Search authority is the PR metric to track

Here’s the thing. If you’re going to hire a PR agency, you need to be asking them about the quality of the results that they can secure – and quality should be measured by your share-of-voice on a specific topic in the outlets that your prospects and clients are reading. We call that search authority. And, while it may sound like the most obvious of brand marketing tactics, it’s often overlooked in favor of more results – even if they aren’t painting a cohesive picture.

This approach shows up in the context of paradigm shifts, or good-old-fashioned debunking of conventional wisdom that we’ve seen happen over and over again across a bevy of industries. Uber saw individuals’ cars as resources and became more ubiquitous than taxis. Professional baseball, courtesy of Billy Beane, began to rely on players’ stats over physical appearances, a move that led to wins. Scion Capital bet against the housing market – despite major outrage from clients and significant premiums – and made billions. All of these successes came because someone saw what appeared to be a small bump in their industry’s road and leaned into it – ultimately changing how business is done. They’re students of paradigm shifts and alpha. And that education begins with learning about and seeing into one core idea better than anyone else.

Imagine that you’re the GP of a private equity firm focused on AI for healthcare. Yes, you likely have enough industry knowledge to comment on a host of topics: healthcare innovation, broad investment trends, the impact of the fluctuating economy on valuations and scalability, etc. While those are all important things that are worth addressing, you have to tie them to a common theme, one that will give you, and your company, a leg up in search results – and a consistent message across all published materials.

Identifying that topic or phrase can be a challenge. It requires you to boil down everything you do and everything your company stands for into a few words. Maybe, for the aforementioned PE example, you use “AI-driven healthcare investing” or “financing healthtech AI” or “AI-first health investing.” Yes, they’re wordy and often not phrases that roll off the tongue. But they’re phrases that allow you to build a following and to own a specific topic. They’re phrases that can be built into placed articles, and blog posts, and LinkedIn content, and even published interviews when thought leaders have been trained to use them effectively. Because of that, they become closely associated with your brand whenever anyone searches it.

Search authority is step one. Creating those results isn’t going to automatically bring in new business or initiate organic growth. Sales teams need to be armed with this language in the same way that the thought leaders who are writing the contributed articles and being interviewed are. It becomes a company-wide effort to integrate this search authority-driven phrase or topic into everyday conversations so that prospects and clients think of you as the company who knows everything about X. You’re the one to go to for work in that sector. You’re the one who relentlessly addresses and owns this space and has the content to prove it.

Curious to hear more about our approach to search authority and how we might be able to help you achieve it? Reach out to us here.


Why we hate sponsored impressions

I’m sure there’s a rule against writing LinkedIn articles in anger.

This article doesn’t follow that rule.

If members of your team, or your marketing partner are paying for sponsored LinkedIn posts, please ask them the following. Why are they sponsoring those posts specifically? And on what organic metrics are they basing their decisions?


When we start marketing engagements with clients, one of the very first things we do is examine what LinkedIn posts have garnered the most impressions, and the general trendline on impressions (are they going up, down, or around).

If clients have engaged in sponsored posts in the past, that clouds what we can see in terms of how their network is responding to what they’re sharing. We’re not against paid promotion of content or social media. But we like to know what we’re putting dollars behind before amplifying it.

Organic impressions, what folks saw and engaged with, because friends and colleagues reacted and shared gives us a clearer picture of what an audience is interested in from our client, why they like it, and from whom they like to get it.

Too often we’ll look back into a client’s LinkedIn history and see posts that seem to have done remarkably well and are exemplars of good content, only to see that we’re looking at sponsored impressions, and the organic impressions tell a different story.

If anything, this post is directed to the super smart folks at LinkedIn who have on one one hand, made it a lot more challenging for marketers to work on LinkedIn than other social platforms. But on the other, that has meant that people from our tribe have not watered down the content that’s shared by our manipulations. LinkedIn interactions are more authentic, which is excellent.

However, in part to allow for that authenticity perhaps, LinkedIn makes it difficult to more easily see how posts perform organically, you have to do extra work to see it. The least amount of clicking, checking and work only shows you that if you spend more money, you reach more people… but to what end?

That’s why we often ask our clients to stop sponsoring posts after we engage with them, so we can get a cleaner picture of what’s going on. And because we can’t endorse where the money should be spent until we get a validated signal of what the money should be spent on.