At Bednar Comms, we’ve faced the same challenges as the rest of the Digital PR industry this year, from unprecedented circumstances affecting campaigns to keeping productivity and motivation high during stressful periods. 

We’ve learned tons about how to measure success in these strange times, and more importantly, how to adapt quickly in the face of ‘failure’. We thought we’d share what we learned from our experiences over the last year, which will hopefully inspire you and your colleagues to see success beyond the traditional achievements. 

Success in any industry and role is paramount to feeling confident and happy with our progress as an individual and it feels great to tick each task off of our to-do list throughout the day. It’s great to give ourselves a pat on the back for doing a great job, whether it’s writing a fantastic press release or finding that extra bit of data that gives you a whole new angle to work on. 

But many of us shy away from failure, because who wants to feel like they’re doing a bad job?

We of course have our one to one meetings with our managers to assess our progress in the previous months. We spend time analysing the success of a campaign. We even have little updates each morning, where we focus on how our work the previous day is bringing us ever closer to the lovely coverage and links we’re constantly striving for…

But when it comes to looking to what we’ve done wrong, it can get a bit difficult. 

Feeling like we’re missing the mark with our work can bring about some really negative thought processes; feeling like we’re not good enough, like we’re not being the best team member we can be, sometimes feeling like we might not even be cut out for such a fast paced, high pressure industry! 

These stressful thought spirals can be a huge hit to our confidence, and it’s hard to break them, but finding success in failure is key to bringing back the PR superstar that is within every one of us.

There are key factors within any role across the digital PR industry that can help us measure success. 

Seeing plenty of links as a result of a campaign that’s had the time and hard work poured into it, makes writing up that end of the month report for a client feel brilliant. Getting links from reputable media outlets, or even better, your clients’ dream publication! When every person opens your email several times after just one day of outreach, it’s hard not to sit back and smile. 

These visible and tangible results will make anyone’s day, and it’s great to share with your loved ones the clear success you’re having. But, whilst celebrating those important career milestones and campaign progression is everyone’s favourite thing to do, not all success is in the shape of moving forward, and sometimes it can be the complete opposite.

It happens, the ‘hero campaign’ that the whole team worked on to create a huge impact and generate tons of links just misses the mark, which can leave everything feeling flat. In times like these, it can be easy to just give up and try to block your failures from your mind, but in failure comes creativity!

Failure brings us the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and how we work, throwing us into difficult circumstances that force us to bounce back and learn from our mistakes. 

This is especially true when working in digital PR. 

Originality and adaptability are two key personality traits that are greatly valued when working in such a creative industry, and we all have them. When you allow room for failure, you allow space to throw out wild and wacky ideas that can find an original angle on the data you already have, clinching you those last few links you need! 

There’s even success to be found when you’ve found yourself in the position of receiving nothing but silence from the journalists you’ve outreached to. It encourages you to widen your scope, create more contacts and learn how different publications respond to different subject lines. This is especially true when you’re outreaching to completely different media publications than you’re used to.

So these ‘failures’ that once knocked your confidence, are actually new circumstances to learn and adapt to, make you and your team even better digital PR pros!

But if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it’s that not all success and failure coming from work can affect us. 

This year has brought us unstable and stressful times, and it’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day workload, resulting in us getting so focused on our own responsibilities we forget to stop and think.

Taking a moment to write down and document our wins is so important to keep our motivation and productivity high! Even if it’s something as simple as writing an eye-catching subject line, these small wins throughout the day are what make us amazing digital PRs, and stopping to recognise that is key to reinstate our self-confidence. 

Getting wrapped up in the statistics and KPI’s can also reinforce those feelings of being isolated, which when we’re working from home, can make us feel really anxious and stop us from being able to acknowledge the success we have. 

Having a chat with our colleagues and taking the time to hear what challenges we might be facing individually and as a team throughout the week is the perfect way to shift some of the weight off of your shoulders. It’s also a great way to get a fresh pair of eyes on your ‘failure’ and turn it into a success. 

At Bednar Comms, we’ve even put time into talking about what we’re most excited for each day, and it isn’t always work-related!

Sometimes it might be seeing an article go live, but oftentimes we’re most excited to walk our new puppy in the evening, or that online shopping we probably shouldn’t have ordered arriving later that day!

Finding positives in our ‘failures’ isn’t always an easy task, and it can take a lot of guts to face the things that we’re not the most proud of. But taking the time to look back on how we managed to turn a negative into a positive can create success in the face of even the most difficult challenges!