Fire Your PR Agency

Yep, fire them.

Traditional PR is for the birds. It’s 2015: You have Google, a phone, email, and Facebook. Congratulations, you can now add PR to your resume and stop shelling out thousands of dollars on a monthly PR retainer with little to no conversion metrics.

“But wait, I don’t have the contacts or relationships at the publications I want to be featured in.”

That’s ok. You don’t need that.

We want to show you how we took a budget of under $50 and got a brand featured on The Ellen Show,, BuzzFeed, Elite Dailly, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Travel, Mashable, AOL, Conde Nast, the Telegraph, and 100+ other mentions.

The brand we are mentioning is called, Camping With Dogs. It’s Parachute Media’s in-house brand that we turned into a business. Nothing like, “practicing what you preach!” Here’s how we took a $50 PR budget and got worldwide exposure.

Ryan Carter, founder of Camping with Dogs

Editors at BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, etc. are paid to create stories that resonate with their readers and subscribers. We used Facebook Ads to get in front of the people who are paid to come up with these stories. We also looked at the writing styles of these publications and we designed content just for them. You’re welcome, editors. We just lobbed up a softball for a home run swing. Your boss just gave you a high five and all you did was copy and paste. 

In the case of Camping With Dogs, we wanted to get their popular Instagram featured on BuzzFeed. Yea, that was our goal. So we created a blog post called, 25 Reasons Why Dogs Are The Best Camping Companions. This blog post has all the elements you would typically see in a BuzzFeed post but from our perspective. We gave the blog post some additional context and urgency by talking about the first ever National Camping With Dogs Day on September 5th.

We first posted the blog to the Camping With Dogs Facebook Page. Once the post got some steam, as seen below, we targeted people on Facebook by job title and employer.

Facebook metrics for Camping With Dogs

Waiting until the post had some vanity metrics was important. We wanted this to stand out in the feeds of employees we were targeting. Also, notice the vague but intriguing copy that went with the Facebook Post. Using something along the lines of, “#5 shocked everyone at the office,” is click-bait gold. It just works. Don’t ask why. Just do it the next time you want clicks.


Facebook metrics for Camping with Dogs

Our targeting was actually pretty large for this post. We included employees of REI and that took our audience size from 500 to 5,000. We ran this ad for 4 days using $10/day ad budget. Our total was $40.91, it reached 3,560 people, and 112 people clicked through to read the article. The ad stopped on August 17th.

The very next day we received this email

Email from Yahoo Travel about Camping with DogsThe article about National Camping With Dogs Day using our Instagram as reference was posted on Yahoo Travel on August 21st and the snowball continued to grow.

Over the next month, we were featured in every bucket-list viral publication you could imagine. We were even on the home page of sandwiched between Hillary Clinton and the Pope! Our Instagram account doubled in September from 68,150 to 136,642. We also sold out of just about every item in our little online store.

Camping with Dogs on The Today Show website

The best part is we made relationships with most of the editors at each publication. We now have everything that a top-tier PR agency has: the contact and the relationship. Remember that excuse we used at the beginning? “But wait, I don’t have the contacts or relationships at the publications I want to be featured in.” Follow what we did for Camping With Dogs and you can, too.

Not a bad $40 investment, eh?

How have you used social media as a PR engine?