Ignore bloggers at your peril when running PR campaigns!

6 September 2010 By Northern Lights

Ignore bloggers at your peril when running PR campaigns! image

BarcelonaGuest interview with Lee Hicken, Hebe Media

Hebe Media ran a very successful social media campaign for Marketing Leeds in Barcelona earlier this year.  We’re always on the lookout for good case studies for our clients, so Lee Hicken kindly agreed to be interviewed for our blog.

Key points to note are

  • Bloggers are now a key media in their own right – and can be as influential as newspapers, magazines, radio
  • Social media is not just ‘virtual’ – there is still a place for meeting people
  • Traditional media are increasingly following bloggers for story ideas
  • Just like any PR campaign, social media is part of the mix, not an overnight wonder and takes time to build significant results


1. What was behind this social media campaign?

Marketing Leeds went to Barcelona in March 2010 to promote Leeds on a number of fronts including Leeds Legal, Financial Leeds, Conference Leeds – and also the digital, fashion, music, art and food scenes.  These last were the focus of our campaign.

We targeted the younger, creative market and set some goals for our work.  When you are doing something like this it’s always difficult to know what’s achievable, but we wanted to

–        Introduce Leeds to opinion leaders in Barcelona

–        Create collaborations between the cities

–        Showcase Leeds on an international platform

–        Create connections between the digital communities of each city

–        Raise awareness and communicate with Leeds opinion leaders

2. How did you target key bloggers in Barcelona?


We were looking for quality, independent, opinion leaders.

A lot of our team are already reading blogs in the fashion and creative markets, so these went on our hit list.  We analysed other bloggers as to who was influential by the number of people following them on Twitter, number of fans on Facebook and so on.

I studied at the Institute of Design in Barcelona so also asked old students for their views.   The list included

–        LeLook (Spanish)

–        Fashion Freaks (English and Spanish)

And some underground fashion trend blogs

–        Ithunter.org (English and Spanish)

–        Stopstealingmylook.com (English)


3. Tell us more about the bloggers’ events in Barcelona and Leeds?

We did two events – a social evening in Barcelona at a really cool hotel – very informal, no presentations.  We did really interesting photography at this event – of people walking in as if they were celebrities!

Leeds-Lee-HickenWe then invited these contacts back to Leeds and asked the bloggers to collaborate on a photo shoot of Leeds and its fashion scene.  We found an interesting venue – Templeworks in Holbeck – and left all the styling to the bloggers.

What they really loved was the Leeds vintage scene – of course, vintage is big in Barcelona too.  They liked Headingley, the Victoria Quarter and Briggate.


4. What results did you get from the social media campaign?

We had

–        31 online pieces about the event

–        6 blog posts on the Guardian website

–        Substantial social network presence – Facebook and Twitter

–        Potential reach 500,000+

–        Excellent collaboration

–        Leeds featured on Spanish TV debate about vintage fashion

–        Independent relationships established

Lee-HickenMarketing Leeds was delighted – especially with the relationships now growing between digital and fashion in both cities.

And shops in Barcelona are now stocking Leeds’ designers – that has to be a great outcome?!

5. What are your tips for a social media campaign?

People think that social media is quick and low cost.  But I can’t stress enough how important research and planning is.  Both to find the right people, get the events right and test out our ideas and brainstorm the approach initially.

The end events felt relaxed and spontaneous – but that’s only because of the hours of preparation we put in first.


6. And if you had your time again, anything you would do differently?

I’d like to have spent more time researching bloggers – to get more variety.  Ideally we would have targeted bloggers writing about travel, food and music.

But there is never enough time or budget to do everything you would like!


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Written by Northern Lights

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