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 quality editorial backlinks by recording the world’s first-ever Christmas song for dogs.
As Christmas approaches 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 to have fun and earn some great coverage and editorial 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”.
PR Success and Editorial Backlinks
We first spotted the story on PopSugar, who also embedded the Tails’ video, ‘Raise the Roof’ in the post, The First-Ever Christmas Song for Dogs:
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 also gave editorial backlinks to the home page and the blog post that introduced Raise the Woof. The blog post written by Millie Braddock is direct to the point and funny:
This is a great story and the video had to be played – and 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 shared by many viewers as the comments on the video show. So here it is:
That opening line in the blog post, ‘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. The blog post itself attracted 30 backlinks many of them from high Trust Flow sites (see screenshots in ‘Backlink Performance’ below).
And you can see from their site that Tail’s.com are no stranger to getting media coverage and editorial backlinks:
That’s common with websites that have mastered the challenge of earning media coverage AND editorial backlines.
So let’s have a look at what John Crowley thinks from an editor’s point of view.
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.
Using the link analysis tool, Majestic.com, we can see that the actual blog post itself attracted 30 backlinks to that page, many of them from some very tasty domains:
Other publications would have linked to the home page, rather than the blog post. 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’ – that shows another 128 backlinks:
Digging into those backlinks and find other prominent 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!
This is a great stunt that was well-thought-out in advance.
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 project for PR novices (okay – go ahead and prove me wrong!).
But if you have already had some PR success, you could really up your overall game by doing your own ambitious campaign.
Here are the key PR and backlinks takeaways we’d take from this story.
1. Plan ahead – you’re unlikely to be able to put this together at the last minute. You need to start planning months ahead.
2. A good video can enhance your story, and if you’re lucky get 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!
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.
4. Tails.com are not strangers to PR as seen by their past coverage. But 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. The blog post announcing the song, not only informed journalists, but it also entertained readers and attracted 30 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.
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.