Digital PR: Survey campaign lands on BBC, CNBC, and USA Today

How one survey dataset gained backlinks from the BBC, the NBC network, and USA Today with three different stories during the pandemic

Client

Self Financial is a Texas-based fintech company, helping Americans build their credit with a breadth of innovative financial products that allow many to access finance.

The client’s goals are to gain backlinks both in the personal finance niche, where it is most relevant, but also, in the wider consumer press, where their brand can be seen and their backlink profile can continue to diversify and develop.

Root Digital was brought in to support with creative content campaigns, newsjacking, and reactive journalist requests to drive backlinks. One of these campaigns was a creative piece in the form of a survey looking at shopping habits during the global pandemic of 2020. 

Having already started our ideation and production on some creative campaigns at the beginning of 2020, we had to adapt very quickly to the emerging pandemic and its impact on society. This also meant navigating a quickly evolving and extremely volatile press landscape whilst trying to secure good coverage and links. 

Strategy

We could see that the majority of journalists were focusing all of their efforts onto the pandemic, and we had to understand how the client could respectfully fit into the news agenda. They are personal finance experts, therefore, it was a natural move for us to look into the personal spending habits of Americans during this time. 

Our core focus on this campaign was to ensure that we were, what our founder, Darren, affectionately calls ‘building an octopus’. We knew we wanted to tap into multiple constantly-evolving news stories relating to the topic, so we crafted our survey to achieve this goal. This involved us researching the topics were gaining traction by deep diving into the news and using our own intuition as Digital PRs. From this, we knew what data we needed to tell certain stories, allowing us to have multiple angles (or tentacles) to outreach with.

We put the survey together using various insightful questions we thought could lead to some interesting angles, and after running the survey, we analysed our data to see what the outcomes were.

We then published the findings and visuals on the Self Financial website: https://www.self.inc/info/coronavirus-spending-habits-statistics/

We had instant interest from CNBC which was a great start to the campaign and allowed us to get into local city communities through the NBC network when other CNBC writers picked up on some of our statistics from the survey. 

Later outreach allowed us to hone in on certain sectors and niches of which we had data for due to our prior news analysis. Ultimately, this led to a varied set of placements and relevant exposure, which put the brand in front of a money conscious audience, many of whom are themselves considering ways to save money and wanting to compare their own financial habits.

After our initial outreach period, our campaign had truly generated the ‘snow-ball effect’. We received an alert through Ahrefs that told us a writer from the BBC had used our data to support her discussion on plant-based food choices during the pandemic. This was entirely organic pick-up, which is an intended consequence of high authority placements and an absolute cherry-on-top for a fantastic campaign.

Results

  • Over 230 links from 100 linking root domains
  • Backlinks from BBC, CNBC, NBC local sites, USA Today, TreeHugger, GroceryDive, EdWeek and various other more niche sites 
  • Allowed client to access new audiences for those interested in veganism, sustainability, cooking, grocery store deals, and side hustles 
  • Generated almost 4,000 pageviews since the piece went live from people reading the results and engaging with the data