Leveraging Passion: How you can best use your interests to deliver outstanding campaigns
Working in an agency, it’s common that a campaign will come across your desk with a subject you’ll be learning about for the first time; some of my favourites have been dust monitoring and baby skin care. It’s one of the great privileges of the work that you’re able to immerse yourself in such a breadth of new sectors, voices, and causes.Sometimes, however, it feels like serendipity is on your side. I had eagerly anticipated the Women’s Euros this summer, following the sport throughout the last two seasons. The Women’s Super League (the English top division) achieved record viewing figures last year, and the game’s profile seems to have risen exponentially since I first started watching. However, this tournament is likely people’s first significant exposure to women’s football. It has dominated news coverage and the back pages in a way we’ve not seen before and brought players into the spotlight who may never have experienced this type of attention. When we started to get campaign briefs around the Euros, I knew I’d be able to provide insight that others in our team may not have. This doesn’t mean I’d be able to deliver a better campaign. Still, I knew I’d be able to provide context for talent options, key media targets that may not be immediately apparent, and how to position stories to engage the community. You might think that your interest is a niche, but chances are that a number of people working in the media share it and are just as excited to be talking about it as you are. On top of this, these are the contacts who are going to give you the best coverage! They will be knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and their interest will shine through to their audience. If this is an area they’ve talked about before, then they’ve likely built an audience that’s also passionate in that field. This also helps to demonstrate the limit of traditional measures of campaign success. Big numbers on a report at the end of a broadcast day can provide immediate gratification, but the quality of a campaign must be judged by its impact. Using the Women’s Euros as an example, landing coverage on BBC News and Sky News will always be valuable. Still, the audience on a sports station is likely to be more engaged with your messaging, even if they don’t have the same reach. You can reach millions, but you’ve achieved very little if the audience isn’t engaged. The typical example people use for this involves location. If your campaign focuses on an event in Manchester, securing coverage with a London outlet may give more total reach but not as much engagement. The same can be said for a campaign topic, even though opportunities may not initially seem obvious. Think about the areas in which you’re immersed. If you’re passionate about something, be it women’s football, food, or fashion, your social media feeds will probably already be full of content with which people are engaged. Use this resource to see examples of the stories and content people are excited about and where they’re getting their content. Is a brand new outlet, show, or podcast appearing repeatedly on your timeline? You may be among the first PRs reaching out to them, so use this as an opportunity to build relationships. By leveraging your current interest in the topic, you could be getting in on the ground floor of the next big thing. You have a rare insight into what will succeed against traditional campaign measures like reach and audience and what will have a lasting impact. You’ll have seen first-hand the types of stories that connect or fall flat with an audience, so you’ll be able to provide real insight into the best approach for the campaign. What’s more, depending on your involvement with the community, you may have access to an audience to ask what kind of stories they would like to see! For the Women’s Euros, we delivered many campaigns with high-profile former and current players, such as Fara Williams, Katie Zelem, Rachel Yankey, and many others. Having a chance to work with these guests was a privilege, but being able to help shape the narrative around the tournament was an even greater honour.