As the post-pandemic world unravels, SEO agencies discover new opportunities to have strategic conversations with their clients and different modes of bringing new business.
This context creates more room for creativity as well. Agencies can be both problem finders and problem solvers, having the relevant market data in their hands and the knowledge to use that for their clients’ business optimization.
One avenue to showcase data and underline more than your SEO value to both existing and potential clients is that of building media engagement. Through media, your content gets amplified and, as you already do for your client portfolio, you can now do for your agency: get coverage and build a stronger brand presence.
It’s a strategic move that can further build the case for your agency as an advisor for businesses as a whole, beyond just designing and implementing campaigns.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll be looking at:
- Reasons to reposition your SEO agency as an advisor/management consultant for your clients.
- Types of publishers and why SEO agencies should build consumer analyses for them, specifically.
- How to use Year over Year search data and market trends for media coverage (+ examples).
Why should you reposition your SEO agency as a business advisor?
You’re probably assessing risks already or maybe you’ve already built a more consultative role for your SEO agency: no matter where you’re at in this journey, the pandemic brought the opportunity to do more of what consultants do. So why not use this unique advantage?
Having volumes of data from different industries and the knowledge to understand shifts in demands, plus their changing trends, means you are able to support your clients with their overall business. You can help them identify where to focus their resources, where to pivot their business, where to include new products and services, and even how to move from offline to online more and more.
And that implies being the catalyst for these consultative conversations, while you proactively make use of those data sets.
For instance, Upswing, a highly-focused 30+ person SEO agency, created personalized client dashboards from the start of the crisis, to understand how their clients struggled and where they could intervene with short-term solutions. Found, another award-winning digital growth agency, observed news publishing trends to identify hidden opportunities for clients in sectors such as health or tech and supported the business to capitalize on them.
It’s a good approach to dive deeper into a client’s business and find blind spots that you can address. Clients still need relevant data as the markets continue to evolve in the “new normal”. Don’t wait for them to ask you for these reports and recommendations.
But what happens with all the data you have when it comes to generating new business?
How to use search insights and consumer data for different types of publishers
A 2020 Content Marketing Institute study discovered that out of 230 agency respondents, 76% have a content marketing strategy of their own and 71% focus on their audience’s needs, prioritizing informational content over sales content. Besides, 76% use paid content distribution channels to further their materials.
These percentages show the competition is already high, as agencies know the exposure game all too well.
So in this context, it’s even more important to find a different, exciting angle to present your data and do your outreach just as consistently. It’s also another argument on how your industry knowledge underlines your power as an advisor to your existing and potential customers.
Consumer analyses are a winning factor in highlighting relevant data according to your expertise, allowing you to present general market trends, consumer behaviour insights or go as granular as you need to for a certain segment.
And they make good press release material.
Of course, you need to think about the publications you’re targeting, as they will have different audiences and editorial policies:
1. General, yet highly read publications
If you’re targeting news outlets that can amplify your message across a varied audience and have a prestige factor associated with them, then you’ll have to emphasize macro trends across industries.
In our Search Trends after COVID-19 free tool for SEO agencies, for instance, you can navigate to the Industries tab and analyze exploding and tanking trends, based on search volumes for Travel, Education, eCommerce, Restaurants and so on:
You can also think about analyzing business trends and general consumer behaviours for a certain market. Just like Rock Kitchen Harris did for the UK market, taking as a guiding lens the change in online learning behaviour: from wellbeing to baking or learning new languages.
Why focus on this type of publication?
Getting coverage on general, yet highly read publications has various benefits that are highly relevant in today’s context:
- It will enhance your reputation to different audiences that you’re interested in or that can amplify your message.
- It will convey the brand message you want and reinforce your narrative.
- It will support your business development efforts with media validation.
2. General marketing-related publishers
In order to appeal to marketing-related publishers, you need to start going in-depth. Think about their audience (mostly marketing, business development and sales people) and their particular sets of problems to be solved. What kind of insights are these people searching for?
You can find a specific topic that tackles the pandemic impact on marketing practices:
Hubspot made all their consumer data available to show how sales and marketing behaviours shifted and how, for example, marketing emails are on the rise in most analyzed industries.
Knotch, on the other hand, analyzed how content publishing changed after COVID-19 across industries, type of content generated and so on.
In Search Trends after COVID-19 that point can be made analyzing how trending or exploding niches look in a given month, niches being understood as websites on which the ranking keywords had the biggest shifts in search trends. It’s a way to highlight how consumers change their demands on specific categories that influence strategic marketing decisions for the short term.
Using the Year over Year trend (May 2020 vs. May 2019), Search Trends helps you underline dramatic numbers for a certain niche and create relevant case studies for the marketing-related publications.
Why focus on this type of publication?
Being featured in marketing-related media brings, besides validation and reputation enhancement, exposure to your potential clients:
- You get direct exposure to marketing people and brands that can become your clients.
- You can leverage this type of media to target potential clients with specific messages, reinforcing your SEO agency positioning.
3. Industry publications
This type of publisher is the one we, at SEOmonitor, experimented most with. From our own experience, we could observe a much higher influencing power on such platforms compared to our owned channels, as here is where your core audience can be.
You’ll be able to showcase your relevant business data, present interesting case studies and offer helping ideas to weather the COVID-19 storm.
So think about what industries are you most knowledgeable about. Maybe you have a set of clients in your portfolio that feed your insights perfectly for a specific category. Maybe you’re targeting a specific category for leads. Or maybe you discovered a new point to make regarding a specific trend, using in-depth category analysis of specialized websites and their ranking correlated keywords.
That’s what we did with our research on how SEO agencies adapted and changed the ways they were doing business during the pandemic. We wanted to better understand our clients and share those insights with other SEO agencies in their position. What resulted was a part case-study, part analysis on ways that an agency 2.0 can be born, using a mixed set of tools and tactics.
After publishing the report we went and used our own paid marketing channels. We’ve seen 3 times higher CTRs compared with content published on our Library, which is a finding that supports the strategy above.
Why focus on this type of publication?
Industry media coverage helps your agency target a specific set of clients as the publication is already well positioned:
- You can leverage that certain niche in your business development efforts if you know that’s how you want to extend your portfolio.
- Industry validation brings with it a certain type of narrative for your SEO agency, so the existing and potential clients will know you’re quite versed in that particular segment.
From consumer analyses to business development
Why use search data to gain media exposure as an SEO agency?
As we’ve seen so far, looking at industry data and the way demand changed once the outbreak hit helps in various ways:
- Better understand general and specific market trends for your agency clients. Which implies adjusting strategies accordingly, with short-term tactics for higher impact.
- Showcase expertise and spread that knowledge to general and niche media. Which implies deciding what data you want to analyze and what matters most in terms of findings.
- Strengthen your agency brand and be top of mind for various target audiences. Which implies a different way of generating awareness and maybe capturing leads.
Of course, that also means adapting your resources in order to uncover the most relevant insights for your industry reports: using both your content team and your SEO specialists to create and spread that knowledge.
It’s a significant internal effort and a risk during uncertain times, but it’s also a strong approach in terms of potential ROI. That’s why we continued developing Search Trends after COVID-19. To support you with this effort and optimize for time spent on gathering useful data: you get top insights on industries, niches, and topics, from our own research, and you can explore exploding and tanking trends based on your desired websites or keywords. More billable hours to focus on great content and efficient tactics.
Furthermore, your studies could inform the content you present in your pitching process and sales calls. Or maybe it becomes a part of your resource centre: gated content that supports your potential clients discover more about your approach. And helps you drive your new business into specific industries and markets.
In the end, the effort is worth it if it feeds your business development and strategic conversations.