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Harry Potter and the Magic of PR

Posted in Earned Media

27/10/16

In the last decade, the Harry Potter series has captivated millions of readers and viewers across the globe.

We have avidly followed the journey of the boy wizard from its humble beginning on a bookshelf in WH Smith to the bright lights of Hollywood.

The world is obsessed with Harry Potter.

Harry Potter

Intrigue about the trials and tribulations he faces throughout J.K Rowling’s seven novels has led to Potter’s story being translated on to the big screens. Box office takings have grossed $7 billion across the franchise.

In the opening shots of the first film, you see what looks like a regular house, on a regular street, known as Privet Drive. Of course, if you know the story, you know that this is no regular house.

However, in the muggle world this street is in the Bracknell suburb of Martins Heron, Berkshire, and the exact house used in the filming of Harry Potter is currently up for sale.

Harry Potter house

Chancellors contacted us with the exciting news that they were selling the house, and a media frenzy ensued. Everyone wanted the photos and the exclusive story, which meant they wanted to speak to us. Calls from New York, Germany, Denmark and from all the big players in the UK press flooded our phone lines for a solid two days.

After a 48-hour whirlwind of non-stop phone calls and emails, Chancellors had worldwide coverage and links from over 200 referring domains.

In this specific case, we had a strategy behind our PR activity for Chancellors that revolved around three key factors that can easily be implemented for any campaign.

 

Timing

The phrase “timing is everything” may be relevant to most businesses, but when it comes to PR it’s even more powerful for securing high-quality links and coverage.

In this specific example, we used the Pareto Principle to our advantage. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the input.

We started by contacting the UK’s most authoritative sites and publications with news of the property being for sale. The timing was important in this contact, as the story was new and exclusive; the type that makes most journalists’ adrenalin kick in.

This instantly grabs their attention and entices them into featuring the story, especially when they are being offered “first dibs”. Consequently, minutes later, the story started appearing in Google News from many high-authority sources.

The implementation of our PR strategy in contacting the websites that Google and other search engines respect the most meant that Chancellors naturally generated coverage on other sites, where the story was picked up organically.

The immediate benefits of this strategy were clear when in just 30 days, there was a 122% increase in referring domains to the Chancellors site.

Referring domains

Value

Whereas once upon a time it was hard to prove the value of PR work, Google Analytics has changed things for the better.

The tangible value our PR activity had in this campaign is evident thanks to the data Analytics provides. Traffic to the Chancellors site increased by 46% month on month in September and referral traffic week on week was up 1,128%.

Site traffic

It is also extremely important to identify what value your campaign is offering to a journalist, a website, a publication or a blogger before contacting them.

In this specific example, there were several different questions being asked from a variety of press sources. Some wanted to know if the value of the house had been affected by its “claim to fame”. Others were intrigued about the “cupboard under the stairs”, which sadly was as dull as a real-life cupboard under the stairs gets.

By providing additional information and imagery, and helping with specific questions regarding the house, we offered significant value to the journalists. In exchange for this, Chancellors were rewarded with a highly valuable link on an authoritative site.

 

Follow Up

After the initial success of the Harry Potter campaign, it would be very easy to sit back and think, “our job is done”. However, following up after successful PR like this is vital to ensure longevity in SEO benefits and to build a pipeline of potential opportunities for the future.

Identify the gaps in your backlink profile. Were there any sites that didn’t link? Add these to your list of targets to follow up with when the story develops further. In this specific example, we are awaiting the sale of the house to build on the story that has been created thus far.

From the influx of interest and links gained from this campaign, we have formed some great relationships with key press that we will nurture and follow up with when the house is sold.

Lastly, don’t forget to follow up in Analytics. Rankings and increases in domain authority and referring domains can take time to update, so keep checking back – a week, a month, 3 months afterwards – to reap the full benefits of your work.

Looking at the data post-campaign is where you can clearly identify the “magic” of PR and get some great insight. We have been nominated for two awards at the UK Search Awards in the categories ‘Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign’ and ‘Best Low Budget Campaign’ for our commitment to the Harry Potter phenomena that is still going strong in 2016.

Want to find out what PR can do for your next campaign? Get in touch with us here

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