.”

In May 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic), most articles focus on at-home workouts on apps, and even focusing on getting people away from the gym. In May 2020, there were far more articles focused on how people think they may never go back to an in-person gym. In May 2021, most articles focused on how gyms are incentivizing people to come back. 

Google SERP for at home workouts

You can also check different times of year (for example, the “off” season for fitness may be winter, so you can check what the news writes about “fitness” in December to find ideas.)

Publication Editorial Calendars

In the final quarter of the year, some publications will share their editorial calendars for the upcoming year. One way to stay ahead of the curve is by trying to find as many as you can, as early as you can (usually found under “media kit” for most publisher’s websites, or on Twitter.)

Create a calendar that’s easily accessible (Cision offers a free one to help you get started) and start planning ahead. Research what holidays or days you can brainstorm content around and add those too. For example, if you work for an IT security site, you may want to take note of Password Security Day on May 5th, 2022.

Having this calendar set up early will help spark ideas when you’re in a brainstorm lull during the year or find angles you hadn’t thought of before.

What’s Your Next Digital PR Campaign?

The Digital PR world is becoming more saturated with fresh campaigns, and even some top-tier websites are starting to create similar content in-house. 

As you venture out to create newsworthy digital PR campaigns, remember, standing out in a journalist’s inbox doesn’t just come down to your pitch…it starts at the core of your campaign with a strong idea.

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