Space race specialists enjoy soaraway media success after rocket test

by Raymond Notarangelo

Friday, May 29th, 2020

Skyrora sees its profile enjoy a massive lift-off, thanks to expert tech PR

 

Tech PR success story for rocket launch company, Skyrora

SPACE launch specialist Skyrora hit a new high after its latest successful rocket launch test scored a massive blitz of media coverage and digital reach.

The Scottish based rocket development company announced the UK’s first complete ground rocket test in 50 years.

And that story went viral in the news cycle, thanks to work of Holyrood PR in Scotland. Our PR campaign to reveal the successful test secured:

  • 340 items of coverage, reaching nearly 19 million people
  • Major mentions on both BBC and STV news websites
  • High profile social engagement from space influencers – UK Space Agency, British Interplanetary Society and the Head of UK Space Directorate.
  • A 1500% spike in Skyrora web traffic

The PR campaign also provided a valuable boost to Skyrora’s social media channels, as we worked with the firm to make sure it amplified news of the successful test.

That was a fitting recognition of how Skyrora’s team built a mobile launch complex in the Highlands and arranged a full, static fire test of its Skylark-L rocket in only five days.

Tech PR - Skylark L rocket being tested at Kildermorie Estate by Skyrora

Working closely with Skyrora we made sure its social media activity would complement the mainstream, broadcast and online media attention on the landmark event. The results on the rocket firm’s social channels and website were stellar:

  • Website traffic spiked by 1500%  (week-on-week) on the day the media release was issued.
  • The firm’s Tweet about the test became Skyrora’s top tweet with over 163,000 impressions and 15,305 engagments
  • Twitter activity also yielded 50,000 videos views – and attracted 1100 new followers
  • Skyrora’s Instagram post to accompany the media release reached 2,000 people, garnered 3,000 impressions and gained 50 new followers
  • The firm’s Facebook post supporting the media release reached more than 400,000 people, received nearly 82,000 engagement, 67 shares and 41 comments.

Although difficult to quantify exactly, the coverage and digital success helped Skyrora to gain a profile advantage over key rivals in its highly competitive sector, particularly in terms of reputation and brand. Those are particularly important factors as it looks to win more investment and take the company to its next development phase.

What’s more, all of this profile-raising success came at time when the Coronavirus lockdown was almost the only topic of discussion on the streets and in the media, proving to be a major impediment. Ask any business analyst or marketing expert on what companies should focus on during a crisis like the Coronavirus pandemic and they’ll tell you: do whatever you can to maintain a strong profile and to safeguard your reputation, as these are the factors that will ensure you come through the crisis in the best possible shape.

That’s where our Scottish public relations agency comes in.

Skylark L ready to be tested at Kildermorie Estate, image takjen at night, with the rocket suspended on the mobile launching platform

In this case, we did not have as much time as usual to plan the media announcement as we usually would. Despite that, we put in place a finely-tuned campaign plan, particularly focusing on how the story should be pitched to the media.

While the story itself was heavy on technical details and engineering specs, we finessed the messaging in our pitches to make sure it was incredibly media friendly.

We also immediately seized on the value of having excellent videos of the rocket test, knowing just how much interest this would generate for broadcast and digital-based media.

From there, the easiest option might have been to issue a generic release to a database of anonymous journalists. However, this “spray-and-pray” approach is rarely a success, especially during lockdown when many target journalists were out of their usual office environment while working from home.

It was imperative to immediately secure their attention by highlighting this was more than just a techncial story for rocket geeks, but actually a massive step forward for Britain’s new space race. So we targeted individual writers and journalists as well as the most relevant news titles. And we crafted bespoke messages to ensure the news values was instantly grasped.

We also leveraged our contacts with the biggest, most influential, trusted and far-reaching media outlets. That included negotiating a national “exclusive” with the Press Association, which delivered huge, extensive, UK-wide coverage.

Likewise, we made sure we delivered or approach with the same passion to the BBC as we did to regional media in Edinburgh (where Skyrora are based) and in Ross-shire (the area in the Scottish Highlands where the successful test took place).

Just to prove this was no fluke or one-off result, it came just a few months after a similar success for Skyrora. News about the firm’s successful test in Rosyth of its liquid-fuel engines reached an audience equivalent in size to a sixth of the entire UK population. In that case our media campaign generated more than 60 items of coverage, including Yahoo and Forbes magazine.

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    Holyrood PR Photography Shoot

    Raymond Notarangelo

    Raymond Notarangelo, co-founded Scottish PR agency, Holyrood PR after spotting a gap for colourful and innovative public relations in Edinburgh. He now leads a team providing media relations, social media, video, photography, brand newsrooms, crisis communication and media relations.

    View Raymond's Profile

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