Company: Hark (Seattle, WA)
Campaign: Capturing the Presidential Election 2012
Duration: October 1 – November 10, 2012
Budget: less than $10,000
Hark.com is a platform that enables visitors to discover, create, play, and share sound bites. Last fall, the company clipped sound bites from the presidential election debates in real time and packaged them in Harkboards, a combination of infographic and sound board, to help generate influential media coverage, engage existing Hark users, and attract new users.
“People want to get the content easily and share it in a powerful way - cutting and pasting text is not engaging,” explains CEO Dave Aronchick. “[We wanted to] make users ecstatic and bring content together in a consumable way for media also looking for engaging content.”
PR manager Reid Wegley offered Mashable one-day exclusives on five Harkboards - one for each debate and one roundup of the top 10 most listened to election-related sound bites by Hark users.
“Mashable wanted the content and we wanted to get it out,” Wegley explains.
The New York Daily News wanted an exclusive after Mashable ran the first two Harkboards, and Mashable agreed to trim exclusivity to two hours.
Hark also promoted the Harkboards on its own channels. Press releases announcing the top 10 most-listened-to debate clips on Hark.com were issued immediately after each debate.Tactics
An outside graphic designer created each Harkboard ahead of the debates so the team was ready to embed the sound bites.
“Our entire team watched the debates live but remotely using a chat program,” Wegley says. “I pulled sound bites from the log transcript [in real time], and we tweeted them out once they were clipped. We had them all clipped and into the top-10-list form for a press release by 11 pm PT. The Harkboards were ready by 1 am at the latest.”
Links to each Mashable Harkboard were promoted on Hark's blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn properties.
Aronchick wrote two election-related posts for Huffington Post that included embedded sound bites.
Wegley reports at least five new Harkboard-related opportunities from organizations including movie and TV studios and professional sports leagues.
“Advertisers are looking to customize existing content so it's that much more viral,” Aronchick notes. “For us to build them a Harkboard, clip a movie trailer, or build a custom landing page are huge wins for them.”
A content licensing deal with AP was announced in early February.
Hark.com averages more than 3.5 million organic monthly visits. ComScore ranks it among the top 10 entertainment properties. Wegley says October traffic jumped to 6.1 million organic visits, according to comScore.
“Our media and SEO results improved greatly, and the largest percentage of new organic traffic from October 1 to December 1 came directly from this campaign,” Wegley says.
More than 1,400 placements were garnered in outlets including AP and GeekWire.
Wegley's team will look for ways to increase live clipping opportunities and begin pitching Hark's entertainment and business stories later this year.