Graphic designers are notoriously bad at marketing…
That’s why we asked the founder of the hottest PR & SEO company on the block – Rise At Seven, to share her most successful viral campaigns so that we can get inspired!
The knowledge that she shares isn’t only useful for graphic designers, but any creative professional for that matter. Sit back, relax, and read about how you can gain MASSIVE success by being resourceful, quick on your feet, and determined.
Who is Carrie Rose and why should we listen to her?
Carrie Rose is the Co-founder and Creative Director of Rise at Seven. She leads the Creative Content Marketing and Digital PR Offering within the agency, closely aligning with SEO Strategy.
We reached out to Carrie as she’s doing a fantastic job filling the gap between strictly PR and pure SEO companies.
Her work has won numerous awards over the years. They have focused on link building through top tier publications to improve organic performance. Achieving their success by creating stories, data, and assets that journalists want to talk about or link to naturally – and users want to share just because it’s awesome.
Rise at Seven just celebrated its first birthday. What she and colleagues achieved in a year is tremendous and the image below sums it up perfectly.
- She made the shortlist for Young Digital Marketer of the Year at the Northern Digital Awards 2019 after winning a total of 6 industry awards for her content marketing and Digital PR work
- Won Best Campaign within Travel at the UK Search Awards 2018
- Best use of PR at the PR moment awards and shortlisted for the Best Content Marketing Campaign at the EU Search Awards 2017
- Best use of Content at the UK Content Awards
The Twitter response after her speech “Creating sexy AF outreach emails to land sexy AF links” at BrightonSEO
Let’s start out with some case studies to gain insight on Carrie’s success & how you can apply it to your own brand.
How data from Love Island got Carrie on the BBC and helped her land her dream client
Flat-Icons: Can you tell me about how you came about landing Missguided as your client?
Carrie: This one’s actually a pretty interesting story. Missguided came to us around three weeks after we launched the agency and told us that they’ve seen some of our work and wanted to know if we could take them on as a client. They asked if we had some case studies we could send over for them.
I love Missguided as a brand and I thought it would be a dream to work with them. I didn’t have any case studies in the fashion market though. I didn’t have anything that I could send to them that they could resonate with.
“So I created a case study in the space of a week.”
We had data on how much the contestants on the show could earn in terms of advertising when they leave the show and become influencers on Instagram. So we wrote this report on our site and created some content around it, and then we pushed that out to the media.
We sent emails to the BBC, Sky News, as well as lifestyle publications like Cosmopolitan and Hello Magazine and asked them if they’re interested in using this data and covering the story. We had about 37 media outlets that picked up the story and then it just sky-rocketed from there.
I got asked to go on BBC World News, and we had lots of features on Snapchat and Instagram. Everybody was talking about it. Everybody loves Love Island and it’s the perfect TV Show that aligns with the Missguided audience.
I packaged that up as a case study, sent it to Missguided, and told them that I haven’t got a Fashion Case Study, but I can create stories out of nothing and build links and graphics that the BBC World News wanted to talk about.
“I wanted to prove that no matter what brand comes to my table, I can handle it and I can do it on the spot.“
So we got our dream client and we’ve been working for Missguided for around 10 months now.
Flat-Icons: That’s amazing! Regarding the data on the contestants, how did you get that?
Carrie: There was a report that came out about how much people on social media can earn based on their following. (You can earn X amount per follower).
We simply looked into how many followers all of the contestants of Love Island had and multiplied it with what they could earn. Someone like Molly Bay who was a top contestant on the show could potentially earn 7000 pounds (around $8700) per Instagram post, but now I believe she’s earning millions.
So we simply took original data from a different report that we found for free online and created a story connected to Love Island.
How Carrie got over 80 media placements and sold out the entire stock of dog jumpers for her client
Flat-Icons: Can you tell me about the Dog Jumper Campaign for Missguided and how you achieved such great success with that?
Carrie: Missguided had an accessories section on their online store that sold jumpers for dogs. They were struggling to sell them. They sold a few, but not many. So we saw the opportunity to create a wonderful PR story that publications like Cosmopolitan would love, especially in a fashion sense.
We created a dog jumper that matched your own. We also created a product page and did some photography of the dogs wearing the same jumpers as their owners and we pushed it to the press. I believe we got 80 Media placements to cover it from the likes of LAD Bible to Metro and even the Daily Mail.
“This drove around 80,000 visits and the dog jumpers were completely SOLD OUT!“
The campaign was so successful that they decided to create more designs, like a Missguided brand hoodie for your dog, as well as pajama trousers. The second campaign did so well that it got viral media placements all over the world.
Our process works like this: We look up what products the clients already have on their website and we then create stories out of it. If there aren’t enough stories behind the products they already have – we’ll create marketing campaigns, do studies, or design something that perhaps travel publications would like.
This is definitely a creative way of thinking about content creation for search.
How Carrie sold Christmas dinner to gamers and drove over 700,000 impressions to a campaign using social media
Flat-Icons: Does Social Media Play a role in your campaigns?
Carrie: Yeah, absolutely. That’s something that I think kind of makes us different as an agency. In my career, I used to just promote campaigns to publications and send emails to writers and editors, but I didn’t necessarily think about how social media could help.
Here’s an example of how effective social media can be. So we ran a campaign for a company called GAME. They sell Xbox games, PlayStation games, you name it, and one of the biggest UK retailers in what they do. We ran this campaign for them over Christmas 2019 called the Christmas Tinner. It was basically a three-course Christmas dinner in a tin.
This was aimed at gamers that don’t want to leave their rooms to sit at the dining table and eat Christmas dinner. We started with one strategy and changed it after conducting some research on the gamer market. We wanted to know where gamers go to view content.
They didn’t go to TechCrunch, as expected, but rather we found them reading Reddit and watching YouTube. That’s where they would see this content.
“Our strategy was to actually launch the campaign on social media before pushing it out to the media. Then the media picked it up because it was going viral on social. So there are instances where social comes first for us. All campaigns will have some social aspect to it.”
There was a campaign that we did and called the Dream Summer Job. This was basically a job application where people can test out hot tubs, infinity pools, and spa treatments. The client was looking for people to sign up for it. It’s the perfect job to apply for, but you had to apply through Instagram and engage on the platform. It turned out to be the perfect shareable story on social media and for a host of media publications like The Mirror.
I think we generated around 700,000 impressions for the campaign. We drove about 10,000 people to the website purely from Facebook and Instagram. So yeah, most of our search lead digital PR campaigns have some sort of social aspect to it to make it go big.
Tips for graphic designers
As many of our visitors are graphic designers themselves, we asked Carrie to share some tips specifically for designers about bringing value to clients and positioning yourself as a prominent voice in the field.
Flat Icons: When working with clients, do you charge per project or do you ask a certain amount per month? You mentioned that it’s a lot of work that goes into each campaign, but you can’t always estimate how much work it’s going to be beforehand. How would you go about it?
Carrie: About 75% of our clients are on a retainer basis. They would pay a certain amount, every month, for 12 months. We can be flexible, however. Perhaps one month we’ll have one campaign running, but then the next month (because they’re continually paying), we can build a roadmap, but also be reactive and work on other campaigns for them.
If the client said they only want to do one project then they would need to wait around for one element to be able to go ahead. Whereas with a retainer, you can be a lot more flexible.
You’ll say- whilst this campaign is in progress, we’ll come up with something else, and we’ll do this reactive piece. The majority of our clients are on a retainer basis. Then they’ll have consistent campaigns on a consistent basis.
Consistency is ultimately what brands need now. It’s not enough to do one campaign anymore, and then get good results, and then die off.
“Brands need consistent engagement from audiences and publications. They need people to talk about their brand. The more people talk about the brand they’ll get repeated links. That’s why a retainer is a much better and easier way to offer more value to your clients over time.”
Flat Icons: Graphic designers do client work most of the time and they seem to have a lot of trouble closing clients. To some, it would be really difficult to sell a 12-month retainer. Would you say in this case that paying per project basis could work better in order to test the retainer concept to clients?
Carrie: We do quite a lot of project type campaigns as well. For the Christmas Dinner campaign with our client GAME (Christmas Tinner Project), we worked on a project basis. They said they wanted to do it for Christmas, and test it out. And we’ve actually just signed them for 12 months now. They saw that it delivered amazing results and they wanted to continue getting great content from us.
I think that the biggest challenge for graphic designers is going beyond the visual content. When graphic designers create content – it’s like a tangible piece of work. But they’d usually pass that on to somebody else to promote. It’s actually the results of that piece of content that gets you more work.
I think it’s incredibly important for graphic designers to understand how to promote their piece of content. It should be good visually, but also shareable.
I’d recommend that they adopt a different type of mindset where they’re thinking:
“Okay, the way that I’m going to build a relationship with this client is to deliver more than just graphic design, but delivering results as well.”
They should understand how their content can be shareable. How it can work on social media, or how big publications could pick up their work as a piece to publish.
Flat Icons: Most graphic designers aren’t that great at marketing or aren’t sure how to go about it. Could you give us some more tips on how designers can market themselves better?
Carrie: I see a lot of graphic designers moving into the content marketing sphere and more are producing visual content to get picked up and through promotion. I think the best way to do that is showcasing your portfolio, but making sure that you also build your brand on social media.
If you have a specific skill set, whether that’s 3D design or CSS, you should own that on LinkedIn and Twitter and create your own prominent voice. Creating a community as I have on Twitter was the best way to build my own personal brand. I was the person sharing campaign results, sharing advice, and sharing tips. And I believe that graphic designers can do the exact same thing.
Creating a graphic design community on Twitter, where you’re not only showcasing your work but also other people’s work and inspiration, is definitely going to help you build your brand. People will see a designer sharing his/her work and immediately assume they know what they’re doing and position them as an expert in the field. So that’s my best piece of advice regarding marketing yourself as a graphic designer.
I’ve seen that Content Marketing in graphic design has significantly changed in recent years. Brand lead content isn’t as important anymore. So using brand fonts, brand colors, and brand design for content has become less attractive because it just looks too promotional.
I actually worked with a client called Lab Rocks a few years back and I produced this piece of content, and we put it out to the press and the press came back to me and they thought it was an advert when it was actually just a fun story.
The way that it was designed just looked too promotional. It looked too much like Lab Rocks. What we focus on now is creating stories outside of the brand. We don’t use the brand colors or fonts, but we connect the stories with what their audiences are interested in. This method works better than pushing the brand elements. It creates better results that drive more links.
Flat Icons: Would you say Twitter is a good avenue for thought leadership and establishing a community? What would you recommend?
Carrie: I think Twitter is a good place to be part of a community. That’s where a lot of people go to discuss things like that. But actually, Instagram is where most people go for Visual content.
From a graphic designer’s point of view – you’re selling something visual (Instagram), but you also need to communicate who you are as a person and offer tips and advice (Twitter).
Then there are also other useful platforms like Behance and Dribbble, which we use to share a lot of our work. We’ve also signed up on platforms like CSS Design and Awwwards – which recently drove up to 4000 people to our website. There are plenty of ways to promote your content and get your name out there.
We hope you’ve gained some insight from this phenomenally driven leader in the Marketing & PR Industry! Here’s what we’ve learned:
- You can gain massive success from looking at what you’ve already got; being resourceful, and quick on your feet.
- Don’t underestimate the power of PR – even if you’re in the creative field.
- If you’re a designer you should build your portfolio, creating communities on social media and fostering long-term relationships with clients.
- Harness the powers of social media.
- Don’t be afraid to show who you are and get things done!
You can follow Carrie and learn more about her here: