Elance Blog

Over 500% Organic Growth: A Bulletproof Case On How To Be Mentioned in 50+ Newspapers

Today Jens Jakob shares his experiences on achieving massive success through SEO and PR. His secret? For a bit of background, he believes that shoe brands dictate what running shoes should be popular, which is not ideal. Therefore, he started RunRepeat.com – a platform that compiles running shoe reviews.

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Washington Post, The Guardian, Fox News … the list goes on and on. If you’re working with SEO or PR, this post will no doubt inspire you. I went big and the return on investment was breathtaking. Our organic growth increased more than 500% in 3 months. Here’s what I did in three simple steps:

1. Brainstormed ideas

2. Build a team

3. Pitched ideas to journalists

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Decide What Kind of Research You Want to Conduct

I’m in the running shoe business and did research on marathon running. Why?

• Running shoes and marathon running are within the same field

• There is plenty of free data available on marathon results

• Marathon running is hot

It would be ideal to do research on running shoes, but collecting data would not be easy.

Step 2: Find a Team That Can Make Things Happen

The chances are next to zero that you’re 1) a statistician, 2) good at Excel and data collection and 3) good at PR.  Solution? Find people who are good in these areas. Here’s what I did:

• Found a Vietnamese freelancer who was an expert in data collection from big databases.

• Found a Philippine freelancer who’s an expert in data entry

• Found a Polish statistician

• Found an American research expert

That was the team. The final price was $2,150 and I found all four freelancers on Elance. Together we created a full research project on pacing differences across genders in marathon running, giving it the title: Women Are Better Runners Than Men.

Step 3: Pitch Journalists

My primary task was to pitch the idea journalists. If I could share one bit of advice, it would be that you should not consider pitching journalists as a discipline of wining a reporter over. You collaborate. It’s a win-win. You get publicity and the journalist gets a chance to write an awesome article.

My approach was simple:

• Find all English-writing journalists (max 1 per newspaper) who write about “marathon running”, “running research” or “jogging research”. My assistant found around 300 journalists who had written about a similar topic.

• Pitch top tier newspapers one at a time. Give exclusivity.

• When the first publication went out to the Washington Post, I then pitched to the next newspapers. However, I could not give exclusivity. I ended up in +50 newspapers. Among those were: The Guardian, Fox News, O Globo (largest Brazilian Newspaper), El Pais (largest Spanish newspaper) and many others. Also I got publicity in the largest running magazines and websites like Runner’s World, Men’s Health and Running Competitor.

I received more publicity from newspapers rewriting the articles on Washington Post and The Guardian than I did by pitching new ones. It’s my belief that one large newspaper is worth more than 10 minor ones. Go big. Make a moon shot.

What would I do different next time?

• I would not give exclusivity, but agree on an embargo 

• I would increase my database of journalist

• I would hire a PR-expert to join the team – one for each major language

Now it is your turn…

Reading alone does not make you successful. Execute.

Feel free to copy paste my approach. I want you to! If you have questions, need input or want to exchange knowledge, feel free to contact me through my personal website. 

Marathon photo courtesy of Josiah Mackenzie

Comments

" If I could share one bit of advice, it would be that you should not consider pitching journalists as a discipline of wining a reporter over. You collaborate. It’s a win-win. You get publicity and the journalist gets a chance to write an awesome article."

Please check spelling and definition of "wining". If the article is dealing with wine, then wining would be correct, but I believe the writer meant to use "winning". This should probably be corrected.

It is an impressive result Jens Jakob has made with RunRepeat. I have great respect for, that you can get so far with hard work. I'm big of running and I will continue to follow your website. I prefer to run on a treadmill ( http://testguro.dk/loebebaand-test/ ), but I still love RunRepeat.