You may or may not be a dog lover, but you have to appreciate the creativity of the marketing team at Tails.com, a UK-based pet food manufacturer. They racked up worldwide media coverage and some media backlinks by recording the world’s first-ever Christmas song for pooches.
The pinnacle of SEO and PR working together is to earn media backlinks. That is to earn media coverage together with quality backlinks pointing to your site. In this post, I’ll look at the results of the Digital PR campaign. Journalist, John Crowley will give his view on the story from a media point of view.
As holidays approach it can be the silly season in the news media, even though some of the stories might make the purists groan. But that’s nothing for Digital Marketers and SEOs to complain about – the holiday season opens up plenty of opportunities for SEO and PR to have fun and earn some great coverage and media backlinks.
Tails.com took full advantage of the need for some feel-good seasonal stories. With a little bit of audio wizardry, they recorded the song from a ‘focus group’ of 500 dogs.
Nowadays a new song should be accompanied by a video. So the team took their stunt one step further by creating a music video, “Raise the Woof”, and an entirely new genre, “waggae – reggae music designed to wag tails”.
We first spotted the story in this post on PopSugar , who also embedded the Tails’ video, ‘Raise the Roof’ in their post:
Other media outlets also embedded the video bringing lots of views to the Tails.com YouTube channel. As of writing, that video has been viewed over 345,000 times. A brilliant performance, given that their previous videos came in at about a thousand views each.
Popsugar linked to the Tails.com homepage and the story written by Millie Braddock that introduced Raise the Woof. It’s direct to the point and funny:
That opening line, ‘Listen up pop pickers’ comes from the long-running British TV show, ‘Top of The Pops’ and will be familiar to many music fans in the UK. This page attracted 30 backlinks, many of them from high Trust Flow sites (see screenshots in ‘Backlink Performance’ below).
This is a great story and the video cried out to be played – and when I did that triggered bedlam in my home office. ‘Rue’, our miniature poodle ran into the room barking loudly, clearly intending to do battle with the interlopers in my office.
The dog was quickly followed by my wife, deserting her own home office to see what on earth was going on!
That reaction was probably down to the animal psychologists working behind the scenes to help the video make an impact with dogs. This powerful reaction to the video was shared by many viewers as the comments on the video show.
So here it is:
Often, when I see a PR success like this, I look for evidence of other media coverage. And you can see from their site that Tails.com are no stranger to getting coverage from major media sites:
That’s common with websites that have mastered the challenge of earning PR coverage AND, as we’ll see later media backlinks.
So let’s have a look at what John Crowley thinks from a journalist’s point of view.
From the Editor’s Desk
As Ken explains, the holiday season is very often the silly season. Journalists groan just as much their readership during the Christmas and summer holidays when wacky and weird stories become du jour and you’re asked to cover one. Like the ultimate professionals we are, we still get on with the job!
In practice, what it generally means is that there are fewer stories going around (this year might be a notable exception) and the bar to getting covered is lowered.
But there is something else at work here, particularly as we come to the end of 2020. Everyone knows this has been a more trying year than most so any uplifting stories that can burst the ‘pandemic bubble’ get a better shot at becoming a story.
Among colleagues, there’s a desire right now to look beyond lockdown and give some people a bit of joy. The UK is a confirmed nation of animal lovers so this story on a UK site will have an immediate appeal. Take a look at the YouTube video, effectively a glossy promo and song, and you can see dog owners interacting positively with it.
If you love dogs, you’ll get it. But it also shows the cleverness of tapping into a massively-engaged community of people.
Media Backlinks performance
The link analysis tool from Majestic.com is a great tool for measuring the performance of a Digital PR campaign. First, we can see that the post published by the Tails team attracted thirty backlinks, many of them from some very tasty domains:
So that page alone attracted a good haul of quality backlinks. But other publications would have linked to the home page, even though they were responding to the PR campaign.
To find these backlinks, Majestic can filter for specific words within the title, anchor text, and URL, and this allows us to filter and identify backlinks that include the word ‘song’. Just looking at the title shows another 128 backlinks (filtering on song in the URL and anchor text will find additional backlinks):
Digging into those backlinks helps find other media backlinks – such as this from the ABC network in Detroit, New beat aims to make the howlidays’ merry for your furry friends.
Even though the UK-based Tails.com is unlikely to sell to customers in Detroit, this is still an excellent backlink generated directly by the Digital PR campaign.
Media Backlinks – Key Takeaways
This is a great stunt that was obviously well-thought-out in advance. The YouTube video really did have an impact on dogs – it really got them excited! Not only was it a good, creative story, but it was also delivered with real conviction by the team at Tails.com.
This is probably not a Digital PR campaign for novices because of the video production and other skills involved. (okay – go ahead and prove me wrong!).
But if you have already had some experience of PR success, you could really up your overall game by doing your own ambitious campaign.
Here are the key PR and media backlinks takeaways we’d take from this story.
1. Plan ahead – you’re unlikely to be able to put this type of PR campaign together at the last minute. You need to start planning many months ahead.
2. A good video can enhance your story, and if you’re lucky get it embedded in the media piece – the ‘Raise the Woof’ video got over 345,000 views, compared to around 1,000 views for other videos on their channel! And no doubt that the video contributed to the PR success.
3. A world’s first is a great recipe to follow – but you need something creative -and you need the conviction and the resources to implement it well. The team at Tails.com have shown how it can be done
4. Tails.com are not strangers to PR as seen by their past coverage. But if you’re a novice, remember that everyone has to start somewhere so don’t let that put you off. Even if you’re never got media coverage before, that doesn’t mean you can’t start now. This story and the results Tails.com achieved can be a great inspiration!
5. ‘Create something worth linking to’ is regular advice in these columns, and Tails.com did that in spades. Their post announcing the song, not only informed journalists, but also entertained readers and attracted thirty direct backlinks. But the campaign also resulted in another 128 backlinks to the home page – a number that is sure to grow!
6. The website does a great job of selling their products- there’s lots of benefit-laden marketing copy – that also reinforces the story and makes Tails.com credible in the view of skeptical journalists.
7. Grow your list of media contacts and outlets – a story that spreads like this will attract coverage from journalists you never contacted, and others you never knew existed. Make sure you add these new contracts to your media lists, and approach them in the future.
Both John Crowley and I really loved this campaign. The song and Digital PR Campaign were obviously planned well in advance, delivered with aplomb and attracted multiple media backlinks. We’ll be keeping an eye out for future Digital PR campaigns from Tails.com.
If you’ve been successful in your own Digital PR efforts, we’d love to hear from you!
Have you questions on Digital PR strategy or do you have examples of editorial backlinks you’d like to share? Please share in the comments below.