PR-Squared's Social Media Tactics Series: From Social Media Release to Twitter to Blogs to Boston Globe…

Kawasaki neighborsLast week I pointed ya’ll to this Social Media News Release (SMNR) that we put out for our client, HubSpot.  Here’s a quick case study on the strategy & “what happened next.”

We were launching a cool aspect of HubSpot’s online marketing services suite - a free SEO analysis tool, called Website Grader.  As part of the launch we worked with the client to judge the SEO capabilities of Technorati’s top 20 blogs.

This report gave us a great reason to create a SMNR and to reach out personally to the appropriate bloggers on the list, as well as to the many other elite writers who hover in that same zone. 

SIDEBAR:  Please, please, please always remember… a Social Media Release is NOT intended as a replacement for good ol’ fashioned PR.  PR has always been about “community relations.”  Just because that “community” has expanded from the “mainstream media” to the “wider world,” and just because we have fancier tools with which to work our magic, doesn’t take away the need to weave a personal, customized outreach campaign.

As part our HubSpot campaign we wrote a note to the legendary marketing guru, Guy Kawasaki.  Short & sweet:

“Hey Guy,


I thought you’d be interested in taking a look at a report put out today from my client, HubSpot, analyzing the SEO effectiveness of some of the top-rated blogs.  They compiled the report based on findings from their free SEO tool, Website Grader.  Here’s the release on Website Grader that went out this morning to give you a sense for how the report was generated.


Feel free to play around with the tool to see how your site measures up!  And of course, let me know if you have any questions I can help answer…”

GuyKawasaki5This simple offer led to two “tweets” (here & here) about the Website Grader service, and a follow-on blog post (including a Website Grader logo made available via the SMNR). 

Interestingly, Kawasaki’s first tweet references a post at Hubspot’s blog about the Top Bloggers SEO Report; a link that was referenced in the SMNR (but which was not included in our original email).  In other words: Kawasaki read the release, clicked on its links, and subsequently re-purposed the SMNR’s content for his own use. 

These blog and tweet posts by “The Big Guy” (as he’s come to be known by our in-house HubSpot team!) led to scores of additional blog posts (about 40 links in all, to-date).  And, a massive traffic spike at Website Grader.  Since the release went out, Website Grader has experienced a 2X increase in website traffic, which continues even a week later.

And then on this past Monday morning, as a direct result of Kawasaki’s post, the Boston Globe wrote a quickie piece on the HubSpot service (both online and in the print edition; the online article linked to both the Website Grader site and to the referring Kawasaki post, with the company’s logo intact).  

Of course, not everyone loved the free tool.  Both SHIFT and our client contacts at HubSpot were on the look-out for any blowback, so that the appropriate HubSpotters could respond quickly & diplomatically, both in the comments and even via a standalone post (which to-date has received almost 50 “diggs”).

Many bloggers are calling for case studies of the SMNR in action.  Here’s one for the record books.  It’s a simple strategy that would work for anyone: 

Let’s conclude with a direct quote from our client contact, Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot:

“My general sense is that the Social Media Release is easier to consume for bloggers and hence more likely to get picked up.  The format is designed for quick scanning and perhaps suppresses the natural ‘block it out’ instincts that many people have when it comes to the classic press release format… Overall, an unqualified success.”

Posted on: October 10, 2007 at 3:47 pm By Todd Defren
5 Responses to “PR-Squared's Social Media Tactics Series: From Social Media Release to Twitter to Blogs to Boston Globe…”


  • Stop it, Todd – you’re making me look bad. ;)

    I’ve already had the opportunity to use website grader in an issues management / crisis / litigation communications capacity as a research tool. It was enormously helpful for a client that needed to get the skinny on a website right away. I’m not sure that’s the intended use of the tool, but we found a site talking about an issue important to a client and we wanted to know how effectively it was getting the word out. And by showing the SEO deficiencies of the site, we helped explain to them how we could get our word out better.

    And I wouldn’t have learned about it if I didn’t read your blog. All you marketing guys are making my life a lot easier.

    So tell your client their product is really helpful – and tell them to start paying for your blogging time.

  • Excellent! Do you mind if I share this with my staff?

  • David Jones says:

    Awesome from execution through to tracking results and effectiveness. I actually saw Guy’s post and tried the tool out on the weekend based on his reco, so I guess I’m my own lab rat in this experiment.

  • Kami Huyse says:

    Thanks Todd, we will add this post to the Now Is Gone case studies. I knew you wouldn’t let me down. Now, I am off to try that tool, it sounds cool.

  • graywolf says:

    Yep when things aren’t going the way you want attempting to “steer” them back to your “home turf” is really a key tactic (which didn’t go unnoticed) :-)

Show some social media love would ya?

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