There’s been a lot of chat about dream job campaigns in digital PR circles of late. Inspired by a tweet from the good folks over at JBH Agency, discussion has continued on Twitter about whether the creation of ‘dream jobs’ as a method of gaining PR coverage is super cool or totally naff.
My intention here is not to answer that question. If you’d like to do that, check out the thread on Twitter. But what I do want to do is discuss how we can generate more tangible benefits from campaigns or this type – and indeed any creative PR campaign – with the aim of persuading all of you that we should be celebrating outcomes as much as we do outputs.
What is a ‘dream job’ campaign?
The digital PR community is a pretty tight knit one. But though ‘dream job’ is a phrase that’s become well known and well used amongst our peers, it would be remiss of me to post about dream job campaigns without first explaining what they are!
For anyone not aware, a dream job campaign is a PR campaign driven by a job posting that has been created with the primary purpose of generating news coverage and audience interaction. In the most part, people don’t tend to talk about the latest accountancy position at a local finance firm in the pub, but they will talk about job ads for ‘water slide tester’ or ‘chocolate taster’ or ‘Mediterranean cruise reviewer’.
And in essence, that’s what dream job campaigns are about; creating a ‘dream’ job that people will want to talk about in the pub, usually tied into an aspirational topic or seemingly ‘impossible’ job, that the media can then use in a story.
Here are some examples:
Bathstore Bath Tester
Back in 2014, Lexi Mills (very awesome digital PR, I recommend following her for more tips) created the Bath Tester role to promote Bathstore. It was cool because it seemed very unlikely someone would actually pay for that service, so had that element of surprise to it, and also sounded like a lot of fun – imagine sitting around in bathtubs all day!
Part of the remit of the role was that the tester provide accurate written reports and other content outlining their experience of each bath – which would then become content for the business to use throughout their site (which is made even more awesome when you consider how long it takes to write unique product descriptions but how important that unique content is for ecommerce SEO).
SpaSeekers Spa Tester
In this more recent example, UK based spa company SpaSeekers worked with Carrie Rose‘s team to create the Spa Tester role, which would see the lucky candidate test a range of spas across the country.
The campaign was backed by a social media element, with applicants being asked to submit their application via Twitter and using a hashtag. This meant that social engagement was encouraged and, as we know, social engagement statistics are often used by journalists to understand how popular an article is likely to be.
Personally, I would have followed up with all non-successful applicants with a discount code for spa access, knowing that they all wanted to visit a spa, as this would have generated a revenue based gain too – but I’ll come back to that.
First Choice Water Slide Tester
A student called Sebastian was the eventual winner of this dream job, which saw him travel Splashworld’s resorts testing their water slides. And he got £20,000 to do it! Yep, this is a pretty dreamy job by anyone’s standards:
As well as enjoying the slides for himself, the water slide tester was also required to gather video footage and write up his experiences, rating splash size and adrenaline levels.
For travel companies, it can be challenging to access information specifically related to every single resort, and to write unique and engaging content for it (especially without visiting). Each year, most travel companies will send employees on familiarisation (fam) trips anyway, so the budget for this campaign likely came from that, giving First Choice the added benefit of user-generated content and PR coverage too.
And a whole bunch more…
My search for ‘dream job’ in Google News resulted in more than 135,000,000 results. Granted, not all will be PR campaigns like these, but here are some fun examples I spotted in the mix:
Dream job campaigns: the basics
So we can agree at this point that there are a LOT of dream job campaigns out there. And though much of the discussion around these campaigns questions whether the media is saturated by them, the reality is that they continued to be used pretty much daily.
If you fancy creating your own dream jobs campaign, here are some of the basic considerations to keep in mind:
In order to deliver the campaign, you’ll need to be promoting a real job. There’s no point advertising a role as a Magical Unicorn Rider or a Saturn Based Farmer if you’re not able to actually give someone the job. The media will just see straight through it.
You’ll therefore want to consider what’s realistic within your budget, and what assets you have at your disposal. In the travel company example above, I mentioned how fam trips are pretty common in the industry and as such, it’s likely First Choice were able to send their successful candidate on these trips for a very small cost. For Spa Seekers, the cost of a spa trip is rarely more than a couple of hundred pounds which, compared to the investment you could make in PR assets and creative content campaigns, seems very small.
Depending on your own budgets, you may want to sculpt your dream job campaign around what is realistically deliverable, and set expectations on the ROI you can expect to achieve.
Though the idea of a dream job has been done many times over, the specifics of your role will have to be unique to get it noticed.
The aim here is to reuse the premise but not the actual campaign. So you can set up a dream job, but it has to be a job that hasn’t been advertised before.
The best place to start with this is to look at your own business and what you want to promote. You might be in a position to craft a dream job around a very broad topic within your business, or, if it’s done before, you’ll need to look much more niche – think ‘garlic bread taster’ rather than ‘restaurant reviewer’.
You’ll also need the right assets to gain attention for your campaign. Consider including:
- A landing page on your website; this is essential as it should be the place where all links are directed. Including the terms and conditions of your dream job is a great way to ‘force’ journalists to link to it, because it’s rare they’ll want to include Ts and Cs in their article but important that those details are accessible to the people who want to apply (shout out to Carrie Rose for this tip)
- A description of the job; think of it like any job posting and include as much detail as you see fit to appeal to potential candidates
- A creative approach; while the job should look like a job listing, do remember to also be more creative, given that your intention is to gain mass exposure – so describe your job in a way which appeals to the masses, incorporating humour, aspirational tones, descriptive language and so on
- Visual content; a video is the ideal here, giving the journalist a great piece of visual content to use and also to be shared across social channels. At the very least, you’ll want some images to bring your job to life
The right outreach list
The job of the outreacher on this campaign should, in theory, be pretty easy. Simply mine the backlink profiles of other similar dream job campaigns to identify the journalists most likely to use your content.
If you’re doing something very niche, you can also explore the niche publications that relate to it, helping you to uncover even more coverage opportunities beyond the nationals.
How to get more value from a dream job campaign
You can get plenty of value out of your campaign by simply focusing on the basics above. There’s seemingly no end to the conferences, guest posts and tweets that celebrate the launch of dream job campaigns and the subsequent features across the national press.
And if that’s what you’re aiming for, then that’s great! Celebrate the coverage, discuss it in your board meetings, pop it in your internal newsletters and then move on to the next one. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But, as with all types of PR campaigns in the digital sphere, the idea is that these be more tangible than traditional PR equivalents. Which means you can expect to deliver more tangible benefits than the coverage alone.
Link building for SEO benefit
One of the main reasons businesses invest in digital PR is to support their link building requirements with a view to improving domain authority and search rankings.
In the majority of cases, a digital PR team will be briefed either:
- To build links to the domain overall – to the homepage or to a blog page, basically just any links to drive authority
- To build links to a specific page or folder on the site to support specific keyword rankings
If your campaign has been designed to achieve an SEO driven goal, it’s essential you monitor the impact of your new links on ranking positions.
From there, you should also seek to discuss the ranking impact with the SEO team. Did the rankings improve? Did those improve ranking positions result in more traffic? Did that traffic go on to convert? Can you attribute a revenue value therefore to that increase? In this way, you’re deriving more value from your PR campaigns by taking a more integrated approach to setting its KPIs and monitoring its impact – talking outcome as well as output.
Audience building for PPC benefit
Digital PR, by its very nature, is a top-of-funnel marketing activity. This means it is far likely to reach audiences at the initial awareness or education stages of their journey, and less likely therefore to result in an immediate sale or conversion.
PPC, by its nature, is about facilitating the movement of potential customers through that funnel at all stages. Paid social advertising, in particular, is an area where top-of-funnel starting points can lead to valuable new acquisitions.
Facebook, for example, is a great place to reach new audiences based on their interests and behaviours. But creating content to cut through the noise of increasingly busy news feeds is difficult.
That’s where your PR campaign can come in. Consider placing your PR content as the content at the top of the funnel in a paid social media campaign. In this way, you can reach broader audiences and then create a plan to deliver increasingly sales-driven messages to users who engage.
For example, using the Spa Seekers example, it would have been prudent to accompany that campaign with some paid social media budget, promoting the job in the initial stages, prompting again for applications in the second stage and then sending a discount or special offer directly to people who applied unsuccessfully as a means of encouraging them to book a spa day regardless.
Email capture for marketing benefit
If you are able, without detriment to the user experience, to incorporate an email capture element to your PR campaign, this can be hugely valuable in future marketing efforts.
As remarketing cookies now expire after 7 days, the potential of reaching customers who visit your content is lessened. However, once you hold an email address (and have GDPR compliant consent), you can send messages to those users via ad channels or direct email marketing as you wish.
Consider how you might make this possible. Simply adding a ‘sign up for future dream job opportunities’ could be one way, or having people download something using their email address in order to apply is another.
Content deliverables for SEO benefit
One of the biggest challenges in ecommerce especially is the ability to create unique content on a product level. Why not think like Bathstore and require your successful applicant to create content reviewing each product they test? This way, you get unique content direct from someone who’s actually experienced the thing you want to sell.
Having the applicants create content as part of their application or in the role once successful is a great way to deliver even more value from your campaign. Google will appreciate rich media like video and imagery, and the credibility of content from someone who has truly tested the product will contribute toward better user experiences and, potentially, better rankings too.
Smart business thinking for revenue benefit
If yours is a business that holds stock, consider how your PR campaign can help you to move that stock, especially if it’s going out of season or you simply want to free up valuable warehouse space. Could you move some of those cumbersome inflatable hot tubs by running a campaign for hot tub testers, for example?
Also, think about where you can encourage sales amongst people who are not the successful applicant for your job. While First Choice might find it difficult to encourage people to buy a holiday after applying unsuccessfully, even with a discount, you can see how companies like Spa Seekers and Dominoes could take advantage of the spike in interest in their products.
For example, as mentioned previously, Spa Seekers might have offered a discount code to everyone who applied, knowing that applicants were keen to experience a spa day. For Dominoes, the temptation of free garlic bread might be enough to encourage a purchase if a discount code was given. It’s that kind of business-led thinking that can deliver immediate and additional revenue benefits from your campaign.
Traffic building to future proof your backlink profile
Though unproven, there are theories in the SEO community that Google would append more value to a link which is clicked on than one which is not. In the ongoing ‘game’ of working out which links should be considered as ‘votes’ for a company, it’s not difficult to see how Google might consider the number of people clicking on a link as a proxy for its quality.
The thing about dream job campaigns – love them or hate them – is that, by their very nature, they require an interaction. It’s not like a data visualisation or a survey where results can be reported without the reader needing to click on them; in the case of a dream job, if people want to apply, they have to click (especially if you include the Ts and Cs or application form directly in your page).
Should you run a dream job campaign?
Dream job campaigns have been proven to be highly successful, when done well. The key here, as with any PR campaign, is to ensure it aligns with your objectives. Ask yourself:
- Does a dream job campaign have the right tone for my business?
- Have I got a ‘dream job’ I can promote?
- Will the dream job campaign get me featured in the right kind of publication
If you’re considering a dream job campaign, or indeed any digital PR campaign, and would like support through to full delivery, get in touch! Our award winning PR team delivers exciting, creative, totally random and results-driven campaigns for businesses in B2B and B2C every day. We’d love to talk to you!