Imposter Syndrome In Digital PR: Tips, Tricks & Advice From Someone Who Knows

By Polly Percival

January 30, 2024 8 min read

Home / Digital PR / Imposter Syndrome In Digital PR: Tips, Tricks & Advice From Someone Who Knows

Imposter syndrome sees our own minds become our biggest haters. We start doubting our abilities, authority and expertise, branding ourselves as frauds, even though, more often than not, this isn’t the case. 

“Imposter syndrome (IS) is a behavioural health phenomenon described as self-doubt of intellect, skills, or accomplishments among high-achieving individuals.”1 

It’s safe to say that, as Digital PRs, we find ourselves becoming ‘the experts’ in the fields of our clients. We spend our days writing about topics that we may have next to no knowledge of at the outset of a partnership, which can often leave us feeling like frauds or imposters amongst industry specialists. 

Even right now, as I’m sitting down to write this guide, that little voice in the back of my head is telling me that it’s going to be a flop. But before we get into the (questionable) workings of my mind, let’s first think about why we might feel like an imposter in the world of digital PR.

Imposter syndrome in digital PR: Why and how does it arise? 

The world of digital PR can be a true test of adaptability and perseverance. The media landscape is changing on a daily, if not hourly, basis, and we’re expected to pivot accordingly to earn our clients the coverage they need.

But with such rapid change comes the potential for some serious self-doubt and uncertainty about whether what we’re doing is ‘right’. From one moment to the next, we’ll see wildly different perceptions of what constitutes a good campaign, a standout headline or a bad pitch, which can often leave us feeling like we’re trying to catch a curveball. 

Social media has a part to play as well. The immediacy and accessibility of information can see us comparing our work with other PRs and their campaigns. 

  • Did it go viral? 
  • Did it get into high-profile publications? 
  • Did it get high DR links?

Really, our main concern should be whether our work has had the desired impact for our client. 

We also see negativity and stigma around campaigns, with journalists or PRs slating the work of others, sometimes even naming and shaming junior PRs when it’s likely that the final sign-off was out of their control. Ultimately, this leaves us contemplating if our strategies and tactics are the right ones or if we are doing a ‘good job’. 

It doesn’t always have to be this way, though; we can flip the narrative.

How can we flip imposter syndrome on its head?

First, it’s important to sit back and think, “Is this situation in or out of my control?”. There’s only so much we can do in terms of adapting to the media landscape, both here in the UK and internationally. It’s impossible to keep up with everything at all times, and sometimes you find yourself heading into the field with a trial-and-error approach. 

Don’t beat yourself up for the errors that inevitably come your way from time to time. Instead, take them as learnings and use them as opportunities to improve next time around. 

A journalist didn’t like your pitch? That’s okay; make a note of their response and whether or not they will want pitches in the future. Think about what they didn’t like and put those learnings into action going forward. 

As DPRs, we have to adapt, but to adapt, we have to learn, and sometimes, the best way to do that is to try, try, and try again. 

Try. Learn. Adapt. Try.

That’s your not-so-secret formula for success. 

I also urge you to speak to those around you and ask them about their experiences. Share learnings and takeaways from your wins and (crucially) your losses. Others may feel the same way you do, and this alone can be an incredible reliever of those thoughts of inadequacy.

When it comes to being the ‘experts’, remember that you have been entrusted with this responsibility. Sure, there will be instances when maybe you don’t quite hit the nail on the head, but that’s why you get sign-off on any comments and information from your client’s in-house experts before outreaching to the press. Run your written pieces by other people at work, get input and feedback, take it on board and be open to this; sometimes, criticism is the most valuable form of feedback you can receive. 

Putting these learnings into practice

I said earlier how I was feeling like an imposter writing this guide. How can I advise people to overcome imposter syndrome when I am experiencing those very same thoughts? 

I guess, in a way, it’s just a reminder that we all get these thoughts, and hopefully, we can reassure ourselves by remembering we aren’t alone in these experiences. 

When I was first thinking about writing this guide, the following thoughts crossed my mind.

  1. What if people don’t like it? – As the poet John Lydgate once said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. Humans are amazing in the way they are so different. Our minds work individually, and if anything, not resonating with this guide is a reminder of those individual differences. 
  2. What if people do like it? Then that’s great. I’m so glad I could write something that resonates with others. I want you to know that you aren’t alone, your feelings are valid, and I know that you can flip that narrative and relieve yourself of those imposing thoughts. 
  3. What if I get it wrong? This is a funny thought, really. It’s very difficult to get writing about a personal experience wrong, but I guess at the same time, there are always going to be different perspectives on topics. If you have a different perception of imposter syndrome, please share it – the more we know, the easier it will be to tackle. 
  4. Who gave me the right? Another funny thought. If people didn’t think I was capable of writing this, they would have talked me through alternative options and techniques for improving. Processes and proofing are standard procedures for this exact reason – it’s not all on your shoulders; there are second and third opinions out there to combat these worries. 

5 top tips for combatting imposter syndrome 

  1. To adapt, we have to learn, and to learn, we have to try – It’s a turbulent process, but it’s a necessary one. 
  2. You aren’t alone – Talk to those around you and discuss your worries and concerns. More often than not, you’ll find out others have felt or feel the same way. Help each other through this.
  3. Criticism, when done correctly, is more valuable than we give it credit for – It can be easy to get defensive about having our work criticised or scrutinised. Rather than letting yourself become defensive about this (easier said than done, I know), take the comments on board and learn from them. The more you do this, the more confident you will become in your abilities. 
  4. Give yourself credit – Criticism isn’t the only thing that deserves credit; you do too. Compare where you are now to where you were – how have things changed? Are you finding yourself with fewer amends? Are you completing tasks faster than before? Are those imposing thoughts less frequent? If something doesn’t go quite right, we often get stuck on the negative, but take time to view your progress and how far you’ve come. 
  5. One size doesn’t fit all – This is something we often learn the hard way, but learn we must. Take feedback and learnings on board. Don’t discard comments and reactions – there is often a reason someone may react negatively or flippantly to work. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done a ‘bad’ job, but it might mean that you need to do some tweaking and adapting in the future. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Maybe I’ll look back on this post in a few months and think, “Why was I worried?” or maybe I’ll look back and think “I would do that differently now”. Either way, I’m glad I’ve done it. I fought through those imposing thoughts and completed this guide – that, in itself, is something I should be proud of. 


  1. Huecker MR, Shreffler J, McKeny PT, et al. Imposter Phenomenon. [Updated 2023 Jul 31]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: 

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