Pete Reis-Campbell is the founder and owner of Kaizen, a Digital PR agency based in London. Set up just 6 years ago, by the then 25 year old, it has now grown to nearly 30 staff and with some impressive clients. We interview Pete to find out about his journey in search which started at the age of 11 !
1. Your agency has won some impressive awards and you were only 25 when you set it up. How did you start?
I started a small, occasional blog with SEO advice with a view to position myself as an expert in the space and offer training courses in my then hometown of Leicester. As a result, I started picking up freelance work that I’d do at the weekend alongside my full time job. I’d always wanted to run my own business and after 2 years of freelance work at the weekend I decided to build towards what now is Kaizen. (I left my former agency just before Christmas).
I saved up 6 months rent & living costs as a backup and took the risk to quit and then started spreading the word. My network built from 2 previous agencies and other folks in the SEO world very kindly started referring me business and that kicked it into gear. I was supposed to go back to my last agency part time as a contractor and I very proudly got to turn that down as Kaizen hit 5k revenue in its first month of operation – with no capital and no startup costs.
2. You studied design at university but you mentioned you built your first website at 11. Therefore did the degree give you more formal and structural training for building websites?
Definitely not. All my knowledge in web design was self-taught when I was kid through books, experimenting and iterating.
Back in 2006, at least in my local area, web design was still a novel idea and no education provider had experts that could teach it.
If you are interested in a creative, fast-growing field then you have a chance to self teach it and pioneer in it.
3. What training do you give your staff at Kaizen? Do you think those who work in online marketing need formal training such as a degree or is a professional qualification such as being a Chartered Marketer better?
A degree isn’t it the way and I think quite an antiquated form of education.
Watch tutorials, find an online community to share your work with to gather feedback and then iterate. Build a portfolio then land yourself a paid internship or do a workplace apprenticeship.
At Kaizen most training is achieved through that same methodology, practical and on the job with feedback loops. We also of course supplement that with 3-5 internal sessions a month and fund external courses if appropriate.
4. You started your official career in 2009, what do you think has been the biggest change in search compared to now?
The biggest shift is Google’s ability to serve the user with the result they need without leaving the Google ecosystem and a increasingly less reliance on third parties.
5. What do you think the search world will look like in the next couple of years? Could you predict for the next 10 years?
The trend will continue. Brands need to utilise what Google will let them be a part of e.g featured snippets, voice apps, app rankings paid for inclusion rather than reliance on free visits to their website as that’ll only decrease.
Organic / earned attention is better served in the long run by identifying where the audience sits and how to leverage that – creating content for social, digital PR, influencers. SEO traffic from Google to a website will decline in relevance and brands need to take advantage of the platforms of where the audience is and what organic opportunities it offers.
6. Can you tell us a little bit about your new company, Klipr.io ?
Sure. Our aim is to build an in all one software suite to help people digital PR stories and measure their impact. The first feature is the Coverage Dashboard that allows folks to add their clients, campaigns within them and automatically identify any online mentions, links or coverage it has picked up. Klipr.io be launching in just a few weeks in BETA announced on our Kaizen site.
Thank you Pete for taking the time to meet with us and we look forward to seeing more about your new software suite when launched.