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How to secure press coverage and build links with Carrie Rose

Join Rise at Seven Founder, Carrie Rose, for a workshop on creating a killer digital PR strategy.

Sophie Thompson
30th June 2021

AI and machines might be taking over our marketing and automating everything from emails and social posts to multi-channel performance - but they can't take over our creativity!

That's just a snippet of Carrie Rose's words of wisdom from our workshop on securing press coverage and building a backlink strategy in the world of digital PR.

Carrie started Rise at Seven two years ago (along with co-founder Stephen Kenwright), and it's since grown to global status with clients such as Missguided, ODEON and GoCompare, who all love the agency for its creative-first approach to digital PR and unique ability to combine SEO with creative assets.

During the session, Carrie spoke about her process for coming up with award-winning campaigns, the secrets behind 'newsjacking', and how SEO is becoming cool again!

Watch the full replay below, or keeping scrolling for the summary.

Can SEO really be creative?

Carrie says one of the reasons Rise at Seven has become so successful is because they're breaking the barriers of SEO being a technical discipline. Of course, SEO is important, it's how you get seen, but if you're not doing it in an engaging way...well, that's where AI could probably take over the job for you.

Technical SEO should work seamlessly hand-in-hand with creative advertising as they complement each other so well.

An example Carrie used was a John Lewis Christmas advert promoting Elton John's iconic piano. It was a creative advert that everyone fell in love with, but if you googled 'piano' - John Lewis was nowhere in sight.

Screenshot 2021-06-30 at 15.33.50

Another important part of this is the link-building element. There was no PPC behind this campaign, and no links from news outlets covering the campaign.

  • Increased the amount of site traffic generated
  • Achieved more piano sales than competitor piano suppliers who actually benefited from the ad
  • Improved overall SEO and google rankings

There is no doubt that was a great campaign that secured a lot of brand awareness but it wasn't utilized to its full potential, which is why Rise at Seven always look at both sides of a campaign - the creative and the technical.

In fact, in the World Economic Forum's top-10 list of most important skills, creativity makes the cut amongst critical thinking, negotiation, and active listening. In 2015 it ranked at number 10 in the list, and in 2020, creativity shot up to number 3. Future-proofing your career is about getting creative!

Being creative with SEO is:

  • Giving a brand something that money can't buy
  • Improving organic brand search results
  • Encouraging people to link back to your site because that's the only place they can access a key piece of information/data/media - and because you are awesome

Being creative isn't new. Carrie's favorite example was from confectionary brand Snickers, who bid on commonly misspelled words to push their product as part of their PPC strategy.

Screenshot 2021-06-30 at 15.38.04

Snickers' key strapline is 'you're not you when you're hungry' - cleverly hinting at the misspellings being a result of someone needing a Snickers bar to get them back on track.

Despite being a PPC campaign, it received much PR coverage for its unique approach, as well as a number of awards.

The result? 558,559 ad impressions and 6000 website clicks!

It's great that these campaigns are fun and people enjoy seeing them, but Carrie says it's more essential than ever for digital PRs to be able to prove the return on investment through:

  • Sales or conversions
  • Traffic
  • Improving organic rankings
  • Coverage that contains backlinks

She has a three-step process to help you bring these results to life:

  1. Decide what you want to achieve
  2. How can coverage be EARNED and why would people want to ENGAGE with the content you're putting out?
  3. How can you adapt that coverage into links and search impact?

Here are some of the key strategies that Rise at Seven commonly uses to disrupt the PR space and achieve the above.


Piggyback off the day's biggest news stories and make them relevant to your brand. A great example of this is from Innocent Smoothies, who took the Rebekah Vardy vs Coleen Rooney drama and used it to push one of their best-selling drinks.


Data-led reports

Taking a piece of data and giving it a news-worthy angle. Rise at Seven did exactly this by conducting a study that revealed Spotify pays artists £0.0034 per stream of their songs.

This allowed them to calculate how much some of the world's biggest artists have earned for their most streamed songs and then use that as a hook for publications to share Rise at Seven's data.

The campaign actually got TV coverage, was featured on the likes of CNN, Yahoo and Mashable, and created 210 backlinks to the client's website in 12 countries (the client was a broadband provider!)

Product PR launch

If there's a new product coming out, getting creative is easy - but what can you do with products in need of a new lease of life? Carrie spoke about the iconic Missguided dog jumper campaign that Rise at Seven worked on last year.

The brand had been advertising dog jumpers on its website for over a year but was struggling to sell them. Carrie created an exciting angle after noticing a lot of the dog jumpers had similar human counterparts in their women's section - matching jumpers were born!

0 doggy

Rise at Seven then created a report of traffic, transactions, and social shares to know which publications commonly talk about pet accessories and/or fashion to target with the campaign. You can use a tool such as Shared Count to create similar reports.

The campaign made Missguided the highest-ranked return on Google for 'dog jumpers', got 77 press links, 82,000 site visits, and the jumpers sold out entirely. What a way to push a product!

If you don't already have existing relationships with publications and want to generate press coverage or excitement around your content, here's what you can do:

  • Publish your campaign on specific forums such as Reddit threads, where subject specialists can share amongst themselves
  • Contact marketing publications and offer the content as an industry case study that might inspire other creatives
  • Share far and wide to press around the world! By this step, you should have enough coverage to demonstrate the interest you're saying

We don't like to brag but...

To manage all of their campaigns, Rise at Seven uses ContentCal!

Using our handy campaigns tab, they keep track of all of their clients, make sure nothing goes out to the wrong account, and schedule social media in advance.

Rise at Seven is still a rapidly growing team so being able to collaborate on projects is essential for a successful workflow.

If you want to get just as organized, make sure you download our content strategy template, and visit our events page to see any upcoming workshops.

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