We used a medical condition brought on from the disappointment of visiting Paris to create a 100 city-wide index exploring over 800k online reviews to study the most disappointing and underrated cities to visit.
As a result, we landed coverage in 37 countries with key placements in the DailyMail, Express, DerStandard.at, Euronews, Stern.de, Novinky.cz, Geekweek Poland, and many more, whilst trending the ‘Paris Syndrome’ and our travel client at its heart.
Our client, Radical Storage, is a global travel brand operating thousands of luggage storage sites across 500+ cities for people to store their luggage whilst travelling.
Therefore, our objective at Root is to create stories that can gain international coverage for them, specifically landing highly authoritative links and brand mentions in travel and news related publications in their core locations. For the most part, this includes the US, UK and Europe.
For this campaign, we took a dive into a topic that immediately gained our intrigue – a medical condition called ‘Paris Syndrome’.
It’s a real medical condition that makes a tiny portion of people suffer hallucinations, anxiety, sweating, and even depersonalisation, as a result of the disappointment they feel when visiting Paris.
This sparked an idea for us, which was to review the most disappointing global cities based on online user reviews that could be the prime environments for experiencing this syndrome.
The methodology is imperative when making a campaign that can definitively say which cities are the most disappointing for visitors and the cities that are the most inspiring.
As we’ve written about before, to gain links and place stories in the world’s largest publications a campaign has to have a really logical and well researched methodology that a top journalist can explore and gain confidence in before writing about.
Therefore, we decided to study the world’s most visited 100 cities and use a database consisting of over 800,000 online user reviews for the cities and their respective top visited attractions.
We then used a bespoke system of sentiment and keyword analysis to create an index of positive vs negative reviews. We could then create a ratio to determine the cities where visitors had the most positive experiences compared to the negative.
However, a challenge we faced here was in distinguishing the wording that had a true positive sentiment. For example, if we were to look up “highly recommend” in the reviews, we’d expect to get a list of positive commentary.
Unfortunately – not that simple. “Highly recommend going elsewhere” was one variant of a result we found back.
Being this transparent with journalists with our outreach allowed this piece to flourish, as they could be sure that we’ve not only got a pretty cool subject, but we’ve dug into the data and found edge-cases that could give us false-positives.
This is a core reason why the piece has gone on to not only become a trending topic in its own right, but land coverage in 37 countries since launch.
Secondly, part of our strategy with the piece (and many others we produce) is to give them an evergreen angle.
Being an SEO and Digital PR agency, we want to offer as much value as we can to the clients we work with. Simply, we’re always trying to explore how we can build more links of the quality we pride ourselves on, for a lower spend.
Originally, we’d launched this campaign in August 2021, with over just under 100k reviews and 20 cities. Although we still landed coverage in The Independent, Express, Yahoo, MSN and over 40 publications overall, we knew we could take it further.
Therefore, in 2022 we pitched the idea of saving time on ideation and feasibility-testing, and instead using that time towards further production. We knew the topic had already been successful, and by taking the research even further, we were giving ourselves the opportunity for even wider outreach, with a greater data-set, and all for a piece that already had wins under its belt.
- 236 linking root domains and 362 links overall
- Coverage in 37 countries including the UK, US, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Canada, Serbia, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Brazil, Turkey and many more!
- Links from the Express, DailyMail, Independent, Timeout, DerStandard, Stern.de, EuroNews, Onet, OrlandoSentinel, Vancouver Sun, CNN Indonesia, etc.
- Featured in the official tourism material from the Hungarian travel office to highlight how people will “not be disappointed” when visiting Budapest
- Increased trend data for ‘Paris Syndrome’ putting Radical Storage at the heart of the increased popularity and a key resource
As seen below, the campaign led to an increase in popularity for people searching for ‘Paris Syndrome’
Link Reclamation on an international project
Separately, something that also allowed us to push the campaign further, was our link reclamation efforts.
We’ve written about speeding up and scaling link reclamation for Moz in the past, but because of the success of this campaign across multiple countries and languages, we had to adapt our link reclamation efforts.
With coverage and brand mentions appearing in websites catered to Portuguese, French, German, Polish, and many more audiences, our link reclamation required us to translate our emails to suit. Therefore, our link reclamation was conducted in both the local language of the journalists and also a version in English to go alongside with it.
We also put Creative Commons 4.0 on all pieces of our work. This allows us to lean on an attribution agreement whereas if anyone is featuring the knowledge, insights or assets of a campaign, there’s a requirement for linking back to the original source.
We also provided this in each journalist’s local language, which was a key reason we were able to convert 22 brand mentions featuring our campaign and turn those into links, with an average DR of 70.75.
Definitely worth doing!