Going Beyond the First Idea: Asking One Question and Earning 60+ Links Globally - Bottled Imagination Skip to main content

Hey up, welcome to another instalment of “Going Beyond the First Idea,” the series where we uncover the strategy behind the links. This week, we’re bringing an old PR tactic into the digital age and making it work for search and social. Yep, it’s a good old juicy interview with high-end talent.

Our brief with our client was simple: Earn highly relevant links and coverage back to the website whilst creating brand awareness on social media.

We did it with just one question. You’re going to want to read on…

Coming up with the tactic

Our goal was to leverage a high-profile interview to generate buzz and secure links. Interviews have been earning coverage for years before any digital PR agency came about. Our client wanted to talk about sports, and who better to speak on the subject than someone who reached the highest levels of the game?

Deciding on the Talent

Regardless of having the best opinion and the most knowledgeable answer, the person needs authority. (And this rings true in any industry you are working in.) Interviews can work in any industry and can serve as hero interviews or quick comments. If you are working within Law, a legal expert is your friend. If you’re working in big tech, the CEO is probably your go-to. Whoever you choose to interview or provide commentary, they need to have the authority to answer the questions and be senior or “important” enough to be interesting to the media.

Interviews have become a consistent tactic within our arsenal as an agency. From our B2B clients to our medical and sporting clients, they work well, are time efficient, and can be planned to be relevant now and in the future. (Yep, we’re talking about comment banks.)

For us, our client was in the sports niche. They wanted to appear in relevant sports media, but for sports specifically, you really need an expert. With the number of sports stars out there and the amounts of pundits and columnists already talking, a comment from a client would never cut through the noise or be seen as important enough to get featured in the media. Sports is one of those strange niches where every journalist is already an expert, and the news changes every single week. To get our client involved in the current media conversations, we needed to add to them with someone whose opinion consumers would value. But sport is a big niche, and you need to niche down within that. The tactic of interviews can be applied to every specific sport. Of course, some sports have more widespread appeal than others. But every sport has its own niche publications, where you can get your client featured and earn highly relevant niche links. But this was our first interview, and we wanted to swing big. Football is arguably the most press-worthy sport out there; it has loads of football-specific publications but also draws appeal from bigger nationals.

Step up, Michael Owen.

To make big swings with football, we needed someone with broad appeal, both historically and in current conversations, so we zeroed in on Michael Owen. Given his illustrious career, spanning multiple clubs and the international stage, we knew he’d have the gravitas to make waves. He’s also someone who is always in the media’s eye, being a regular face on BT Sport as a pundit. He was known by older generation football fans but also younger fans who may not have seen him play. If you like football, you know about Michael Owen.

Authority? Tick.

How We Come Up with Questions to Earn Media Attention

Scheduling an interview is one thing, coming up with questions that will actually earn media attention is another. As we’ve said before, sports is full of very passionate people who know a lot about the news. Generic questions won’t cut through.

To come up with questions that will get press attention, we start by thinking about what topics are hot in the media and what our interviewee can speak to with authority and interest.

For Michael Owen, the topics included:

  • Career Highlights: Questions about his time at different clubs (Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United) and his international career with England.
  • Football Economics: Topics around money within football, such as player wages, transfer fees, and the financial state of the sport.
  • Current Football Topics: Questions about recent results or newsworthy moments, including opinions on his old playing clubs and international football.
  • Pop Culture and Media: His thoughts on the intersection of football and media, including social media’s impact on the sport.
  • Personal Insights: Questions about his life post-retirement, his ventures outside football, and personal anecdotes that would resonate with fans.

Of course, the list doesn’t stop there, but we also think of media first: how we get in certain publications by asking questions they would want answers for.

  • National Publications: Broad topics that appeal to a wide audience, such as money in football, iconic moments in his career, and comparisons to current stars.
  • Football Sites: In-depth football discussions, tactics, player dynamics, and his opinions on current football trends.
  • Regional Sites: Specific questions about his time at local clubs, such as his experiences at Newcastle United, would interest regional readers.

But this blog isn’t about interviews in general; it is about the singular question that drove the media wild.

He’s a legend in football, and with the ongoing discussions around player transfer fees—especially the eye-watering figures linked to players like Kylian Mbappé in 2022—we saw a golden opportunity.

We thought, “What if we asked Michael how much he thought he’d be worth in today’s transfer market?” It was a question bound to stir debate. And in PR, controversy and conversation are our best friends.

But even if you have the most press-worthy question, you need a press-worthy answer. And although most talent is highly media trained to avoid answering some questions, we got our silver bullet.

Michael’s answer? “More than Mbappé.”

This response was pure dynamite. It split opinions right down the middle—older fans who remembered Michael at his peak versus younger fans who know him primarily as a pundit (exactly as planned). The debate took off, with social media ablaze and conversations flowing in the press.

To maximise impact, we created a series of social content pieces around the interview. But the story took on a life of its own regardless. The one question sparked over 5 million social impressions and earned us more than 60 links globally, from some of the highest authority football and sports publications.


Reflecting on the campaign, it’s clear that asking the right question at the right time can get results. By tapping into a hot topic and pairing it with a high-profile personality, we turned a simple interview into a global talking point.

This campaign not only earned us valuable links but also created significant brand awareness on social media. It’s a testament to the power of blending traditional PR tactics with modern digital strategies.

And remember, sometimes all it takes is one well-timed question to go beyond the first idea.

Stay tuned for our next instalment and make sure you check out the full case study