The Art of Content Necromancy: How to Resurrect a Dead Campaign – Kat Kynes

09 April 2019

Posted in: BSEO

In this talk, Kat Kynes of Pole Star Digital shared her experiences of dealing with dead content marketing campaigns, explaining the tactics that she uses to resurrect campaigns: the art of content necromancy.


Speaker: Kat Kynes

Job role and company: Content Marketing and Digital PR Consultant, Pole Star Digital

Twitter profile: @KittenFTW

LinkedIn profile:

Link to the slides:

What was the talk about?

Illustrated by the three phases of Winona Ryder, Kat Kynes opened up about her outreach woes, revealing the nitty gritty details of a campaign that flopped and what she learnt from her faux pas.

Kat ran a campaign for, with the aim of generating backlinks. Her angle? There was an opportunity within the driverless cars debate. Turns out people spend 220 hours communicating – so what would people do with that time in a driverless car?

Armed with survey data, Kat proceeded to write eight press releases (wowzah) for outreach. But blockers came in fast and strong, including:

  • The net was cast too wide (and resulted in most publications asking for payment)
  • They started outreach too late
  • The PR team embargoed on nationals (ouch)

The result? Links just weren’t dropping.

Time to rethink the outreach strategy. What did Kat do? She:

  • Paused outreach activity until the New Year
  • Got the go-ahead to target nationals
  • Focused outreach efforts on the two most popular press releases


Fave quote

“Asking for payment to publish is more hurtful than a no.”

Potential impact on the industry

Although we experienced an emotional rollercoaster as Kat talked us through her trials and tribulations, I’m pleased to report that the ending was a happily ever after.

Her learnings included:

Get the content right: identify the most newsworthy headline and qualify the content with journalists prior to development.

Work with internal PR teams: identify sites you can/can’t contact. Or as a bonus, can you work with PR teams to divide and conquer the outreach?

Think outside the box: Don’t just go for the obvious publications – who else might be interested?

Don’t be afraid to get personal: target journalists who have written about the topic recently, and make your pitch relevant to that contact.

Timing is everything: Don’t outreach in the run-up to big calendar events and give yourself the gift of time. Don’t forget outreach continues after the campaign finishes!

Don’t give up: Sometimes things don’t work straight away. Manage client expectations. If all else fails, choose a different angle!

Key takeaways

To avoid an outreach campaign fail, keep these pointers at the forefront:

  • Make sure your content is actually of interest to your audience and journalists.
  • Work with internal PR teams to leverage your campaign.
  • Don’t go for the obvious journalists. How else can you refocus your angle for more publications?
  • Be human. Create personal relationships with journalists by tailoring your content and outreach.
  • Time. Time. Time. Whether that’s what’s going on in the national calendar, or how much time you need to prep your campaign, don’t let this temporal element run away from you.
  • Never ever give up.
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