Search authority is the PR metric to track

Search authority is the PR metric to track

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Megan Duero

March 15, 2022 • 3 min read

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.

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