Here at 10 Yetis, we’ve been really lucky to be able to work with some well-known national brands over the years to create a range of interactive microsites (sometimes known as widgets). These online tools help alongside more traditional PR campaigns, and utilise the resources of our talented in-house development and design teams.
As well as fun, internal projects for ourselves, we’ve also devised, built and outreached successful online tools for national brands such as comparison site GoCompare.com, blind company Hillarys Blinds and its online sister site web-blinds.com, online travel agency sunshine.co.uk and online pharmaceutical company UK Medix.
A microsite is described as an individual web-page which functions as a separate entity within an existing website or to compliment off-line activity, and there are numerous ways in which they can benefit online PR efforts for a brand. Here are just some examples of the positive effects we’ve seen for ourselves and our clients since implementing them into our digital efforts.
The aim when brainstorming, developing and outreaching microsites is to ultimately secure follow links back to your clients website on as many online publications as possible. The beauty about online tools such as those we build for clients, is that journalists pretty much have no choice than to link back to the original sub-domain page if they want to feature it on their website.
Selling in a microsite successfully is therefore a much easier win than trying to convince national writers that have run your press release, feature or announcement to add a link in for you. Having said that, occasionally some journalists will request an embed code in order to showcase an interactive tool within their own website, which doesn’t always guarantee a follow link alongside it. In our experience though, online publications that have done this are much more willing to add in follow links after publishing a story for a client if they’ve been given an online microsite/tool to interest readers with.
Engagement & Shareability
Often, we Yetis will sit down as an agency in order to discuss and brainstorm ideas for online microsites that we think are going to get the most engagement from audiences across social media, as trying to make a microsite viral is one of the biggest goals to aim for (and we’ve even achieved it – our social santa microsite had over 1 million ‘plays’ over a 12 hour period thanks to an explosion on Twitter and celebrity engagement.)
We often find that the more unusual and quirky the angle of the microsite, the better it’s received on social media, and the more likely it is to be shared, for example, this is an interactive quiz we researched, designed and built that aimed to give you your Sleeping Spirit Animal, based on your own nocturnal patterns. Sounds a little odd, right? This generated huge pieces on coverage and links on the Huffington Post, Mail Online, Metro Online and The Debrief to name just a few.
It is also worth noting just how many journalists from news sites around the world engage with us as a result of a particular client microsite generating a large number of likes, shares or retweets across social media. This will often be down to one or two large national publications (i.e. Mashable, Daily Mail, metro.co.uk) running the tool as either an exclusive or on the first day of sell-in. This worldwide coverage of microsites that have international appeal can help generate follow links, beneficial for google rankings and SEO efforts, for your client, not to mention increase their brand awareness and positioning.
Unlike more traditional news releases, article placements or stunts, online microsites and widgets give us the opportunity – as PR’s – to continue a conversation between journalists at different points throughout the year, in order to maximise on potential coverage opportunities and follow links.
For example, one widget we devised for a client last year, the - Back To School Sleep Calculator - was aimed at UK parents and attempted to help them gradually work out how to get their young children back into a normalised sleeping pattern before the beginning of the new school year after the long summer period. As the tool performed so well amongst UK consumer and parenting press, we will be working with our developer again this year to better the existing site and re-pushing it out to online publications which, for whatever reason, didn’t run it last year.
In a similar vein, another tool we’ve outreached for a client – The Jetlag Sleep Calculator- has performed particularly well over the past two years during peak holiday seasons, as it allows travellers to input their starting point and destination, in order to know how best to prepare their body against the harmful health effects of jetlag.
Often, the best performing online microsites are those which are able to offer up unique information for different regions, cities or even towns of the UK, Web writers for the online editions of local newspapers are always extremely generous at offering follow links and a multiple social media shares for tools that specifically appeal to their audiences.
A tool that we have been working on only this month – The Earnings VS Postcodes Tool- analyses rent prices across all 2,650 of the UK postcodes, and helps Britons know how much they would need to earn per hour, in order to live comfortably (based on the recommendation from the charity Shelter that rent should be no more than 35% of a tenants income.)
As a result of the huge amount of research carried out to build the tool, almost every major regional newspaper, and a fair few national outlets, have covered the tool on its website with a link and a comparison of its local towns and cities (and I’m still working on the rest!)#
So there we have it, just a few reasons for how microsites can hugely benefit your online PR campaign now and in the future. Drop us a line if you think that we might be able to help your brand out with some super snazzy online tools!