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DTC’s Top Digital PR Campaigns

By Tricia Harte

Successful digital PR campaigns strike a balance between relevancy and newsworthiness. Is the content something you can tie into your client’s expertise or mission? Is the topic something the media wants to cover? 

We’ll be the first to admit that sometimes you have to get pretty tangential to meet the “newsworthy” threshold for more niche clients.

We’re taking a look back at some of our best digital PR examples. Evaluating success based on both the quantity of media placements we secured, and the quality and authority of the publications that shared them. 

Our Best Digital PR Examples:

#1. Viral Consumer Survey

Objective: Increase organic traffic to the client, a food service distributor’s, website and raise the site domain by 2 points in six months.

Methodology: We helped our client survey 1,500 Americans and 500 delivery drivers with experience using third-party food delivery apps. Respondents were asked about their frequency of purchase, tipping habits, biggest frustrations, and much more. 

Food delivery habits, 603 media placements, average DA of websites sharing equals 66.

Strategy & Results: Turn the survey results into a data visualization, then promote the information to journalists at both national, financial, and food publications. Our media outreach was a prime example of newsjacking in digital PR. Our team tapped into the viral popularity of a New York Times article about food delivery drivers to “newsjack” the news cycle. Our client’s research served as fodder for additional coverage.

Within one week of media outreach the campaign earned hundreds of placements from leading news organizations including CBS News, NBC, CNBC, and Food & Wine. This example of a newsjacking digital PR campaign went on to be recognized by the US Search Awards & PR Daily’s Content Marketing Awards

#2. Package Theft Statistics

Objective: Increase the client’s backlink profile and improve their overall visibility in organic search by producing newsworthy content.

Methodology: We helped our client, a market research company, survey 2,000 self-reporting online shoppers who had made at least one online purchase in the previous year.

Package theft statistics, 388 media placements with an average domain authority of 77.

Strategy & Results: The news cycle is often unpredictable, but there are some story arcs that repeat annually. Our digital PR team anticipated the media’s annual appetite for package theft-related content ahead of Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. This is a prime example of a trend-related digital PR campaign. As it included both topical statistics about holiday package theft, in addition to evergreen data points about package theft year-round.

The campaign received 388 links, with much of the media coverage secured between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The early and widespread coverage helped the page rank for “package theft” keywords, and we saw residual links earned in the weeks and months after media outreach. 

#3. Halloween Candy Trends

Objective – Produce a light, “talker” of a digital PR campaign that has broad appeal to general assignment and lifestyle publications with the hopes of earning widespread inbound media coverage.

Methodology – We analyzed Google Search Trends data to identify which brands of candy have the highest search volumes before Halloween on a state by state basis.

Halloween candy crazy earned 308 media placements with an average domain authority of 74.

Strategy & Results: This is an example of a digital PR campaign that integrated holiday themes. The piece was short and sweet, we timed media outreach for the weeks leading up to October 31st. Holiday content can perform extremely well in local media markets

We secured 308 media placements, with 241 of those campaign mentions directly linking to the client’s website. Some top tier media coverage included features by Buzzfeed, NBC Chicago, the New York Post, and local Business Journals in metro areas across the country. 

#4. Favorite Super Bowl Snacks

Objective: Earn high-quality links from publications and media outlets nationwide by producing light-hearted, timely content with general news appeal. 

Methodology: We analyzed search volume trends for more than 130 different types of Super Bowl snacks and recipes between January 2019 and February 2019. We examined data from all 50 states and 20 of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. 

We supplemented the data analysis with a survey of 1,200+ Americans about their Super Bowl watching habits.

Favorite super bowl snacks earned 173 placements with an average domain authority of 60.

Strategy & Results: This is another example of a digital PR campaign that utilizes seasonal themes to gain access to the news cycle. Our media outreach team strategically pitched journalists at both lifestyle and local media outlets in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Tailoring pitches about each specific state or metro area for local journalists, and focusing on the broader survey responses for lifestyle and general interest publications.

The campaign was wildly successful, securing 173 inbound media placements in a matter of weeks. The average Domain Authority (DA) of the websites linking to the campaign was 60, representing the authority and reputation of the publications. Notable placements included mentions of our client’s research on HuffPost, FOX News Channel, and MarketWatch.

#5. Grocery Shopping Habits During Covid-19

Objective: Produce data-driven research that offered valuable statistics about consumer behaviors surrounding shopping for groceries in the midst of a global pandemic. We hoped that this research would be both newsworthy and informative such that journalists would cite it in articles and pieces of coverage about the pandemic’s impact. 

Methodology: We compiled this research for our client, a market research company, using an online survey platform. We asked 2,000+ self-reporting users about their grocery shopping habits throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

infographic about Covid-19 shopping habits. The content campaign earned 169 media placements with an average domain authority of 66.

Strategy & Results: The study results were referenced and linked to 169 times in major publications like Business Insider, Newsweek, Penny Hoarder, and the New York Daily News. It also earned live television coverage on stations in major television markets like CBS Detroit. 

One major indicator of success was the average page authority of the publications linking to our client’s digital PR campaigns. Websites with DA’s above 50 are considered incredibly valuable, Google and other search engines place a great deal of trust in these pages. The 160+ links were on webpages with an average domain authority of 66.

#6. Dream Car vs. Real Car

Objective: Produce a data-driven content campaign for a client specializing in automotive products that was both tangentially relevant to their business and interesting to the media. We promoted the study results via email outreach to journalists and publications in the automotive industry. Our goal was to secure inbound media coverage that improved their website’s organic visibility.

Methodology: We helped our client survey 2,000 people about what car they actually drove, and what their “dream car” would be.

Dream car versus real car, a digital PR campaign that earned 165 placements with an average domain authority of 66.

Strategy & Results: This example of a more relevant digital PR campaign performed very well in the automotive vertical. Our media outreach team secured campaign mentions in Autoguide, Car Talk, and Top Speed. We frequently talk about the importance of quality, rather than quantity, of links. 

In this case, our campaign earned 160 inbound links with an average domain authority of 66 on the Moz scale of 1-100. For those utilizing digital PR as a link building strategy, this type of high-DA placement is hugely beneficial to SEO.

#7. Americans’ Subscription Budgets

Objective:  Earn media coverage in financially focused digital publications. 

Methodology: We surveyed Americans about their monthly subscriptions, everything from streaming services and internet to specialty boxes. Respondents were asked to estimate how much they spend, each month, on subscriptions. They were then asked to go through a list of every subscription imaginable and calculate how much they actually spent.

The survey revealed that the majority of Americans grossly underestimated how much their monthly subscriptions cost them.

Infographic title: Americans' monthly subscriptions. The digital PR campaign earned 134 media placements with an average domain authority of 54.

Strategy & Results: We focused on pitching publications that were most relevant to our client’s industry. Understanding that the SEO benefit from inbound links from relevant websites is greater. The campaign earned 134 total placements, with 129 of those placements including inbound links. 

Examples of marquee coverage from this digital PR campaign include the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), Forbes, NBC News, New York Post, and MarketWatch. 

#8. The United States of Takeout

Objective: Help a niche B2B company improve its backlink profile with high-volume and high-quality media coverage. Because of the specificity of the client’s work, we selected a topic that was tangentially relevant and interesting to media audiences. 

Methodology: Using the Google AdWords platform, we analyzed search volume trends for more than 2,000 keywords related to “takeout” and “takeout near me” between March and July 2020. We then surveyed 2,000 Americans about their experience ordering takeout during this same period. 

The resulting research highlighted state by state proclivities for ordering out, while shining a light on broader consumer trends nationwide. 

infographic titled: "united states of takeout." The digital PR campaign received 131 placements with an average domain authority of 83.

Strategy & Results:   This digital PR campaign is an example of successful trend-related content. We took a topic that was getting wall-to-wall media coverage, and found ways to expand the conversation. Our research focused on a specific area of life impacted by the pandemic, that was also tangentially relevant to our client’s industry. We then packaged it neatly into a data visualization with clear story arc for journalists to follow.

The campaign received coverage in business, food, as well as general interest publications. The inbound coverage was on extremely authoritative web pages with an average domain authority over 80.

#9. Americans Finances During Covid-19

Objective: Establish our financial services client as an industry thought leader by promoting newsworthy research. The authority and veracity of such research would be so great that journalists would cite and reference it in their ongoing media coverage of the pandemic. Our ultimate goal was to improve the client’s organic visibility by building a backlink profile of robust and relevant links. 

Methodology: For this digital PR content campaign we helped our client, a financial consultant, survey 2,000 people about their spending habits and personal finance during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Infographic reads: Finances during Covid-19. This example of a digital PR campaign earned 129 media placements with an average domain authority of 62.

Strategy & Results: The research was featured in the nation’s leading business publications including CNBC, Business Insider and The Washington Post. It earned a total of 129 media placements, with an average domain authority of 62 for inbound placements.

Once again, we utilized the successful digital PR campaign tactic of trend-related content and outreach. Highlighting the research as an excellent source of hard insights about consumer behaviors. 

#10. Cities with the Most Craft Breweries

Objective: Secure inbound, linking media coverage for our market research client by producing a digital PR content campaign that illustrated consumer trends across the country. 

Methodology: Our content creators worked with our client to create research about cities in the US with the highest concentration of breweries, per capita. We used SteadyServ Technologies’ BreweryDB database, analyzing the number of breweries in more than 500 cities nationwide. For ease of interpretation and comparative purposes, we calculated the number of breweries in each city per 50,000 residents.

Cities with the most craft breweries earned 122 placements with an average domain authority of 71.

Strategy & Results: We pitched local journalists based in cities with the most and fewest breweries per capita; understanding that those “top” and “bottom” headlines were most likely to secure media attention. 

The campaign earned a combination of local and national coverage on authoritative digital publications including Food & Wine, Forbes, and major local newspaper, The Denver Post. Like the other examples of digital PR campaigns included in this ranking, we evaluate its success based on quality of the inbound media coverage not just the quantity. When we looked at the average domain authority and reputation of the 100+ media placements, the average link had a DA of 71.

What Makes a Successful Digital PR Campaign?

The answer varies from client to client. Each client’s goals must lead the strategy.

Do they want brand mentions or to be quoted as an expert on a certain topic? Or, do they want to earn inbound media coverage and placements from industry publications? Maybe they just want to maximize visibility across the media landscape and scoop up a hoard of authoritative links from a variety of publications.

Goals and expectations will dictate the type of content you invest in. These examples of our most successful digital PR campaigns reflect our dedication to data and research. Establishing a level of trust between brands and journalists, and subsequently client websites and search engines.

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