2020 was an unusual year, creating both new challenges and new opportunities, and this was no different within our industry. Although working life is slightly different for most of us at the moment, we wanted to give a behind-the-scenes look at our amazing team, our culture, working practices, how we achieve fantastic results for our clients on a daily basis, and advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry.
ICS-digital’s outreach team establishes and maintains long-lasting professional relationships with digital publishing partners. These are bloggers and owners of high-authority domains, including the well-established sites The Guardian, Augsburger Allgemeine, Yorkshire Post, and Money.it. Currently, the international outreach team nurtures over 10,000 relationships around the globe, which allows us to directly engage with each of our clients’ target audience. At the same time, our talented project and PR execs are heavily involved in the creative aspect of the job, proposing coverage ideas and PR angles. They follow a campaign from its inception all the way to the final product.
Over the years, we’ve built strong relationships with some of the most renowned outlets from the business, lifestyle, iGaming, sport, technology, finance, and travel industries. We are therefore able to generate high traffic and effective engagement with our clients’ content. To give just one example, the campaign “Cute Animals are Good for You” was not only a team-favourite in 2020 but also received coverage by BBC News, ITV’s This Morning, and Sky News. In total, we secured over 300 links in landing pages and more than 400,000 social media shares - all while falling for the world’s “happiest animal”, the quokka.
Our PR Executive Lydia, who has previously shared her top 5 digital PR tips to earn SEO-boosting links, has provided insights into her role as part of the PR team.
“I’m a creative person, I enjoy designing and coming up with imaginative ideas people will enjoy. So my career in Digital PR fell into place. I’m able to work with a team to create ideas for high-end clients, which they will approve of and the target audience will enjoy. My favourite part of the role is working on a campaign from scratch and seeing it blossom and gain high-quality coverage after all the hard work you’ve put into creating the campaign in the first place.
My advice for anyone who wants to join this industry is that, in the first instance, it’s important to acquire basic SEO and analytical skills and continue to build on them. Get practice and experience, and the best way to do that is to work in digital PR and do it every day. You learn more from people around you and from doing practical tasks, rather than studying a textbook. Always ask questions - I believe listening to people with more experience than you is a great way to learn and become successful in the industry.“
As we pride ourselves on creating valuable, relevant and consistent content, our content team is at the heart of ICS-digital. Producing over 2500 pieces each month, the team is continuously growing. We work with over 200 specialist UK and international subject matter specialists who create high-quality text and translations. Our editors ensure that all content is unique, optimised for SEO and fully meets all specifications. However, it’s not all about written content - our creative team also works hard to produce a variety of visual assets including videos, webpage design, illustrations, brochures, banners, business cards, whitepapers, and infographics. This makes for a varied working day within the Content Team! One moment we might be reviewing localised content for a landing page, the next we’re brainstorming together for an upcoming creative project.
Being part of the content creation process offers the opportunity to experience a variety of tasks that challenge us creatively. You quickly realise that collaboration and teamwork are key, playing to every person’s strength, sharing experiences, and continuously learning from one another.
As our Director, Charlotte, mentioned in ICS-digital’s recap of 2020, one of the most rewarding parts of the past year was winning the Global Finance Campaign of the Year award. We are proud to see the exceptional work with IG acknowledged, as this has allowed us to showcase the value of our content-driven campaigns. The collaboration with IG was anchored in digital PR (including international link-earning and coverage) as well as localised content production (targeting the client’s core languages and markets). As a full-service agency, we are able to draw from the full content marketing spectrum, adapting and combining these to effectively reach our client’s goal.
Our International Editorial Manager and author of 'What Makes a Successful Sports Blog?', Isabel, has shared her experience as a member of the award-winning content team:
“Having always had an affinity to language and focusing on Applied Linguistics in my MSc studies, I was keen to get into the world of content ideation. I found this opportunity at ICS-digital.
As part of the content team, I conduct research into our client’s target audience and produce engaging on-site, promotional, and creative output for a range of industries, including finance, health, fashion, iGaming, sports, business, technology. ICS-digital knows that, in addition to following marketing principles, a localised and culturally-aware approach will produce strong content. Naturally, our team is growing and becoming increasingly diverse in order to create over 2,500 pieces of content each month. I have been able to progress from a role focusing on the DACH markets to managing and overseeing the international content production. This has allowed me to collaborate with over 200 specialist language experts from around the world.
My advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry is that communication and attention to detail are key. Be creative and think outside the box but, at the same time, make sure you remain true to the underlying expectations and requirements from clients and collaborators. There is a lot of power in recognising how important local linguistic and cultural knowledge is to creating good content, so be ready to do your research and learn from your expert collaborators.”
It is the SEO team that makes sure content marketing strategies will not only drive but, most importantly, convert traffic. Our SEO experts conduct thorough technical analyses into user behaviour, and their results - as well as action plans - are grounded in a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. This goes hand in hand with our onsite optimisation services, which build on the technical findings to improve a website’s UX accordingly.
The SEO team works closely with our native specialists who provide localised, cultural and linguist input. For instance, which keywords are relevant for an Austrian but not a German target audience? Clients benefit from our targeted research into almost any local community’s search patterns, which creates new traffic and improved conversion rates. In conjunction with our native-language experts, we can offer both global and local SEO insights on a truly international scale.
Having an in-house SEO department also means that all of our content, PR, and outreach activities are based on data researched, collected, and scrutinised by the SEO experts. We can, therefore, provide actionable insights and recommendations across our client base.
Chris, our SEO Lead, has shared his insights into the importance of SEO at ICS-digital:
“Having been involved in many different aspects of content production throughout my career, transitioning to an SEO-focused role - which content goes hand in hand with - was a natural step that ICS-digital were able to help facilitate.
The technical expertise, research skills and in particular, ‘global’ approach, my colleagues are able to bring to the table is a testament to the diverse, international culture we have cultivated at ICS, and continues to set us apart from our competitors. Having native-speaking linguists in over 70 languages means that our SEO offering is truly global, while retaining the local insight that is so critical to identifying the ways in which users search and what they are searching for.
My advice to anyone wanting to get into an SEO role would be that nothing is a sufficient substitute for practical learning and experience. Apply the knowledge you have picked up from your research by running audits, keyword research, competitor analysis on your favourite website or blog. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, and you’ll pick up a lot of learnings on the fly. Who knows, if your findings are strong enough, your research could be a good way to start the conversation with your dream company.”
Although we’ve had to give up on the Office Monday Breakfast since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been exciting to see our outreach, content, and SEO services and teams grow. We are continuing to expand in 2021, and are looking forward to welcoming new faces this year. If you share our values and want to join our team, get in touch or check our careers section for the latest roles that are waiting for the right candidate.