Looking for a creative idea for your next PR or backlinks campaign? The best way to get fresh ideas is to study what’s been done in the past, and adapt them to your own business or situation. As creativity expert, Austin Kleon says “Your job is to collect good ideas’ ‘ and the more good ideas you collect, the more chance you have of being inspired to create something fresh and unique.
In this post, I’m going to look at two successful PR and backlinks campaigns – one from a major brand, Michelob Beer that ran in September 2020, and another from November from a smaller holiday business, Lakeview Manor, based in Devon, UK.
Both were based on a similar idea – offering a ‘Dream Job’ – and both won editorial backlinks – but the execution of each was completely different:
- Michelob advertised for a CEO – Chief Exploration Officer, who would be paid $50,000 for the six-month contract, together with a van, expenses and a companion.
- Lakeview Manor looked for a dog who would test their dog-friendly facilities – the lucky pouch would be paid £300 for the two-week engagement.
I’ve chosen these examples to demonstrate the idea of switching an idea from one industry to another. This means taking the basic ‘recipe’ of an idea, applying it to your own backlinks campaigns, and coming up with something creative and unique.
As far as I know, there was no relationship between Michelob and Lakeview Manor – but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they’re both using a popular concept in very different ways, and that might inspire you to do something similar.
(N.B. I’m currently working with London-based journalist, John Crowley on a book and online course to show businesses show how to do this type of switch)
So let’s look at each of these in turn:
I first came across this story in the NY Post, You can get paid $50K to explore US national parks for 6 months:
This article explains what Michelob are looking for, adds some good photographs and provides a backlink to the job’s application page.
That backlink is one of the advantages of this type of story for the building backlinks. People who are interested will want to apply for the job and without the backlink, the story is not quite complete.
So Michelob created something worth linking to – that’s the basis of using PR to generate editorial backlinks.
Of course, the Michelob landing page has a very practical role – it allows people to learn more about the job and how to apply.
The page must also give journalists and bloggers the material they need to write their own stories. The copy tells people about the duties but is also written so journalists can cut and paste quotes into their stories. The New York Post quotes:
“You’ll be tasked with capturing content while touring the country, visiting national parks and repping Michelob ULTRA pure Gold along the way.”
But it’s also got more work to do. With a salary of $50,000 on offer, many people who have no intention of applying for the job will click through out of sheer curiosity. So the landing page has to do a good job of marketing the brand by providing extra information.
And once the deadline expires, the landing page needs to be updated to say so and direct them elsewhere:
Response to the PR and backlink campaign has been excellent with coverage and backlinks from multiple media outlets – The San Francisco Chronicle, Travel & Leisure, LonelyPlanet, and many more.
In addition, the link analysis tool, Majestic, shows that the job application page on it’s own attracted over 260 backlinks – that’s an excellent haul, especially as many came from high Trust Flow websites:
Here’s the Dream Job recipe applied by a smaller business, Lakeview Manor – but they added their own creative twist to create something unique – even though they may not have done a formal backlinks campaign.
Here’s how the story was covered in CountryLiving.com:
This is obviously going to be a story with a funny side – it’s a creative way to use the Dream Job idea. Lakeview Manor are a holiday company who are putting some holiday homes on sale. Some publicity would obviously help generate interest.
Lakeview Manor decided to focus on marketing the dog-friendly nature of their homes.
Their creative leap was rather than advertise a dream job for a human, they decided to advertise a job for a dog to test the dog-friendly nature of their homes for two week. The successful dog would be paid £300, and of course, the would get to bring their family along.
The Lakeview Manor landing page continues with humor but also does a great job of gently marketing the properties and the company.
The page includes a short, attractive video and a tongue-in-cheek quote from Blossom, a cocker spaniel.
The role is explained:
The job application in embedded in the page, and Terms and conditions are clearly stated. Overall, it’s a really nice creative piece of work.
The campaign drew national attention as well as local coverage from Devon Live:
1. A ‘Dream Job’ has potential for businesses large and small. Even though these two campaigns are very different, there are many similarities. They follow the same recipe -and so can you!
2. Collaborate within your company. Collaboration is an essential part of such an operation, particularly, if the purpose is to generate publicity and quality backlinks. There are at least 3 disciplines that should collaborate:
- Public Relations
- Human Resources
- Search Engine Optimization.
3. Concentrate on a good landing page. Both campaigns had excellent landing pages that described the jobs and how to apply. For any fournolist, these pages were worth linking to – and without the backlink so people could explore, their story Just wouldn’t be as much fun.
4. Be creative and funny if you can. If Lakeview Manor had advertised for a human, not a dog, the campaign would not have had much impact. But by employing the dog, they created something that was genuinely newsworthy!
5. Keep the story going. There is great potential for getting additional coverage by:
- issue a press alert to remind people of the last day to apply
- announce the winner as another newsworthy story
- publish content throughout the duration of the job
- stage a media event at the end of the contract.
- consider repeating the project, perhaps on an annual basis.
With my editor’s hat on, I like the Dream Job approach because it offers a variety of story options. But here’s an important piece of advice – make sure your application form has a tick box saying the winner must agree to take part in any publicity you’re doing. I’d be very disappointed if I couldn’t interview the winner!
Looking the part – You’ve hooked journalists into your story and got people interested in the job. Now you need to seal the deal by making the landing page for your story attractive and, as Ken says, regularly updated. There is no point getting everything in place and then letting yourself down with a poorly designed site.
Dream a Little Dream of Me – As well as the ‘switching from one job to another’ motif, journalists love to give their audience a touch of escapism. The job title, Chief Exploration Officer, is a knowing wink to the corporate-named positions associated with an oil and gas giant. Of course, being paid the not insignificant annual salary of $50,000 to tour national parks is what most people would do for free. That everyone is yearning for the Big Outdoors in a pandemic makes this position – and story – all the more attractive.
Sell, Sell, Sell – So the job position is closed. All you need to do now is be responsible and explain that to the hordes of people still landing on your page? Of course not – you’ve got to give latecomers options! In the Q&A when asked, ‘what should I do now?’ Michelob tells the reader: ‘Head outside. Go hiking. Go camping….’ before the kicker ‘…Then grab some Pure Gold and enjoy the sunset. Use the promo code for $5 off Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold…’ There’s always an opportunity to keep on selling and pushing your product.
New audiences – Journalists are desperately trying to win new audiences. How about the dog owner population? The UK is renowned as a nation of dog lovers – with a highly engaged community who are obsessed about their canine friends. What better way to appeal to this sensibility than go over the head of owners and appeal to Rover, Blondie or Blossom themselves?
Woof! – It’s always tricky to find the right balance between humour and selling the product. The ‘canine criteria’ for the role has clearly been written by someone who gets our four-legged friends. The “ability to wag tail crazily at the mention of walkies” speaks to that. During a pandemic, the desire to get outdoors is a theme that Lakeview Manor also taps easily into.
A job you would do for free – Like Michelob, most dog owners would spend some time at a holiday home for free with their best friend. Offering up $400 to pay for the right to do this is nothing compared to the free publicity earned.
Makes it easy for the journalist – The fact that the website has the job spec, plenty of funny quotes for a journalist to lift and lots of good pictures and video b-roll means a journalist has a lot less heavy lifting to do.
More Dream Job examples
- FreeUp, a career network for freelancers, earned an editorial backlink on Travel and Leisure, Get Paid $350 a Day to Watch True Crime Shows Like ‘Tiger King.
- Barefoot Bookseller, offered a great trip – Luxury Maldives resort looking for bookworm to run its beachfront pop-up store
- And if politics is your interest, Magellan TV offered, Get paid over $2,000 to binge-watch documentaries about world leaders
- And travel website, Upgraded Points had This travel website will pay you $1,000 to binge wanderlust-inspiring movies
- And jobs site, WishListed.com , How to Apply for a Job That Pays You to Test Fall Scented Candles
And what about you?
Have you considered offering a dream job?
Or have you already had success with a similar campaign?
Please share in the comments below!
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