Blogger Relations (and Social Media Release!) Case Study

As noted in an earlier post, one of my goals for PR-Squared is to share more case studies in 2009.

The following case study earned a “commendation of excellence” from the Society of New Communications Research.  It’s been lightly edited for length and tone…

The client, MobileSphere, focuses on providing mobile messaging and telephony solutions to service providers, enterprises, universities and consumers.

BACKGROUND: Last year marked the launch of MobileSphere’s new product, “slydial.” Slydial is a free service that allows users to leave a voicemail message on someone else’s cellphone — without actually ringing them.  An ideal way to save time, avoid an awkward conversation or relay information without interrupting friends or business contacts.

SHIFT Communications was tapped to get the word out for this launch project.

428627_slydial-logo-smallBoth the client contacts and Agency reps knew that this fun, clever service could have a viral effect … if the right people were talking about it.  Targeting the blogger community was a must.  While the slydial service may be most appealing to the 18-35 year old demographic, the product can be used by anyone.  So SHIFT’s targets included: business bloggers, tech bloggers, women’s lifestyle bloggers, men’s lifestyle bloggers, teen bloggers, gossip bloggers, and mobile industry bloggers.

GOAL: To attract new users to the slydial service at the beta launch. Before the launch, slydial had 5,000 private alpha users.

PLAN:  Given the simplicity of the service, the plan itself was also simple — but incredibly time consuming.  We created unique angles and pitches for each and every blogger, helping them to see how and why their specific reader community would use slydial.

We also knew that the breadth of our outreach might preclude doing 1:1 interviews with every single blogger who expressed interest, so we made it a priority to develop a multimedia-heavy social media news release (SMR) — including cute videos like the one that appends this post (above).  We were sure to include enough content that bloggers could post directly off the SMR without needing an interview, if that was their preference.

MobileSphere co-founder and EVP of Marketing & Business Development Gavin Macomber and Marketing Manager Rima Patel were integral to the entire process, fielding questions from the SHIFT blogger relations team during the SMR and pitch development process. 

RESULTS:  In one month of blogger relations outreach, MobileSphere’s slydial service was covered in 381 blog posts. These results were the direct result of SHIFT’s blogger relations outreach, combined with the viral effect of the initial, high-profile posts.  These posts were just as varied as the pitches that were sent.

To show the diversity and influence of the pitches and the resulting coverage, here are five highlights: TechCrunch (tech blog), Perez Hilton (gossip blog), U.S. News & World Report: Dave’s Download (business blog), GearCrave (guys’ gadget blog) and ShinyShiny (women’s tech blog).

Wanna see the diversity of pitches?  Here’s what we used for TechCrunch and Perez Hilton:

Techcrunch-logoPitch to TechCrunch:

I saw your post a couple weeks ago, “Think Before You Voicemail,” so I know how you feel about voicemail, and I agree with you on all points.  I try to avoid leaving people voicemails, at work and in my personal life, and would much rather send and receive emails or texts.  But, as you mentioned, sometimes you need to use voicemail – to convey tone or emotion, or because you’re on the road and need to relay more information than you can type while driving or otherwise multi-tasking.

As you mentioned, there are a few startups out there that are trying to make voicemail more useful.  One of them is MobileSphere.  Today, the company introduced a new service called slydial, which is a free voice messaging service that connects you directly to someone’s mobile phone voicemail.  (etc.)

Perezhilton.533Pitch to Perez Hilton:

I work for a PR agency and have a client that just launched a new service today.  I thought of you because this service has the potential to make the celeb dating scene a lot more interesting, if that’s even possible! It even has a cool name – slydial!

If LC could leave Heidi a voicemail without the possibility of Heidi picking up the phone, what do you think she would say?  What about Mario Lopez?  He got caught cheating on his long-time girlfriend.  Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten caught if he had a better way to juggle his multiple girlfriends.  Don’t forget John Mayer, the ultimate celebrity serial dater….need I say more?  What these celebs need is a voice messaging service that connects you directly to someone’s voicemail without the risk of them picking up – enter slydial! 

Unlike other messaging services the missed call will appear to come from your own phone, not some unknown random number.  It’s the ultimate illusion of communication!  Feuding celebs like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian can finally get the last word in! (etc.)

ROI:  By hitting online consumers from all angles (both blogs and mainstream media), the PR program helped boost slydial’s 5,000 private alpha users to more than 200,000 beta users in less than two weeks.  We were able to directly correlate the new-user spikes to the coverage.  (But I’m not telling whether TechCrunch or Perez Hilton resulted in more users.  Sorry.  Trade secret.)

I hope to share more case studies in the months ahead!

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Posted on: February 3, 2009 at 2:17 pm By Todd Defren
50 Responses to “Blogger Relations (and Social Media Release!) Case Study”

 

Comments
  • I love this case study. What a success! I believe blogging and blogger outreach is so important and love looking at different tactics and approaches. Thanks and keep it up.

    http://twitter.com/drivinmedia
    http://drivinmedia.com/blog

  • Dax Aurand says:

    Great article! I’ll recommend this at my social media coaching classes at http://socialmediatrafficdot.com. If anyone needs help let me know and I will help you get on the path to using social media to brand yourself and your business.

  • Clint Armistead says:

    Love the case study Todd. These are the things I like to see because I can learn from them. I’m a journalism student and think real world case studies are far more meaningful than experts from a book. I like the Perez example because I had the same reaction as Dave and Peter. We’re taught in the book to lede a certain way. but your customized pitch obviously was successful based off the link you gave. What a great lesson I learned from a case study that my textbooks never taught me. Pitches should be customized to attract attention and can deter from the “standard’ the textbooks talk about. After all, with so many pitches, you don’t want yours to be standard, right?

  • Thor Harris says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • That was so clear and helpful! I think I may discuss the Slydial case study in our next PRSSA meeting if that is okay with you.

  • Ashley Hall says:

    I found this post to be extremely helpful. We constantly talk about RPIE (research, planning, implementation, and evaluation) in my public relations class, and this was a great demonstration for students like me who want to see how these concepts are applied in real situations. I have also found it difficult to find resources that provide examples of different pitches, so your inclusion of those really helped me to understand how creative and tailored they need to be in order to be effective.

  • Twitter Comment

    interesting case study on Slydial. bloggers react [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Blogger Relations (and Social Media Release!) Case Study [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @svartling: Blogger Relations (and Social Media Release!) Case Study [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Jamie Kim says:

    As a PR student who’s just about to walk into a media pitching workshop, this is such a helpful case study. Thank you for sharing it and it’s great to know that all the work paid off with such great results!

  • Alison Dwyer says:

    Thanks Todd, would be interested in any negative feedback you had from bloggers and to know if you had been commenting on their blogs or having any prior conversations with them pre-pitch. Keep the case studies coming. Alison

  • Jim Kukral says:

    Great example and nice pitch samples. Yep, the pitch means everything. It can be the major difference in success or not across any project/industry. It’s a shame more people don’t hire a professional to help them with it.

  • Nick Vehr says:

    Todd: Great post. I’ve been reading you for months but comment rarely. I also have a blog for strategic communications professionals (vr3blog@wordpress.com) and will referencing this post as a great case study and encouraging others to follow you.

  • Rodrigo says:

    Hi guys,
    I worked in the telecommunications industry a few years ago and for many years, and let me tell that this service has been around since GSM phone were made available, so it’s no news to me unless your client is trying to rebrand it and charge for it.
    Good luck in your campaign,

    Rodrigo

  • Todd, excellent case study. I think traditional PR firms really take the easy way out – they feel that a single press release fits all types and don’t care if it’s a hit-or-miss. As a blogger who receives hundreds of pitches daily, the template press releases are all misses for me!

    The bottom line is that effort is required. Too many people are losing sight of that.

  • Ryan Miller says:

    Todd,

    This is a great case study. Thanks for sharing. I think a blogger or web business can get an enormous amount of mileage out of simply participating in the conversation, particularly if they have something relevant to add.

    Trying to get clients to put in some effort by participating in the SM space, is certainly a challenge, but this is a great piece to share with them that illustrates how businesses can use social media to build their brand.
    I have two questions:

    First, were these pitches sent to the owners of the blog themselves, or were the pitches posted in the comment sections?

    Second, do you know if the firm experienced any blowback from other commenters because of this tactic? I’d be curious to find out what the negative side of this campaign was.

    @ryancmiller

  • C.C. Chapman says:

    THANK YOU!

    Some people might look at the number of blog posts and question if that is a lot or a little. Working in this space, I know that is a hell of a number. But, people don’t know because this sort of data is very rarely shared.

    Thank you for stepping up and walking through the campaign and how it worked. We need more companies and agencies to start doing this!

    We do a lot of outreach here at The Advance Guard and taking the time to personalize and show the person that you are not just mass contacting people is a very important thing.

    What I’d also love to hear is lessons learned and what you might do differently if you were to do it again.

    Keep on doing what your doing Todd. It makes the whole social media space a better one.

  • Twitter Comment

    Blogger Relations (and Social Media Release!) Case Study:
    As noted in an earlier post, one of my goals for PR-S.. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    @PRjobs: I think that my favorite public relations blog is [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • corinnew says:

    Thanks for sharing – I’ll definitely use it as an example in my class. Students sometimes have difficulty understanding how to take the same story and pitch it differently. This should do the trick in explaining that process.

  • Todd Defren says:

    @Dave, @Peter – My main point was to show the need to customize every single pitch. Not to get too caught up in the Perez pitch, but re-read it and then look at the resulting post (http://is.gd/iilF) … We mentioned John Mayer as a serial dater, and guess whose pic (along with the “serial dater” term) is in the final PH post? ;)

  • Twitter Comment

    @TDefren Enjoyed reading your post today about the slydial case study. [link to post] Thanks for sharing!

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Peter I. says:

    I think I’m with @Dave on that one. The pitch comes off a little salesy and I think most high volume bloggers want the information up front. That said, you can’t argue with the results. That’s amazing growth in beta users and if a lot of the referring traffic can be attributed to the coverage then you have some quantifiable ROI right there.

    Thanks for the post, Todd…love these case studies!

  • pligg.com says:

    PR Squared: Blogger Relations (and Social Media Release!) Case Study

    Todd Defren offers up a blogger relations case study on some work for MobileSphere. Shift was tapped to do the work so there is obviously one of their social media press releases included.

  • Todd Defren says:

    @Dave – Transparency trumps all. :)
    @Monica – That is so nice of you, thank you!

  • GusF (Gus) says:

    Twitter Comment

    RT @melaniestack Great Social Media Case Study: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Oh what a wonderful resource you are! Just when I am discouraged about weeding through too much information to cull what is needed for me and my business, here you are. With tangible, real-world solutions. Thank you, Todd.

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @dmullen PR and SM peeps: Here’s a great blogger relations case study, courtesy of @tdefren: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @dmullen: PR and SM peeps: Here’s a great blogger relations case study, courtesy of @tdefren: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    PR and SM peeps: Here’s a great blogger relations case study, courtesy of @tdefren: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Check out this Blogger Relations/SMR case study. Smart idea and includes sample pitches, sample results, and ROI. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Great case study on Blogger Relations including sample pitches, sample results, and ROI. [link to post] . Thanks @TDefren

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Dave says:

    Thanks for sharing, Todd – good case studies are always valuable to read. But am I not the only one surprised with the first sentence “I work for a PR agency and have a client….” for a pitch? Yikes! Bring your most relevant info to the top – Perez is on a need-to-know basis re: your employer! :-)

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @TDefren: This Blogger Rel/SMR case study is not too long, includes sample pitches, sample results and ROI. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @TDefren: Here’s a kick-a$$ Blogger Relations Case Study (with a Social Media Release chaser!): [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher



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