Meet Simon Clark, our new Head of CRO
2020 brought a lot of change to the world with Covid-19, and many of us had to adapt to new ways of life and working. Of course, that meant new challenges for content marketing and digital PR given that headlines are dominated by the pandemic.
Having executed over 100 campaigns for our eCommerce clients and bagging award wins along the way, we’re going to let you in on our secrets of how to successfully build links for eCommerce clients, focusing on our clients in the home/interiors and bathrooms sectors.
Let’s get stuck into it, shall we?
When it comes to impactful content marketing, it’s about thinking bigger and really pushing for creative ideas that have unique angles. You need your content to be shareable, interesting and above all, headline-grabbing. Surveys, unique data, reacting to newly released reports, utilising client data, social media and trend forecasting are just some of the tactics we use to great effect.
A recent campaign for retailer, Tap Warehouse, surveyed Brits to find out more about their bathroom habits and, well, the results were pretty shocking. The research landed us links in incredible top tier sites like Metro, Yahoo, The Mirror and Evoke to name a few.
Another campaign for our client Insulation Express used a vast data set to reveal the best cities for renters.
The team looked at UK cities and analysed annual rental prince increases versus the average income of percentage spent on rent, etc. We took a chunky data set and turned it into easily digestible images, which were shared by the likes of Landlord Today & Property Wire.
Our content-led approach allows brands to push the boundaries a little, producing content that hits their target audience but doesn’t lead with the hard sell. After all, content marketing is telling, not selling.
We’ve helped clients like Tap Warehouse, Drench, Mattress Online and many more bag tier 1 coverage by creating content that we know will grab attention and make headlines. It’s also a great way for brands to improve their E-A-T.
Top tip: The more data your customers are happy to share with you the better, not only for digital PR campaigns, but your own understanding of your market. Instead of paying for a survey to collect data, could you prompt your website visitors to answer a simple question next time they visit, maybe in exchange for a discount code? Or do you have amazing customer data you can split by age, gender, geographical location and more to leverage for campaigns?
The ever-changing restrictions here in the UK have made planning just about anything tricky, but especially digital PR campaigns. One way we’ve pivoted is by placing greater emphasis on reactive digital PR pieces. These are often quick and simple campaigns that are reactive to the news landscape and relevant to trending topics at the time.
Here’s an example: heating bills in winter always go up, and with people trying to save money due to the uncertain financial climate caused by the pandemic, we decided to tackle this topic for our client Mattress Online.
We produced a really simple reactive piece around the ways in which people could save on their utility bills, landing us in some great, highly-relevant publications such as House Beautiful, Prima, and YOU Magazine.
Create mini campaigns that are informative, helpful and reactive to the news agenda and you’re on to a winner.
Another great example of simple but perfectly-timed PR is this piece for Drench. This was created towards the end of 2020 as we were coming into winter, and the prominent news in the home sector was turning towards prepping your humble abode for Christmas.
Our team pulled this piece together in a matter of hours and landed some great quality links on the likes of Country Living and Ideal Home.
Reactive PR gives you the opportunity to target more specific sites, as the content is usually more timely and focused on a certain sector or a handful or target publications.
It gives you the freedom to work with the news flow rather than planning weeks or even months in advance, something that’s increasingly difficult to do during the uncertain times we live in right now.
Top tip: Keeping tabs on awareness days and events via sites like Awareness Days, or Adrienne Wyper’s excellent Dates You Need To Know newsletter, is one super simple way of preempting the news agenda.
For our eCommerce clients, product PR is a great way to build links, assert brand authority and drive revenue from the coverage you earn.
Unlike content marketing, product PR is more likely to drive direct sales, as readers are often further down the funnel and directly looking for the products you sell.
For example, we produced a product round-up for Mattress Online around the “best Black Friday deals” which landed them direct product links on Which?, Ideal Home, and Glamour, amongst others.
These features are great for brand building, driving traffic and increasing sales, particularly around key shopping dates like Black Friday when consumers tend to ramp up their research in order to find exactly what they’re looking for at a discounted price.
Top tip: You can find out how much traffic and revenue your coverage has generated by using Google Analytics. Just login to your Google Analytics account, head over to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals. In the Source column you’ll see a list of the websites that are sending traffic to yours. Clicking the source itself then reveals the referral path (the news story or article that sent traffic to your site).
A more traditional PR approach, trade press is a great way to gain brand presence in highly authoritative publications. Think brand profiling on your brand’s CEO, sharing news of your award wins, or announcing a key appointment for your business.
For the right audience, this is newsworthy stuff and it’s why we always take the time to get to know our clients, their story and get a better understanding of what their internal calendar looks like for the next quarter or two.
The great thing about the tactics I’ve mentioned above is that each brings a different and unique perspective on your business for different sectors and publications, which in turn creates a healthy and diverse backlink profile.
Top tip: If you’re unsure what trade publications might talk about your brand, start by looking at who covers your competitors. You can do this a few ways, one of which is by conducting a backlink audit on your competitor’s website(s). If you don’t have access to a premium backlink tool to do this, the free version of Ahrefs’ backlink checker provides a good starter for 10 and shows you the top 100 backlinks your competitors have earned.
This may seem simple but it’s something that’s often overlooked. Stay on top of the news agenda and pull out anything relevant to your sector. Something so small like picking up on a potential new trend could be the start of a great campaign that bags you tons of links.
Understand your specialties and also your shoulder niches. Mapping all this out will be invaluable when it comes to jumping on expert commentary opportunities.
It’s important to keep your content varied and fresh. Keep your marketing timely and relevant by incorporating the different types of PR I’ve mentioned above. And remember, be reactive!
Perhaps the most important one. eCommerce is a large sector, so you’re going to be competing for coverage and consumer attention against lots of other brands.
It’s important to make sure your ideas stand out and if they’re not hitting the mark, it might be time to bring in the experts..
Meet Simon Clark, our new Head of CRO