Digital PR in France: taking advantage of an untapped market

Gideon Katz | 8th May 2024 | Digital PR

The digital PR sector in the UK, well-anchored and navigable, plays in perfect unison with the media landscape. With the tabloid press more commonplace, and journalists more prepared to receive campaigns, the UK market now comes with fewer surprises.

A mere 33 miles across the channel, entering the French digital PR market, fairly untapped and blocked by a rigid media landscape, brings on several challenges, especially when entering with a UK-centric mentality and strategy. 
Thriving as a digital PR professional in France is far from straightforward, so, we’ve put together some of the main challenges in dealing with a difficult international market and how to develop your digital PR savoir-faire.

The untapped market means businesses have more room to learn

With the PR landscape in France being fairly untapped, internal teams may not necessarily have the same up-to-date knowledge on the short and long-term benefits of a solid digital PR strategy. 

What does this mean for digital PR agencies? 

When it comes to the digital face of a brand, sometimes it can be difficult for digital PR to be seen as a path to long-term growth. French companies have often looked to paid coverage to increase their rankings, and have less experience in the benefit of earned placements. 

As a business in France, you may have many questions regarding the overall SEO value of a digital PR strategy. Our teams of experts are here to prove the benefit of this approach to building visibility. Whether it is the importance of a balance of follow and no-follow links, or why earned coverage trumps paid, we have the answers! 

Loose campaigns will not make the cut

Where UK journalists will often happily lean into campaigns that are more tabloid-friendly, French journalists will likely come armed with questions and queries. 

Whether you are pitching an extensive data-led campaign or a quick reactive, your methodology must be thorough and explained in detail. This is particularly true for more novel data sources and result formats, such as indexes. Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day and are not too keen on discussing the details of every methodology they read. 

If you can avoid questions by giving journalists everything they need for publication without them asking, they will be far more likely to engage with you and turn to you for future stories. 

Regional campaigns are your best bet

Similarly to the UK, in France, regional pride often sparks discussions where locals champion their hometowns as the best. Whether it revolves around the best food, the most difficult accent to understand, or the nicest people, regional comparisons succeed at the forefront of your campaigns. 

With digital news publications still competing with popular print publications, their numbers are far fewer than in the UK. On top of this, journalists in France are far less flexible on the topics they will discuss. This is both a blessing and a curse. Fewer journalists mean less outreach potential, but it will also help you focus your campaigns in the right direction. 

Take advantage of natural pickup

Journalists across France may not all know each other, but they will be sure to pick up on a good story if they see one. 

Creating campaigns with extensive on-site content and multiple standalone angles will give journalists you haven’t contacted the opportunity to interact with your campaign and form their own articles. Several angles on your on-site could even lead to journalists covering the same campaign twice!

How does this all look in practice?

Preply is an online language learning marketplace connecting more than 32,000 tutors teaching 50 languages to hundreds of thousands of learners in 180 countries worldwide.

Preply began working with Distinctly for digital PR work in their French market to improve brand awareness and gain authoritative links from national and regional French publications.

  • We produced a data-led campaign on the ‘Rudest cities in France’ .
  • We achieved 101 pieces of coverage across France, with 59 links over DR 40.
  • The campaign was covered on France’s main TV news channel, TF1, with an average of 4.7 million daily views.

To succeed with this campaign, we focused our efforts on: 

  • Substantial on-site content, which led to a huge amount of natural pickup
  • A polarising topic centred around existing regional stereotypes
  • Clear data and an extensive methodology 
  • Personalised outreach to target journalists 

Find out more about our International digital PR offering at Distinctly. 

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