Transatlantic collaboration: raising the profile of The Search Agency
Building an expert voice and boosting a fellow agency’s pipeline.
The Search Agency is one of the largest and fastest growing integrated online marketing agencies in the US, with a global reach.
In the UK, The Search Agency competes with a plethora of rivals in a crowded and often confused industry. SEO agencies are constantly speculating on how to beat competitors for prominent search engine placements – meaning that you see often contradictory advice, with no clear policy to some topics available or agreed upon.
The UK agencies also find themselves beholden to Google, with the market completely driven by the search behemoth’s agenda. In May 2014, 89% of UK web searches went via Google, with Bing (5%) and Yahoo (3%) languishing behind. In other markets, such as the US, Google is less of a dominant force (60%), and the likes of Yahoo (17%) and Bing (15%) have more klout in driving the media agenda.
With a strong presence in the US, The Search Agency UK wanted to replicate its success in the UK with unique content that cuts through the noise. Press releases, case studies and new client wins are the communication norms for many agencies – so Firefly needed to help The Search Agency cut through this chatter to give it authority in the market.
With an impressive client pool but no client wanting to be named, Firefly tapped in to in-house expertise to create opinion-led stories, blogs and feature ideas to compete. Above that, Firefly also worked closely with the US and UK teams who produced a variety of thought leadership content, including a mobile report and a quarterly ‘State of Paid Search Report’.
The Search Agency UK and Firefly agreed upon a top 10 list of target publications where SEO buyers are likely to hang out. Once key messages and targets were agreed, The Firefly team began hijacking breaking news stories, events and topics, whilst also developing and selling reports into the media.
For a modest investment, Firefly recommended a strategy of developing and creating branded reports, reacting to the changing media landscape. Firefly also focused on key topical issues, including the Google algorithm updates and Google news, such as the price comparison services and “The Right To Be Forgotten”.
Through leveraging the strong affiliation The Search Agency has with Google, Firefly helped to further build and develop relationships with influential journalists at key publications. One particular relationship with The Drum progressed into regular comments and pieces from Caragh McKenna, Group Account Director of SEO.
By working closely with US colleagues, Firefly also developed and shared knowledge in order to build a catalogue of insight pieces from both US and UK thought leaders.
As a result of insightful and topical reports, Firefly helped to secure regular coverage in 8 out of 10 key media publications frequented by SEO buyers including the likes of The Drum, eConsultancy and PerformanceIN – reaching in excess of two million marketing professional over three months. Key message penetration during this time on average worked out to be 64%.
In addition to achieving coverage in key trade press, Firefly also ensured national profiling coverage in The Independent and i newspapers, as well as Emerald Street. US-led content such as the State of Paid Search Reports also ensured quality coverage for The Search Agency in leading marketing publications.
As a result of this increased UK profile and awareness, Firefly helped to actively boost TSA’s sales pipeline.
Alex Campbell, Deputy Managing Director of The Search Agency UK, says: “The Search Agency UK has made another step change in the past year and this would seem to correlate with our increased exposure in the media. We see PR as being a significant contributing factor and it helps us develop a profile that reflects the expertise of our team.”