Now you’ve decided on your campaign idea, it’s time to create it. Look back to your research and ideation steps to determine how best to display your story, data and messaging to resonate with both your audience and journalists. Is it a simple blog post or an expansive microsite? A video or a report? The content opportunities are endless, but above all, remember who the content is for and create it for them.

Your campaign brief

Before you fire up the Adobe suites, send out a survey or start analysing data, develop a campaign brief for client sign off. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. A clear, concise brief ensures that all teams are on the same page, identifies accountability for the agency, client and contractors and proves you’ve thought through every aspect of the campaign. 

Naturally campaign briefs vary from project to project, but we created a guide, ‘How to: build a Digital PR campaign brief’ featuring the elements that are good as a springboard, including: 

    • Campaign overview
    • Campaign objective
    • Campaign timeline
    • Content deliverables
    • Visual mock-ups
    • Content location and technical requirements
    • Outreach 
    • Reporting metrics
    • Feedback process
    • Client requirements 

Once you’ve written and shared the brief with your team, ensure all client stakeholders – brand, social media, internal PR and marketing teams – sign-off. This avoids any crossed wires or major feedback after content creation and allows everyone to fit the campaign into their schedule. 

Putting emphasis on the brief and making everything very clear from the start avoids being burned by lack of transparency, a brand stakeholder coming in with last-minute changes or technical requirements hindering a campaign’s execution. Anything that blindsides a campaign can be incredibly frustrating and cause major disruption and delays, so having a clear, detailed brief is key. 

Tip: use your brief as a starting point for designers and copywriters; for them, you can add pertinent information, such as assets, content breakdown, requirements, etc. so they, too, have a better understanding of the campaign and the purpose of the content they are creating. 

Data gathering

We all know the key to a strong digital PR hook is data, even more so when it’s unique data. Using unique stats can help grow a client’s authority and manoeuvre them into a position of thought or industry leader. But data doesn’t appear neatly in one form from one source. There is a wealth of data and angles from all manner of sources out there to suit all budgets. Here are some of our go-to sources:

Unique data:

This is new data unique to your campaign or client, something that no other campaign has. 

    • Internal data (e.g. customer trends, booking data) 
    • Surveys
    • Polls/quizzes on social media or CMS

Government data:

Governments have a wide range of public data detailing everything from tourism to spending habits to crime. 

Tip: set up Google Alerts (e.g. topic + ONS) and email updates on specific topics relevant to your clients so you can stay ahead of the curve when new data is released and maybe get inspiration for new campaigns. 

Social media:

Using social media data can build a number of stories and is especially useful for indexes, listicles and trends. 

    • APIs (Spotify, Tripadvisor)
    • Hashtags
    • Pulsar (paid) 

Google:

Using Google helps you understand your audience and the public, what they are searching for, how their search trends are changing in response to specific events or seasons, and what they are no longer interested in. 

    • Google trends
    • Google search volume

Other:

    • Statista (paid) (general public data)
    • World Bank Open Data (general public data)
    • Freedom of information request (FOI) (general public data)
    • Wikipedia page views
    • Expert input

Wherever you source your data, ensure it’s a recent and reliable source. The general rule of thumb is that anything older than a year is no longer relevant; a survey should have at least 500 respondents, but aim for over 1500; sites with low engagement or SEO metrics are best avoided as they are often quite spammy and unreliable. 

Tip: another great place to get data inspiration is in the methodology of other campaigns or data visualisation sites, such as The Pudding, Data is Beautiful (Reddit) and Visual Capitalist

Design

In designing your campaign content, get creative. Consider what your target audience engages with and shares across social media. Especially when it comes to data, find interesting way to  display it that goes beyond the plain table or graph, and above all else, make sure it’s understandable. 

Can you incorporate images? Is there an opportunity to make it interactive? Remember, you want a reason for journalists to include or link back to your campaign page.

Regardless of the content you create, there are a few hard and fast design rules to follow:

Not too branded:

  • Use brand colours subtly. Digital PR campaigns are not blatant advertisements. Overt branding may discourage journalists from using your content. This goes for using your logo in assets you use for outreach. Keep it low key.
  • Research your target sites and mirror their data graphics, such as tables. You want your content to fit naturally on their sites.

Outreach assets:

  • What assets are you going to use for outreach? Do not pitch a visual campaign without visual assets. Remember, you want to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. 
  • Add embed links to the assets on your campaign page to encourage follow links.

Optimise for dev and SEO:

  • Build your tables and lists in HTML (rather than designed images), so Google/search engines can read all the data through the HTML 
  • Ensure all images have relevant alt text, allowing Google to better understand the content
  • Optimise and compress images to reduce load time to elevate user experience 
  • Remember, Google focuses on providing the best experience for searchers, so keep UX design in mind. You want good, understandable content presented in a user-friendly way to encourage more time spent on-site 
  • Incorporate internal links to encourage users to spend more time on-site 

Additional design notes:

  • Make sure your content looks good on both desktop and mobile
  • Minimum font size should be 14
  • Use an online accessibility checker to ensure your content is accessible to all

Copy 

Think back to the ideation phase and the exercise of explaining your campaign in one sentence. By structuring it logically and writing it for a general audience, you ensure your campaign copy is easy to read and understand. Dig deeper into content creation in these Knowledge Hub articles created by experienced copywriters and editing experts.