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Published May 27th 2021

How two types of PR boosted our free trials by up to 108%

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Good publicity is invaluable. Not only does it put your brand front and centre – more often than not it can lead to real ROI.

Take BuzzSumo for example.

Selling for seven figures within just three years of being founded, it’s a classic hyper-growth startup, the success of which co-founder Steve Rayson confidently attributes to two different types of publicity:

  • Word of mouth
  • Influencers

You can read more about BuzzSumo’s success here.

While it’s often tricky to attribute the value of PR, there’s no denying its importance.

At BuzzSumo, we’re increasingly aware of the power of PR on the success of our business.

What are the main types of publicity?

When it comes to earned PR, there are different ways in which your brand can be publicized:

  • Media mentions
  • Influencer relations
  • Word of mouth mentions
  • Competitor mentions (usually negative publicity)
  • Viral social media mentions

We’ve seen success from two types of positive publicity

Recently, we’ve experienced the positive effects of two specific types of PR: media and influencer mentions.

We’re in the fortunate position that these mentions came about organically, and lead to our highest spike in free trial signups of 2021.

That being said, we were able to quickly identify this publicity using BuzzSumo monitoring and Twitter, to make the most of a spike in interest with our own reactive PR strategy.

Media mentions led to 31% uplift in free BuzzSumo trials

On May 11th, a mention came in via our Slack channel from a journalist for NBC.

They had used BuzzSumo data to deep-dive into the performance of Trump’s new website, following his ousting from social media on January 8th.

From this media mention, we received 49 subsequent mentions in other major news publications, including Business Insider, The Independent, and Vanity Fair (across May 11th & May 12th), which we monitored using our brand Alerts.

As a result of this type of publicity, we saw new users increase by 11%, and trial signups boosted by 31%, when compared with our yearly average.

How we capitalized on this with a reactive PR strategy

Thanks to BuzzSumo’s super speedy monitoring and alerts (which outpace even Google Alerts for PR monitoring) our team spotted this mention the same day, via our real-time “BuzzSumo-Mentions” channel in Slack.

Because we were able to discover mentions within just a few hours of publication, we were also able to kick-start our reactive PR strategy.

We had already begun delving into the decline of Trump’s engagement back in January, but we now knew that both journalists and readers had a clear appetite for the story.

We quickly decided we would dig even deeper into the decline of Trump engagement, and build a full data story to pitch to The Washington Post, using BuzzSumo.

Using the Content Analysis Report, we found more data proving:

  • The disinterest in Trump’s new website
  • That content engagement around Trump had dropped to its lowest point in 5 years

The Washington Post liked the data (🥳 ), and used it as the basis of their article: Trump is sliding toward online irrelevance. His new blog isn’t helping, which was shared 26k times (at time of writing) according to the BuzzSumo Chrome Extension.

As a result of our reactive PR – which was catalyzed by the organic mentions we discovered within BuzzSumo – we managed to build sustained interest in BuzzSumo data.

This led to:

  • 25 further mentions from top tier media
  • 10 links: Six from sites with a domain authority exceeding 80, and three from prominent media including The Independent and MSN (NB: publications tend not to provide links, so this is positive both for PR and SEO) 
  • Our highest conversion rate for free trial sign ups ever

Find out more about how to perfect your PR pitch or how to get a journalist to cover your story. Check out our 2022 report, where we analyzed 600K journalists across numerous industries, and surveyed even more, to get to grips with what journalists really want from pitches.

Influencer mention led to 108% uplift in free BuzzSumo trials

In the first week of February, we noticed a drastic uplift in our goals during the previous week (January 25th).

After some examining, we realized that our free trial signups had shot up by 108%, with direct traffic seeing the most pronounced increase.

We deducted the traffic was likely coming from “dark social”, which meant either that BuzzSumo had been shared on private network, or that it had been mentioned – but not linked to – on social media.

A simple Twitter search cleared things up, and we found that an influencer had recommended BuzzSumo highly to their 160k+ followers, in a tweet thread that generated:

  • 97 Quote Tweets

This was easy to find, but if we’d have paid closer attention to our own brand mentions, via BuzzSumo's email Alerts or Slack, we’d have found that same tweet curated on the site Thread on the actual day of the uplift – instead of a week later!

How we capitalized on this type of PR

After discovering the BuzzSumo fan / influencer, we got to thinking about how we could build on this relationship.

We reached out, and are now planning to partner on a report combining this influencers’ expertise with BuzzSumo’s data and insights.

Publicity comes in many different forms and varieties, and can be hugely beneficial to your brand, if you have the right tools to both proactively generate it and reactively identify it.

Start by signing up for a free 30-day trial of BuzzSumo to discover:

  • Content engagement data for pitching to journalists
  • Mention data for spotting your next best PR opportunities
  • PR metrics and reporting
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