Our 6 months plan against the Coronavirus Pandemic

In this video

Hello everyone and welcome to the Canonical Chronicle. We are 2 weeks into the UK lockdown and like last week there has been zero SEO news. So instead of delivering you some meme infused SEO news , we decided to keep sharing with you our experience as we navigate these uncertain times and the measures we are taking to survive as a business the Coronavirus Pandemic.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How our clients responded to the "extra measures" email

  • Our in-depth sales plan for the next 6 months

  • The different product we’ll be offering and how we are increasing our streams of revenue

  • How we managed to save over $10,000 of monthly expenses in 2 weeks of culling and how you can do it too

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I’m Ross Tavendale, the managing director of Type A Media, a creative search agency based in London. I make videos about business leadership, web technology, SEO, PPC and how I turned being a Type A personality into a business.


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- Okay so we're now two weeks into lockdown and I'm fine. Everything is fine.

- This is fine.

- It's not so bad. The shops are starting to have regular stocks of normal food and I've got all the toilet paper that I can eat. So aside from gaining about a stone in weight and drinking more wine than a Roman emperor, I'm actually using this time to learn some new skills like learning how to take four bottles of wine to the recycling without my neighbours hearing them clack together and thinking I'm an alcoholic. Now I see why the middle classes are overbuying all that toilet roll. In next week's Canonical Chronicle we're gonna discuss how our clients have responded to my extra measures email. I'm gonna give you an in-depth view of our new sales plan for the next six months and I'm gonna show you how we managed to save about ten grand of monthly expenses in the last two weeks by just culling everything we possibly could. As always, there's gonna be no advice in this video. I'm just gonna share my experience of what we're currently going through. So without further ado, let's get into it. Firstly let's take a look at how my clients actually responded to that email.

- And who left this coffee cup here?

- Sorry, I meant to clean it last night.

- Yeah, well that's not good enough. You're sacked.

- So just to remind you, I emailed all the clients the day Boris Johnson kind of locked down the country. In the email I said we're doing extra keyword research. We're gonna find more opportunities. We're gonna move to more technical link building to build a supplement to the PR work we're doing. Deep competitor analysis to work out what they're doing as well just to make sure that all of our clients stay ahead of the competition. And here were the results.

So firstly, every single PPC client peeled all of their spam apart from one. Fair enough. I mean why spend money on Google ads when no one's actually searching or converting anything. So over 20 or so clients no one's canceled but 25% of them have heavily reduced their spend to almost nothing. Really just to cover our costs.

Last Friday we paid all of our suppliers and all of our team in full which is great. And so far we've had five of the 20 invoices from clients that have been paid, not great.

Now it's the start of the month so I expect a little bit more to trickle in as most of the clients process the payments towards the end of the week. But in terms of our cash flow position, yeah, we are getting royally fucked in the butt.

- ♪ I said what what in the butt. ♪ ♪ I said what what in the butt. ♪ ♪ I said what what in the butt. ♪

- But thankfully we've got a really good war chest at Type A with several months of expenses saved because in the good times we didn't actually spend any of the money on ourselves and we didn't really overstretch ourselves.

That being said at the end of this, if we're gonna have any cash left we are gonna go full Wolf of Wall Street.

- Throw the roof off this mother fucker.

- So next up, let's look at our sales plan for the next six months. So to be honest not a lot's gonna change in the way we do sales in the agency. I realise that the client is a smart buyer and they don't need to be convinced or coerced. So I'm just gonna do my usual chilled and polite sales tactics.

- Go buy my shit, mother fucker.

- No, no, I'm only kidding. I'm splitting the agency offering now into three buckets so those are going to be get informed, get educated and get it done. Now in the moment we're more of a get it done agency.

So if people need some SEO we go do it for them. But let's look at the two new areas of sales that the agency's gonna start moving into. That's gonna be get informed and get educated. So get informed is gonna consist of our usual content and the KPI for that is email signups.

So firstly the Canonical Chronicle, the weekly meme-infused SEO news, that's always gonna be free of charge. That will be coming to you the same ways it always does with an email newsletter that contains a slide deck so people can share it around their agency or their company to keep everyone up to date with all the Google algorithm updates. And if you want that by the way, link is in the description below.

We might put a premium subscription option out for like five bucks a month, but at the moment the agency don't really have the bandwidth to make a world-class newsletter that people would be willing to buy. So for now that's part but maybe premium newsletter in the future.

So next up is getting educated. So under get educated we're going to launch the Type A University. It's gonna be a freemium learning platform that's gonna allow people to create agency deliverables like technical audits and keyword research and things like that. We've already got really extensive training at Type A Media but we all use it for our internal use only. So what we thought is why don't we actually just give this a bit and start offering it to the public.

Now for Type A University, KPI is gonna be email signups predominantly but eventually we'll start building in paid modules and things like that. I think ultimately when it comes to monetising this we don't want to monetise the education, but if someone wants our templates for commercial purposes we'll probably sell those.

So we're also continuing a leadership series called Type Q&A where we answer questions people are asking on Reddit and Twitter and Quora. And the reason we're doing that is because our customers are usually senior managers in large organisations and they already know the basics of SEO so we're gonna be producing content around those people in particular, how they can progress in their jobs and how they can navigate things in a large organisation.

So next is getting it done. So our current revenue model is all getting it done. Client comes to us and wants to improve their traffic so they pay the monthly retainer and we increase their traffic. Pretty simple stuff. Now we're still gonna be doing that but we're gonna introduce some new levels to Type A. At the moment all of our SEO packages are completely bespoke and it really just depends on what the client needs.

We look at their site, look at what's going on, who they want to grow to and we put together some deliverables to work out how they can hit their growth targets. Now this has worked really well for us so far over the last three, four years, but it comes with a quite high barrier to entry. One thing you might not know is at Type A, 90% of the leads that come to us we actually don't say yes to it because of budget constraints. It's not that we're being greedy. It's just that we've got processes and costs of running our own agency that costs quite a bit of money.

So as a result we need to charge a little bit more. So the plan is to offer multiple levels where you can get access to agency expertise. Those are gonna be DIY, consultation calls, strategy sprints, a new SME Light offering and then our usual full factory Type A offering. Okay so, let's break them down one by one. So DIY is gonna be our university offering where you can learn at your own pace and buy the documents as you need them. Or you can actually book us as an agency to run a single deliverable. So if you need a tech audit done but can't afford our minimum retainers, we'll do your tech order but as a one-off project.

The upside of this is you get everything you needed to run your SEO program. The downside is that you don't get any account management or agency analysis or expertise to actually apply the audit findings. But if you've got a decent level of marketing person in your company, that actually may be quite a viable option for you. So next up is our consultation calls. So sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and talk to an expert to get to the heart of what needs fixed. Well now you can. So we're gonna start offering the wider public, they can book any member of the Type A leadership team to help either solve a burning SEO question or really just help you look at your overall SEO strategy.

After consultation we have something called a strategy sprint. Now a strategy sprint is a 12-week program that contains 12 90-minute webinars and Q&As. So the strategy sprints are gonna be held by me. And what we're gonna do is take you through our rest and our processes and it's gonna give you access to all the documentation, all the university courses, and it's the equivalent of me coming into your office and training a junior member of staff on all the processes and systems they need to become a good SEO. We've not really ironed out the details on pricing and what's gonna be included, but there's gonna be some sort of community Slack channel as well as weekly webinars just to make sure everyone's on the same page and progressing through the learning at the right pace.

The best way to think of it is a protracted, practical training where you can get junior members of your team to get group coaching with me. And you get the exact levels we would give you as an agency anyway. So I guess you're taking a buy-in to the agency but at a much lower cost. And instead of you relying solely on us to deliver, we're building up someone inside of your business.

We're also gonna do a new small business offering. We've been toying with the idea for quite a while because we got a lot of inquiries from local business. But we're typically not able to work with local companies because of budget constraints. However we are finessing our Type A Light offering that allows SMEs to grow their business from an organic search point of view but it would have reduced account management and reduced deliverables. So you get the same service but some things are held back.

So the SME offering is gonna be packaged up and productised a lot more. And it's gonna be in a normal, modest monthly fee probably somewhere in the two grand a month mark. And lastly the biggest one that I'm mostly excited about it product roll out. So as many of you know we're getting ready to launch Needle which is the journalist search engine for PR professionals that uses natural language processing to match press releases to the exact journalist you need from 10,000,000 articles, across 30,000 publication, across 4,000 journalists globally. Multi-country, multi-language. It's gonna be a fremium product. We hope it's gonna do really well because it's quite a crowded marketplace.

We also got a bunch of tools that we've developed for internal purposes only and we're planning on actually putting a skin on them, a nice, new front end in UI and starting to sell that to the SEO community. Stay tuned for those in Q3 of this year.

That's everything for this week's Canonical Chronicle. As we start to get back to normality with more search news and things like that coming out it's gonna go back to SEO news. But for now I'm just talking you through how I'm dealing with quarantine and how we're running the agency. So if you liked this video please hit the like button. If you loved it please subscribe. And until next time we will see you later.