Verve Search raises over £2,500 for the Felix Project
As the year comes to a close, we’d like to bring attention to an important charity and the huge achievements our team has made on their behalf.
In 2021, Verve Search began a new charity initiative to raise money for the Felix Project.
What is the Felix Project?
Founded in 2016, the Felix Project tackles both the issues of wastage in the food industry and hunger in London by redistributing surplus food from 539 suppliers (including supermarkets and restaurants) to hundreds of charities and schools across the capital.
According to the Felix Project, 1.5 million adults in London currently struggle to afford food, which also means 400,000 children are going hungry. We knew we had to do something to help this very important charity deliver food to those who are struggling.
Meeting our target
At the beginning of the year, we set a target of £2,000, and we organised four fundraising events to help us reach it:
Virtual Cook-Along – To bring attention to the issue of the huge amounts of waste in the food industry, we got together on Zoom and learned together how to use leftovers to make a tasty meal.
Live Below The Line – We tried living off of just £1 a day for five days, teaching us how difficult it can be to live in poverty and barely make ends meet.
Vitality Big Half – Three brave souls ran the Vitality Big Half marathon, resulting in some very sore legs and some hefty donations.
Bake Sale – We organised a bake sale in our office and encouraged everyone to bake some delicious treats and raise money for a good cause too!
We surpassed our fundraising target
Not only did we have some fun and get to know our colleagues better with these events, but we raised an initial £2,091 for the Felix Project. OMG, our parent company, then rounded that amount off with another £500 donation, which brought the fundraising total for 2021 to £2,591!
To put that into perspective, a donation of £30 delivers enough food for 183 meals. That means our huge donation will help deliver 15,800 meals to those who really need them this Christmas.
We’re hugely proud of all the fundraising we’ve done this year for such an important charity, and hope to continue our efforts next year. If you’d like to donate to the Felix Project in the meantime, you can do so here.
Verve Search announces LOOKFANTASTIC and Canva as new clients
Verve Search is delighted to announce that we will be working with LOOKFANTASTIC in the Spanish and French markets, and Canva in the US market for the next 6 months.
LOOKFANTASTIC ES and FR will lean on Verve’s expertise to produce compelling content related to beauty and lifestyle that earns relevant, top-tier linked coverage in their respective European markets.
Canva will be working with Verve Search on two initial campaigns focussing on their business cards product page, with the aim of earning linked news coverage primarily in the US and Canadian markets.
The Verve team will spend the next month finalising content and outreach strategies that incorporate original, creative research on topics of interest for both clients’ audiences.
The strategy will focus on appealing to each brand’s most desirable and most read news publications in their chosen markets, including: Le Monde, Le Figaro, El Pais, El Mundo, MARCA, The Guardian and The Globe and Mail.
Watch this space for the very exciting creativity and links to come!
Interested in our content marketing and digital PR services? Get in touch.
outREACH Online: Q&A’s from our Expert Outreach Panel
Our expert outreach panel were a massive highlight of the outREACH Online Conference. The all female panel included Gisele Navarro, Carrie Rose, Ruth Barrett and Laura D’Amato. We were so fortunate to have them share their tips and experiences. So much was covered in the session that we were unable to get through all the questions asked by our audience.
Happily, these wonderful women took the time after the conference to answer your questions, so sit back, relax and take in some serious knowledge…
How do you forecast ROI when pitching campaigns?
Carrie Rose: Usually, we KPI on the following: Links (number of, traffic drive (organic not paid), and social shares) With our campaigns we have a process that delivers more than just links and therefore add KPIs for that. We base it off previous success – we know off the top of our head how many links we should expect based on the story, the angles, the outreach opportunities. We don’t KPI on number of followed/no followed links, revenue or organic traffic. Thats all out our hands (unless we run the whole marketing mix).
Ruth Barrett: We work backwards from an overall strategy and forecast, based on what we believe it will take to generate the results that the client wants, and in turn, the number of links we need to gain across the relevant sectors. The campaigns we deliver all depend on the allocated resource, the size of the campaign, the time being spent on the creation, the websites and publications it would be of interest to, the numbers of news hooks the piece has, and how long we plan to promote it for.
Laura D’Amato:We usually look at similar campaigns that we have done before to try to predict the results. We might not know exactly which journalist is going to cover it but we can replicate the outreach approach. On top of this, we make sure to have different potential headlines and stories so we can reach out to different journalists.
We also adapt our strategy for every client and every campaign depending on the current events happening in the media and in the world. For example, during the pandemic, it was harder to predict the ROI of a campaign due to journalists being asked to cover COVID-19 stories. On the other hand, we sometimes know of some events that will help with outreach. For example, when the Royal Wedding happened, we knew that our campaign about the royal family would get some good coverage.
I think you need a mix of experience and intuition to predict the ROI of a campaign and still, you can never be 100% sure.
Often, our clients feel obliged to get their PR team involved because we’ve used the term ‘PR’ and even more often those PR teams block us from doing link building in this way. How do you navigate digital PR conversations with a client’s PR team? I feel like I spend more time talking about what I do than actually doing it!
Gisele Navarro: We try to get as much information as possible off them beforehand: Can they put together a do-not-contact list for us? Are there any launches/campaigns they are working on that we need to be aware of to avoid overlap? What about anything they’ve got planned where we can support the message with our campaigns? Can we agree on a process for vetoing contacts that doesn’t require us to send target lists for sign-off every time?
We found that the more we can agree beforehand, the better as it reduces the back and forth once the campaigns are running.
Carrie Rose: This was the biggest barrier I faced in my previous role – we changed the use of the word PR to content marketing to show how we are different. We use it in all internal and external comms to prevent clash. The last thing we want is PR to be controlling our campaigns and content. However, more recently we’ve seen a shift in this. Where the power and control is in the digital PR/content marketings hands now.
Ruth Barrett:If a client has an internal PR team or external agency it’s vital that you help build a strong relationship with them. They can provide vital insight into the client, their customers and the business in general. I would ask to see their internal marketing plan to ensure there’s no overlap, and ask for their opinion on the campaigns you plan to create. You never know what great internal data or contacts they could provide to support it.
Laura D’Amato:The key is to build a relationship with the internal PR team of the clients. Early on, we try to arrange meetings with them to understand how they do their PR and what they are expecting from our work but we also remind them that we don’t have exactly the same goal. We are building links and therefore, we have completely different techniques than traditional PR. It is something that we explain from the very beginning, using case studies of similar clients we have worked with. From experience, a lot of people just don’t understand the difference.
Before launching a campaign, we prepare a short outreach strategy that we share with the PR team so they can have an idea of how we are going to approach journalists and the stories we are going out with.
It is important to remember that they have expectations and KPI’s too and it is normal for them to want to go out with a coherent brand message.
We have clients in so many different industries which means I’m often pitching very different journalists who specialise in different areas. I think this makes it a little more difficult to build strong relationships with them as there are not many who I pitch on a regular basis. What are your best tips for creating good relationships with journalists who you may not speak to regularly?
Gisele Navarro: I’ve got two simple tips for this, nothing flashy:
Tip 1: Don’t waste their time
A simple way to ensure you’re not wasting their time is to avoid pitching stories or content that you’re not at least 90% confident they will like to at least check out by themselves. Once they get back to you with questions or additional requests, do your best to be responsive and get all the information they need over to them quickly. Lastly, if you know that something they asked for is a no-go on your end, be open and honest about it – tell them and don’t string them along..
Tip 2: Remember their requests
If a journalist once told you that she needs images to be a certain size or that their site can’t host videos, make a note for yourself to ensure next time you keep those special considerations in mind from the get-go. It’s a simple thing that doesn’t cost you anything and will make a big difference to them.
Carrie Rose: Straight after sending them a story, follow them on twitter. They may recognise your name in their inbox and connect it to twitter. Follow their work, share their articles, like their posts. I have SO many friends online that I’ve never met before and this is the easiest way to create good relationships. But don’t come across spammy. Genuinely help them out and share their posts when they’re looking for stories or case studies, send them things they may need (rather than it being a one way relationship).
Ruth Barrett: I would follow them on Twitter and get a feel for the articles they write, their tone and the posts they share. Create lists on Twitter of the journalists in your target sectors, then using Tweetdeck you’ll have a stream on industry-specific articles and news to ensure you’re more informed before pitching to them.
Laura D’Amato: The only thing I can recommend here is to pitch the journalists good stories rather than to try to build relationships. I don’t think a journalist will take a story that he/she is not interested in just because you get along well. However, if you work on a good story and effective and relevant pitch, you have more chances to get people to cover your story.There are some other little things you can do though and that might help.
If you see that a journalist is active on Twitter and posts a lot of #journorequest, try to follow them and reply regularly.
Before starting your outreach, read the articles on the topic you are working on, it will only make it easier to write a good pitch.
Some journalists write on a lot of different topics, if you manage to become a point of reference for them, it will be easier to go back to them later on. For example, if you know one of your clients can give them relevant quotes or if you know they always need videos in their articles, etc.
How would you advise creating a bigger digital PR campaign with a small team (2-3)?
Carrie Rose: The number of people you have in a team shouldn’t matter, it’s all about how you think. Thinking bigger. Allocate each member a task/KPI something to own and think about what makes a campaign bigger? A social angle? Extra content to be used across other platforms?
Ruth Barrett:Delegate. Split out the tasks at hand and ensure everyone knows their role in the campaign. Communication is key. Make sure you’re not all pitching on mass together.
Laura D’Amato:If you are going to do a big campaign with a small team, you need to anticipate the time it will take you to produce your campaign (potentially analysing the data, designing or developing it) and make sure that you work on a topic that will still be newsworthy even if it takes you a bit longer than usual. There are a lot of evergreen topics that you can explore.
If you want to create a campaign around a topic that is timely, you can produce it in several steps and assets that you can outreach progressively.
Another solution is also to work with third parties like freelance designers or researchers… This obviously requires having a bigger budget.
Press releases – do you include in the first email or check interest before you send? And if so, attachment/ copy paste or link to press pack?
Carrie Rose: Always include the press release within the outreach email as the first email I send. Everything in one go – journalists don’t have time to waste. Make their lives easier (not harder).
Ruth Barrett:Some domains block attachments, plus it will take an absolute eon to send and be received. The end result is an annoyed journalist. Dropbox or WeTransfer are a great solution to this. Your Dropbox can contain everything a journalist needs to write the piece nicely signposted. Even better if you need to update any copy or visuals, it autosaves the latest file.
Laura D’Amato: My email serves as press release and I would never attach an extra document to avoid the email to end in the spam folder of the recipients. When sending the first email, I always make sure that the subject line and first sentences state clearly what the campaign is about and catch the interest of the journalist. Everyone in our team would tell you that we get the best results by getting straight to the point and stating the important information clearly in the body of the email.
What do you do if journalists ask for exclusivity on a piece?
Gisele Navarro:We’re always upfront and explain that we can’t offer exclusivity due to the nature of our campaigns. That being said, depending on where we are with the outreach, we might be able to halt promotion within a geographic region or a publishing vertical so that the journalist gets the exclusive for a set period of time. We also make a note for future reference reminding us to send stories to that journalist a week or two before we launch full promotion.
Carrie Rose: Give them exclusivity for 24 hours if its a good publication. As soon as their article goes live – push wide.
Ruth Barrett:Exclusives don’t really exist in the digital space like they used to. Once the piece is live, it’s no longer exclusive. If a journalist has asked for an exclusive I would find out how long they want it for. Anything over 48 hours I’d question, unless it’s a giant publication.
Laura D’Amato:If I don’t have leads yet, I explain that I have reached out to some journalists already but no one has picked up the story yet so I will hold off on outreach until they publish. I think it is important to give a deadline for them to publish before resuming outreach so they can plan accordingly and you don’t stop outreach for too long.
What’s your experience on sending emails with the attachments (the chain image on the subject line)? How do you fix this issue with people not trusting these types of emails?
Gisele Navarro:We embed images and GIFs into many of our emails in cases where showing the assets is important and never had issues with that. We do make sure images are no larger than 500px wide and we compress GIFs as much as possible to keep the file size low.
However, we don’t attach the press pack with all the assets into our emails as that could affect deliverability if it triggers spam filters or internal rules on email size set by the email administrator. Instead we use Dropbox Transfer so we can share a link for journalists to download all the assets on their end directly.
Carrie Rose:I put files and any attachments into dropbox folders – prevents it going into spam.
Ruth Barrett:As I mentioned before, don’t send attachments.
Laura D’Amato: I don’t recommend using attachments in email AT ALL as your email is likely to end up in the spam folder. There are a lot of platforms online to host your attachment like Dropbox or Google Photos and they are very easy to use both for you and the journalist.
Do you outreach as your agency or as the client?
Gisele Navarro: We’ve always promoted using our agency email addresses. It’s been almost 10 years now and we are confident that sticking to our @neomam.com address has allowed us to build hundreds of relationships with journalists and publications that now look forward to getting an email from our team.
Carrie Rose: As the agency – always.
Ruth Barrett: I’ve sent as the client in the past and it can work, but have gained better results being transparent about who I work for. It feels more natural and avoids any confusion.
Laura D’Amato: A bit of both, I don’t mention the agency except in my signature.
It is just really important to make clear that your client has created the campaign and this is why I always ask for a link and credit to the client’s website so there is no mistake.
In the UK it’s never been a problem as journalists work a lot with PR but I have noticed that for international outreach, you often have to explain the difference.
How many journalists are you addressing with a campaign on average?
Gisele Navarro: Our initial lists start with up to 70 sites and we expand upon it as the campaign develops based on what’s working and what’s not working. A final list could have around 200 contacts.
Carrie Rose: 300 ish (minimum).
Ruth Barrett:The number of journalists I contact would depend on the size of the campaign, the number of news hooks and how the campaign was going. I’ve gained national press from 150 emails before with no follow up emails, sometimes it just takes longer.
Laura D’Amato: As many as I think is relevant. It depends on how broad the campaign is. We can reach out to 300 journalists for a small asset or 1,000 or more for bigger ones with a lot of different angles. Very often, I will reach out to several journalists at one publication.
Do you have any tips for tracking down the right journalist to target?
Gisele Navarro: We always aim at finding journalists who:
Have covered the main topic or related stories in the past
Have worked with the format of our content (i.e. map)
Have written up stories based on content produced by other people
Have published content on the site within the last month
You might not be able to always find a journalist that meets the full criteria but the closer you can get to it, the stronger the contact.
We also make a point of finding alternative contacts who will fit one of those four points more than anybody else on the site:
A journalist that writes stories about similar topics more often than anybody else,
A journalist who has featured the format more often than anybody else
A journalist who covers stories based on PR-led campaigns more often than anybody else
A journalist who publishes content more regularly than anybody else on the site.
Carrie Rose: Get a list of 5 campaigns similar to yours and pull every media placement they landed. If they cover that, they will more than likely cover yours.
Ruth Barrett:Search for your target job title in Twitter and you’ll soon have a nifty list of journalists that have included it in their bio. If they haven’t included their email I’d recommend sending them a DM, pitching the campaign in one sentence, and asking for their email if they’re interested.
Laura D’Amato: I think it is important to have an analytical filter when you read the press to try to understand how the publications work and what they cover.
I always try to find the editors by using prospecting tools like Gorkana and then I will go on the publications I’m targeting and analyse different sections using keywords from my campaign. After this, I would search for the same keywords on Google to try and find less well-known sites.
Do you look at who has previously covered similar topics? Or by Job title on media databases?
Carrie Rose: Always similar topics – rarely by job title.
Ruth Barrett:Yes, Google News and Buzzsumo’s Content Explorer is great for looking at who’s recently covered a topic, and the traction it gained.
Laura D’Amato: I always try to start with the most relevant journalists and will go a bit broader if I think something would be interesting for a journalist but he/she doesn’t always write about the topic.
Would be great to know how many people you have working on those campaigns too please!
Gisele Navarro: We work in teams of two where one person is the lead for the campaign and another person supports with link reclamation/attribution requests.
Carrie Rose: Two people per campaign (a strategist and an exec for us) maybe 2 execs if its a big campaign.
Ruth Barrett:The number of people who work on a campaign depends on its size and the speed at which we need to gain results for the client. Ordinarily a single campaign would have a content manager, designer, developer and PR working on it. If it was a larger campaign then we may draft more resource in for any of these areas.
Laura D’Amato: We usually have at least 4 or 5 people working on producing the campaign (for example data analysts/researchers, designers, developers or project managers). We also have a team of creative people for directions on what the campaign should look like. When it comes to outreach we can have between 1 and 3 people working on the same campaign depending on how broad it is and how many angles we can go with at the same time without spamming the same journalists.
Thanks again to our panelists for being so generous with their time during and after the conference.
At the beginning of 2017, we decided to embark on a new challenge – run a conference!
Lisa, a seasoned conference speaker, had felt for a long time that there was an appetite in the industry for a conference 100% dedicated to outreach, and that we should run it. We booked the venue the very next day.
On June 9th 2017, over 250 attendees travelled from both within the UK and further afield (Poland, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Germany, USA, Pakistan and more) to join us for the first outREACH Conference.
We were overwhelmed by the awesome tweets and positive feedback we received:
Such a fantastic conference meeting so many talented individuals. Thank you to everyone involved @OutREACHconf#outREACH
And so, we’re back with a bang in 2018, with this one day, single-track conference, 100% dedicated to outreach. With sessions on mindset, creativity, outreach strategy, plus actionable tips, advice and everything you need to succeed.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the very best in the industry
Save the date: Friday June 8th at the Congress Centre, 28 Russell St, WC1B 3LS.
Stacey has been involved in the creation of content online since 2006. In 2009, she joined Tecmark, where she leads SEO and largely link building centric content marketing campaigns for businesses in travel, retail, professional services and finance. Stacey is also an inc.com columnist and has spoken at a number of marketing conferences globally.
Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years’ experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner. In 2016, Jack created All Good Tales, after realising that communications was entering a golden age of storytelling, and that those with the best stories succeed.
Lisa Myers is the CEO & Founder of Verve. Lisa has been working in SEO since 2005 and is a prolific speaker at Digital Marketing conferences worldwide.
She’s a geek, a passionate entrepreneur and inspirational speaker. Often refers to herself as a modern day shield-maiden, and always finds a way of quoting Yoda.
& the full speaker line up will be announced soon…
Be one of the first to secure your tickets & get £80 off the standard price when you buy before March 31st 2018. Early bird tickets are just £170.00 (+VAT) – get yours here
With thanks for our Headline Sponsor for 2018
We look forward to seeing you there!
Verve Search has been acquired by Omnicom Media Group
We are super excited to announce that Verve Search has just been acquired by Omnicom Media Group.
Holy smokes, how did that happen?
Well, it started like this:
In January 2009 I founded Verve Search, because I felt so passionate about SEO and how it should be done. I wanted to create an agency that people really wanted to be part of.
The first year it was just me, Sam and Nick, the three musketeers (that never actually stuck, I just kept saying it!). I also managed to fit in having a baby in year 2 of business, then by year 3 we really started to grow.
The following years brought significant changes to Google’s algorithms, which was a challenge, but the real challenge; was people. Learning how to motivate people, how to inspire and most of all how to help people work better together. That has been the biggest learning experience.
We have achieved some truly amazing results in the past few years, including winning 16 awards in the space of 2 years, and winning ‘Best SEO Agency’ three years running.
Just in the past 12 months alone we have launched over 70 campaigns for our clients, generating thousands of links and coverage in the printed press, radio and even TV, in 7 different countries.
The future vision
We are very passionate about what we do, and have ambitious goals for the future. Our vision is to be ‘THE destination for digital pioneers’.
We could have continued as we were, growing steadily, and probably achieved our vision, eventually. But in 2015 we decided to look at other ways we could reach our goals, in other words we decided to ‘look for a bigger boat’.
This was no easy task, as anyone that has sold a business would testify, finding the right ‘spouse’ is no easy feat.
It was really important to us to find a ‘home’ that cared as much about innovation and people as we do. But most importantly, it was vital to find a cultural fit. After meeting with several companies, it was quite clear that the right match for us was Omnicom Media Group.
We are so excited about this new chapter for Verve Search, as we get to continue doing the great work we are already known for, whilst allowing us to accelerate growth and continue innovating.
Do, or do not, there is no try!
Official Press Release:
Omnicom Media Group acquires leading independent SEO and Content Marketing agency, Verve Search.
Omnicom Media Group announces that it has acquired Verve Search Ltd (“Verve”) which is a UK-based international SEO and Creative Content Marketing agency. Named ‘Large SEO agency of the year’ (The European Search Awards 2017), Verve’s specialist team spans 14 nationalities and provides services in 15 languages.
Founded in 2009 by CEO Lisa Myers, Verve’s success has been driven by client-first results, talent, innovation and accountability. This combination has attracted clients such as Expedia, GoCompare and MADE – and has led to the development of proprietary assets, such as the Verve ‘Link Score Tool’, which enables links to be evaluated and ranked by relative authority.
Colin Gottlieb, CEO Omnicom Media Group EMEA said, “A successful acquisition enhances an enterprise across three critical areas, capabilities, clients and culture. Verve Search hits the mark on all three measures, and will be another valuable specialist resource to drive business results for our clients.”
Verve Search will continue to operate under its brand name as a unit within Omnicom Media Group.
Commenting on the move to Omnicom Media Group, Verve Search CEO, Lisa Myers said: “Verve Search has gone from strength to strength, following our vision to be “the destination for digital pioneers’. Omnicom is a great fit for Verve, in terms of both culture and vision. We are passionate about innovation and creativity, and becoming part of the Omnicom family will allow us to grow further. This new chapter is going to be very exciting and we can’t wait to get started.”
About Omnicom Media Group Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), the leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company, providing services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries. Omnicom Media Group includes the full service networks OMD, PHD and Hearts & Science; the Annalect global data and analytics platform; the OMG global programmatic buying platform; global performance marketing agency Resolution Media; as well as a number of specialty media communications companies.
For further information please contact Androula Shapanis – [email protected]
Tel – +44 2079083511
Thank you for attending outREACH!
Wales, Poland, The Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Germany, The USA, and Pakistan… these are just a few countries our conference attendees travelled from to spend a day at outREACH.
Our aim was to put on a conference which was totally unique, full of useful advice and straight to the point. No bull sh*t. We wanted to go through the steps and processes everyone goes through from coming up with a GOOD idea, having the balls to execute the idea and not letting rules stop you, and then having the RIGHT mindset to outreach it.
The panel take the stage
We introduced an expert panel who shared examples of their perfectly crafted (and less than perfectly crafted) emails to give examples of what worked for them, and what hasn’t.
Our speakers also included Paul May, from BuzzStream, who analysed over 30,000 emails and told us what was working and wasn’t. Mike King, took the floor to advise on how to utilise machine learning to help speed up your processes.
We have been overwhelmed by the lovely tweets you have been sending us, here are just a few of our favourites..
Congratulations to @VerveSearch for an incredible @OutREACHconf . Inspiring and educational talks. Highly recommend for next year. ????????????????????
â€œI feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes, Love is all around me, and so the feelings grows!â€
These two lines of the cheesy 90’s pop tune perfectly describe the feeling at Verve Search HQ last week. It was the return of LOVE WEEK, a chance for the whole office to express how they feel about one another through the medium of being SECRET ANGELS!
Every employee in the company (including the CEO) has their name put into a bowl and one at a time names are drawn. The name you draw is the person you will be a secret angel to for the week. The key to a successful love week is keeping your guise as secret angel – a secret.
You don’t have to spend lots of money on fancy-schmancy gifts, anonymous emails and little love notes are often the best love week gifts. This love week was even bigger and better than before, with object of affection ranging from flowers to beer to LP’s and Unicorn Poop!
Marcelle, our very lovely Project Co-Ordinator, gave this nice quote about love week: â€œLove week is great not just because you get presents or material gifts, but because people really go through such effort to learn more about you and what you LOVE! That looks different for everybody but it means that by the end of the week, you’ve got to know your co-worker a lot better”
A few years ago, Verve Search were inspired by the clever folks at Mindvalley to encourage love to be part of â€œeveryone’s job description for five daysâ€. Verve been doing love week every quarter since, and it has become a fond tradition here at Verve Search. â™¥