Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns | Shannon McGuirk

Key Takeaway: Digital PR is hard, especially when you're chasing virality. After watching her presentation, "Great Expectations: The Truth About Digital PR Campaigns", Shannon McGuirk would like you to walk away with three takeaways:

  1. Take the pressure of yourself, you will experience a campaign fail
  2. Understanding steady performers can impact KPIs for SEO, it’s important to keep consistency and quality in mind
  3. Analyze and define the success of past campaigns by reviewing trends using a content success matrix 

Three Pillars of Digital PR

There are three stand-out pillars of Digital PR: Huge wins, Steady Performers, and Huge Fails.

In the PR industry, 25% of all campaigns are deemed a huge win while 10% of campaigns are deemed a huge fail, all that's in between should be your focus. 

Shannon stresses the importance of not focusing too much on “huge wins” so we don't set unrealistic expectations if another campaign were to fail. She also recommends we celebrate the campaigns that are steady performers, those are the real campaigns receiving our attention day in and day out. 

Link Building Then, Now, and Beyond

When creating link building campaigns, there will be a few campaign failures, but it’s how you address and report on that failures that’ll make a true impact on your team, client, and future campaigns.

Over the years, the source of links has changed drastically: 

  • 2009: guest posts
  • 2012: static infographic
  • 2014: interactive infographic
  • 2017: insta maps
  • 2018: indexes
  • 2019: “best job ever”
  • 2020: product stunts

Link building has evolved, the future of links will come from video, virtual reality, and experiential.

Based on a study performed by Aira, they found that 61% respondents received less than 10 links on their PR campaigns, all falling into the “steady performers” category.

This study also highlights the importance of the quality of the link vs. the quantity: 17 links driving to the right audiences vs. 100 spam-like links. 

In the State of Link Building Report 2020, there was one key takeaway, steady performers drive to the bottom-line and deserve to be celebrated and shared across the industry. 

Using a custom-made content evaluation matrix, Shannon and her team developed a process for spotting trends of both successful and unsuccessful campaigns that's re-evaluated on a quarterly basis.

This allowed them to take their learnings and bucket them into their appropriate categories: huge wins, steady performers, and huge fails. 

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Caloua Lowe
Caloua Lowe
Manager, Marketing