Get in touch with our team
Feature image for 30.10.2020


4 min read

Digital PR Horror Stories: How to avoid getting it wrong by focusing on success over failure

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

For some, today is a day like any other. 30th October. Nothing special, right?

Well, if you work in a PR or broader marketing role, you’ll know that this is the closest working day to Hallowe’en. And that in itself presents an opportunity to use spooky pictures and horror-fuelled language to give our content a topical hook.

So, here’s an article filled with (hopefully) genuinely useful content to help your digital PR campaigns perform better, nicely packaged into a Hallowe’en themed treat…

Don’t be afraid to be the first to leave the group…

Any horror movie fan will know that the first person to leave the group is usually the first person to meet their doom…

Usually, it’s a minor character, someone who’s been positioned as some light comic relief. They’ll come up with some hairbrained idea about how walking off into the dark is probably the best route to saving everyone else. They’re usually wrong.

But let’s not forget that this is real life and we’re not living in a horror movie. And while it might feel scary at times, there’s a lot of opportunity for PRs who are willing to be the first to step away from the group and to try something new.

While proven formats are great and not to be ignored, being confident in pitching something previously untried can reap great rewards. Be sure that your client is confident in you though first – invest the time in earning their trust so when you do pitch something ‘risky’, everyone is willing to take that risk together.

Don’t hide from the monsters under the bed…

Many horror movies include some kind of monster. A feared entity, something perhaps unknown or considered stronger than our heroes. Something that puts our main characters in jeapordy and which they therefore want to avoid at all costs.

But in the movie that is the life of a digital PR, knowing about those monsters is essential in being ready and equipped to battle them fearlessly.

And in this story, the monsters are competitors and journalists. Now, before you start screaming in horror at the idea of me referring to our beloved journos as monsters, hear me out…

Part of what makes something scary is the unknown. When we don’t fully understand something, it can be worrying to face it. Savvy digital PRs know how vital it is to understand their competitors – i.e. the brands we’re trying to steal focus from, the competitors occupying the SERPs above our clients – in order to stay ahead of them. They know how imperitive it is to understand the journalist we want to pitch to, in order to pitch them something they’re really going to want to use.

And they know how important it is to get to know their clients and their ambitions. There are no monsters in digital PR if we put the time into our research.

Don’t think that running away screaming is going to save you…

In horror movie land, our protagonists are often seen running aware from the big scary thing and screaming. And while that may sometimes feel like the best approach in the world of digital PR too, it really never is…

Resilience is something we as PR pros have in buckets and for good reason, too – we know that there’s always the chance of a campaign not achieving what we hope it will.

But while running away in a horror movie will buy you time, the same approach will only land you in hotter water here. Being ready to pivot and adapt is essential to a successful PR investment, because the media landscape can change and, at the end of the day, we’re trying to mould the actions of human beings, and nothing’s guaranteed.

Specifically, that means crafting campaigns which have many different angles and audiences. Consider how you can break down your idea to appeal to different people, and at different times. Think about how you can re-use your campaigns throughout the year to tie in to key dates or holidays. Think about benefits beyond the links in every campaign you create.

PR isn’t a horror show.

It really isn’t!

There are plenty of horror stories out there about how difficult digital PR can be. But it’s also hugely rewarding, both as a career and as an investment for any business looking to grow its organic visibility, earn the trust of its audience and build the authority of its brand.

If you’d like to remove the scariness of digital PR and turn it into your very own love story instead, get in touch today – we’d love to work with you!