Case Studies
January 20, 2023

How We Put ADV in front of 53M Customers

Hey, can we promote you this December?" - Jack (Propeller). "Ahh, who are you?" - Peter (ADV). This is how it started... And this is how it's going. "Hey to be transparent, our first featured article generated over 350 orders in the first three days" - Peter. So let me tell the story of how we got ADV on Tom's Guide.

The Set Up

ADV started working with Propeller in December 2022. We reached out to promote their consumer electronic brand for a grand slam at Christmas. But ADV wasn't the perfect brand. They weren't launching any new products. They didn't raise a huge amount of venture capital. And they aren't building technology that "changes how the future will look". Frankly, they didn't hit any of the headlines you see in business news.

NEWS FLASH: Most businesses NEVER do, and NEVER need to: to land killer PR results.

Counter to popular belief: You can land MILLIONS of media impressions by being you. There's no such thing as a perfect time or perfect client. It sounds corny but it's true, we just need to find something interesting about you.

So we started "Finding ADV's Wedge". Finding their wedge is our method of finding and stacking all the interesting bits about them. Their wedge answers the two biggest questions journalists and writers have:

  • What is interesting?
  • Why is this interesting now?

Answering this is key to hooking a journalist or writer to your brand. From our discussions we landed on two strong hooks:

  • Cool Tech - They released an app that scans your inner ear for their custom-fit headphones.
  • Customer hype - Their customers are raving about their memory foam earbud tips

Next, we wrote content around their wedge. For a traditional news outlet, this looks like a press release. For a digital outlet, it looks more like a blog article. In any case, the wedges are scripted with messaging that appeals to the targeted media outlet. But before we jump to the targeted outlets, we needed to understand who their audience is.

An Audience

The audience is your customers or the customers you want. For ADV's memory foam earbud tips, the audience is AirPod Pro owners. More specifically it's AirPod Pro owners who want better-performing headphones or have issue with fitting the factory silicone tips. Over a few coffees, we came up 3 personas:

  • Audiophiles - The techie folks obsessed with sound products to the point of concern. You have a dad or uncle like this.
  • Apple Heads - Anyone who drinks Apple's Kool-Aid and tells you to buy a $2000 phone after your Android has a minor glitch.
  • Gadget Junkies - The function over fashion people that carry a pocket flashlight because "that damn phone light isn't bright enough for anything".

All personas have one unique focus related to ADV's product. They also share a common theme, "it's not good enough, I need to upgrade."

Targeted Media Outlets

Next was to determine where these audiences spend their ATTENTION DOLLARS. We do this by matching their personas to categories of outlets, each with a different size and focus.

1. Underground Kings: These are niche audiences, that get deep into a subject. These websites tend to have 5 million or less monthly visits, and strong credibility with their audience but are unrecognizable to the general public. For example, 9To5Mac is an outlet focused on only Apple. They get approximately 4.4 million monthly visits and are unknown if you aren't an Apple Head.

  • SoundGuys - Monthly Traffic: 2.8M, Domain Authority: 61
  • 9to5Mac - Monthly Traffic: 4.4M, Domain Authority: 91
  • Engadget - Monthly Traffic: 5.4M, Domain Authority: 93

2. Rising Stars: Are the underground kings, 10 years later. They have expanded their content focus and have grabbed hordes of attention doing it. They focus on a specific category but don't own a niche within the category. Their audiences range from 10M to 80M monthly visitors but they still aren't recognizable by most non-enthusiasts. Results from these outlets can be massive and for ADV they were.

3. The Popular Kids: The popular kids get all the attention and fame. They generate +100 million monthly visits but make no mistake. They make a bunch of noise. A bunch of noise that isn't relevant to you but for that split second of exposure; it could change your business forever.

  • Forbes - Monthly Traffic: 240M, Domain Authority: 95
  • CNN - Monthly Traffic: 248M, Domain Authority
  • New York Times - Monthly Traffic: 273M, Domain Authority: 95

These categories exist for every eCommerce brand. There are small focused audiences that are prequalified to buy your product. There are huge generalist audiences that generate 100M impressions in a month. Our approach is to aim for the middle ground, fulfilling short-term outcomes, while gaining traction toward long term goals.

Climber going up a wall

Counter to popular belief: PR is a ladder, not a lottery. With each media placement, your likelihood of more media placements by bigger outlets goes up.

Our Results

We systematically campaigned ADV's content wedge to Underground Kings and Rising Star. After brainstorming 2 wedges, creating 3 personas, doing outreach to 182 contacts, creating 7 discussions, and shipping 2 product samples: we landed an article in Tom's Guide. This is a huge win for us and ADV. It's an audience of 53M consumer electronics readers and is one of the most trusted review sites in the USA.

"Our first featured article generated over 350 orders in the first three days, and as a bootstrapped business, profitability is key. Propellers managed to deliver us short-term ROI while also demonstrating the potential for long-term compounding value in order to become the industry leader.” - Peter Yoon, President of ADV.

The value

Now let's break down these results into measurable value:

  • Major sales for 3 to 5 days: 350 orders (or ~$10K in sales). This is awesome because now for ADV it's profitable to work with us. We aren't an abstract investment they're making for their brand's future; we are a revenue stream. Sales from the article will only last for a short period of time before the article gets buried by other content the outlet publishes. This is normal and is why we keep going.
  • Increasing ranking in Amazon product listing. Now anyone searching for a product like ADV's on Amazon will see their product sooner. This is a compounding value that has the potential to increase sales velocity in that channel, forever.

And less measurable value:

  • The number of article impressions: 100,000 to 1,000,000 potential customers scrolled and swiped past ADVs brand. This awareness might help reduce their customer acquisition cost on Facebook, it might help them get into a retail store, or help their landing page convert more sales. While it's easy to measure the impressions of an article, it's difficult to measure the value of those impressions.
  • Brand positioning: Getting recognized by a popular trusted source of information on products helps ADV stand out from the competition. If you're selling on a marketplace like Amazon, it's REALLY hard to stand out. If your product category is littered with cheap knockoffs and competitors, it's REALLY REALLY hard to stand out. But if you're product page has articles by trusted outlets on it - it's much easier for customers to choose you and pay more for you.
Mr Crabs showing in money

And the best part? We are just getting started. This is our first big win of this campaign, and we haven't even turned up the boosters.

Landing results like this don't happen every day, and it takes time. Yet, over a few weeks and a few months, the value compounds like a snowball. In the blink of an eye, you can become the leader in your product category. Digital PR can differentiate you from your competitors, build brand value, increase customer trust, and drive sales. So the next time you're choosing to buy memory foam earbud tips, there are 100 products to choose from, which is going to be:

  • The one you've seen reviewed on SoundGuys, featured in Tom's Guide, and mentioned by Forbes.
  • Or the other one.

You're call.