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Getting “Under the Hood” of Reporting and Analytics with Christina Brodzky

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For over 10 years, Christina Brodzky, Founder and CEO of Media Sesh, has rolled up her sleeves and done whatever it took to help her clients succeed. That’s meant touching nearly every part of the digital marketing industry.

She’s done reputation management for celebrities and real estate tycoons. She’s done internal site search and has helped major brands identify content gaps and site functionality. She’s done every part of SEO: the technical side, the content side, and the link building and outreach side.

Today she brought all the insights she’s derived from this breadth of experience to the Agency Ahead podcast.

The highlights:

  • (4:07) Identifying KPIs and onboarding new clients.
  • (9:19) Effective reporting.
  • (13:46) Making recommendations.
  • (18:31) Delivering quick wins for clients.
  • (20:06) Examining data reliability.
  • (22:14) Christina’s causes.

The insights:

Identifying KPIs and onboarding new clients

Choosing the right clients and onboarding them well are two skills which are absolutely vital for agency success. They’re two skills that Christina has in the bag, and she had plenty of takeaways for other agencies and consultants.

“Whenever I work with a new client we have a strategy call, and we do the whole onboarding to ask about goals. For SEO. And why does your business exist, and what can I do to better help your business get more online visibility.

She says usually it’s all about goal completion.

“And the revenue. The thing that’s going to keep their doors open and the lights on.”

You can’t make assumptions about those goals. For example, Christina notes that publishing companies are generally much more concerned with traffic than with conversion because they need to attract advertisers.

Effective Reporting

Christina has firm views on what analytics and reporting should be accomplishing.

“Analytics should help with spotting any kind of threats or potential opportunities that we can uncover about your website and the industry as a whole.

It should help with providing insights into what is happening with [a client’s] business, it should tell us what’s working, what’s not working.

It should tell us how visitors are finding [them], how they’re engaging, and how they’re converting on the website. It should tell us why something is happening.

It should help with providing actionable next-step recommendations that could have an impact on their business.”

She says to accomplish these ends she leans towards using “the usual suspects” vis a vis the tools she’s choosing.

“Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Depending on the client we may also integrate Google Adwords or some technical analysis with Deep Crawl or Screaming Frog. I will also include keyword ranking items such as AuthorityLabs, or Rank Tracker.”

She says she starts from the broad view and then gets more granular as necessary to solve the problem that’s before her.

She delivers monthly reporting as a basic requirement.

“I have to know how the business is performing. I need to be able to spot those threats, and usually, I’ll create an initial template of what that report should look like. But it will always evolve, because priorities and goals will evolve as well, so we might add an additional slide for search trends because now during COVID there are certain things that are emerging and I want to keep an active pulse on them.”

She says she starts clients with an initial template. They’ll then give her feedback, and will tweak and revise as time goes on.

Making SEO recommendations

Christina makes recommendations on every reporting slide, because

“the tools are always as good as the person doing them, so you need someone that will be able to look at the data and formulate next-step recommendations based on the insights being presented.”

That is, of course, the role she’s playing, and the role that many agencies and consultants play for their clients.

She says one way to structure insights is with the “Three What Questions.” These are:

  • What happened?
  • What caused that to happen?
  • What do I do next?

She does note it can take a lot of time to do that deep-dive analysis.

She also says that whenever she delivers a recommendation to a client she adds it to her project management tool.

“I have a column for if they completed it, or if it’s in progress, so nothing slips through the cracks.”

One thing she’s doing right now is relying heavily on Google search trends to find out what kinds of content people are searching for so that she can pass that information on to her clients.

Delivering quick wins for clients

Christina also says that Google Trends has helped identify opportunities for quick wins.  She says that other tools haven’t quite been up to the challenge yet.

“I felt that this [COVID] all happened so, so quickly that those [other] keyword tools weren’t able to factor in the influx of new searches as quickly, so it was kind of hard to tell: is this search volume reflective of the last couple of weeks or days, or is that the 12-month average that some of these tools are calculating the search volume?

So using the existing search volume data, coupling that with what I’m seeing with search trends, we were able to see where there are some opportunities but are also looking at Google analytics to see which type of data started to receive more organic visits than others before.”

She says this method has allowed her to come up with really good insights and next steps.

Examining data reliability

Garrett asked if Christina makes caveats to her clients about the data knowing it’s not always reliable.

She said that she tries to stay focused primarily on making recommendations that will make an impact.

“Whenever I am presenting something to a client this is what the data is telling me right now, but the analytics will always tell me if what we’re doing is correct or if we need to iterate or go back to the drawing board altogether.”

She says testing and measuring will always be important to account for those data shifts.

What’s your right now cause?

Christina was a foster kid, and so is very passionate about the foster care system. She wanted to give visibility to Foster Care for Success. She says they helped her with getting an internship and with college, and that they really help kids who are at a disadvantage.

“They have provided such a great support system for me, and I think they’re one of the reasons why I’ve been able to start my career and be successful, and they get part of the credit for where I am today.”

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