FCDC SEO Story with Isa Lavahun– BrightonSEO Special

Episode Summary

The FCDC was at BrightonSEO in April, and we spoke with the delightful Isa Lavahun.

Isa is a freelance digital PR strategist with over 15 years of search marketing experience.

She specializes in search marketing which includes digital PR, content strategy, and influencer marketing.


Guest Profile


Isa Lavahun

✍🏾Name: Isa Lavahun

🧑🏾Pronouns: she/her

✍🏾What She Does: Freelance digital PR strategist

✍🏾Company: LAVLY LTD

✍🏾Noteworthy: She has worked for multiple brands and agencies in different roles, particularly within the beauty, food & drink, fashion, and retail sectors.

Key Insights

💡Her entry into digital marketing

Isa’s interest in music led her to enter the field of marketing. She began her digital marketing career when the concept was still new, working for a small record label that focused on growing the audience of signed artists on MySpace.

This experience exposed her to web marketing, website editing, and online promotion.


💡Authenticity and compatibility are crucial in influencer marketing

Isa emphasizes the importance of finding influencers who align with your brand and business rather than solely focusing on follower count. It’s better to work with an influencer who genuinely resonates with your brand, even if they have a smaller following.


💡Relationship between digital PR and SEO.

Isa shares her experience working in digital PR, which initially stemmed from her background in SEO. She highlights the importance of understanding what constitutes a good link and the value it brings both for the link itself and for SEO visibility.


💡 Decision to go Freelance and be self-employed.

Isa discusses her decision to transition from full-time employment to freelancing. She explains that as she advanced in her career, she found herself doing less of what she loved and dealing with more administrative tasks.


Burnout and a desire for creative freedom led her to freelance work. Although initially hesitant due to fluctuating income, she eventually embraced self-employment and committed to its long-term consistency.


Episode Highlights


Influencer buy-in is essential.

Isa mentions that influencers should genuinely like the brand or product they are promoting. Audiences can easily sense when an influencer is just posting for the sake of payment, so it’s important to work with influencers who are genuinely interested and can provide organic, authentic, and relevant content.


Perception of digital PR in traditional PR agencies.

Isa mentions that digital PR agencies initially faced pushback from traditional PR agencies, who considered them as the “poor cousin” of PR. However, as digital PR gained market share, traditional PR agencies started recognizing its importance and had to adapt to the changing landscape.

The importance of consistency in freelancing.

Isa recognizes that freelancing can be a slow burner and requires perseverance. She emphasizes the need to remain strong and consistent, even during quiet periods, as business opportunities can suddenly arise. Consistency, resilience, and avoiding panic are vital for success in freelancing.

Connect with Isa



Episode Transcriptions

Chima Mmeje 0:05

Hi everyone, we are with our second guest for the day. PISA how do i pronounce your last name?


Isa Lavahun 0:11

Isa Lavahun

Chima Mmeje 0:12

Oh it’s not even Isa, it’s Isa Lavahun Is that French origin?


Isa Lavahun 0:19

Sierra Leonean


Chima Mmeje 0:20

yeah, see. So you like British Union


Isa Lavahun 0:24
and Nigeria and my mom’s Nigeria and my dad Sierra Leonne. I’ve been here since I was 10. But I was born in Germany. So


Chima Mmeje 0:34

rich history, that is the thing about the FCDC SEO series, I come in knowing nothing about the person I’m interviewing, so you will learn as much about them, as I am learning as much about them. That’s why I never Google anybody, no background, everything together on the shoot here.


So I’m just going to head in. And actually the question we will start off with everyone, what was the first job you ever did? Like, think about maybe when you were kid? What was the first job? The very first thing you did that put money in your pocket?


Isa Lavahun 1:04

I worked in a children’s clothing store. No one will remember this. But it was actually in Brighton and Churchill square, called Adams. And it was my first experience of doing customer service. So I think I was about 1516, something like that. And yeah, two pound 50 an hour at the time. But it was money in my bank account, and it gave me independence. So I really I enjoyed it.


Chima Mmeje 1:29

It was good to pound 50 an hour. How long did you do that? For 15 years?

Isa Lavahun 1:34

Probably about a year, every Saturday and Sunday for sure. Listen,

Chima Mmeje 1:41

that’s that’s very strange, because I think you have zero attention span to keep anything at all.

Isa Lavahun 1:48

The money was coming in my bank account, I think at the end of the month had come by you know, but 100 pounds, 8200 pounds a lot of money for me. So that was my incentive.

Chima Mmeje 1:57

So why did you spend your money on clothes?

Isa Lavahun 2:02

Yeah, I’m a bit of a fashion now. Yeah, I love clothes. So yes. Okay. Yeah, definitely. So


Chima Mmeje 2:07

that was your very first job. What does that teach you? That has like helped you for the rest of your career? The very first job working in front of customers?


Isa Lavahun 2:15

Yeah, I think the whole customer service thing customer fronting is they have different needs. Everyone has different needs. So you kind of have to identify what one person needs. And also I do think it’s helping about having empathy being friendly. It went a long way.


And I think it made me kind of Yeah, a popular team worker at the place because I understood customers, I could help them out I could understand where they were coming from and serve them from the time that they walked through the door to make till they made the purchase. So yeah, showed me I guess about the sales funnel. Sales Funnel

Chima Mmeje 2:52

just describe the funnel starts starting from them working in exactly then from them leaving the store happy with your purchases.

Isa Lavahun 2:59

Exactly. And

Chima Mmeje 3:02

did you ever have to upsell anybody to buy something they didn’t want to buy when it comes when they came into the store?

Isa Lavahun 3:07

I wouldn’t say that they didn’t want to buy i don’t i i did retail for actually quite a while while I was at university and all that kind of stuff. And I and I as a customer that loves to go to fashion.


I hate being forced everything false. So I would upsell but I’d only do it when I kind of thought is worthy for the customer. So yeah, but yeah, I have I have upsold in my life before I


Chima Mmeje 3:28

do this job when you’re 15 and then you get to 16. And what happens after that? What do you do next? That puts money in your pocket after this job. Cash was


Isa Lavahun 3:37

making me making me think what did I do? I worked in a sandwich shop. I just it was later retired literally till I move to London because this was all in bright, bright and bright and girls grew up, grew up and went to school here.


I didn’t really do anything else. Then I went from one retail to another. So yeah, so loads of retail jobs. Were before I moved to university.


Chima Mmeje 3:59

Okay, so you get to investigate where you’re working where you were square going where you were going to school.


Isa Lavahun 4:04

Yes. So again, I got a retail job. Topshop, Canary Wharf and Canary Wharf was just first opening its shopping centre. It’s quite prestigious job.


And then I started sort of venturing out I used to do music back in the day. Yes, musician. Yeah. So this is


Chima Mmeje 4:22

the interesting people have such a very, very diverse background. She’s music retail everything


Isa Lavahun 4:30

literally done it all. Um, so yeah, I was I was trying to be a singer. So at the time I was auditioning for loads of like bands and all that kind of stuff. So I needed a job that I could do you need do myself auditioning and kind of gave me flexibility.


So again, it was really a lot of retail. And then yeah, it was pretty much retail. I did love and then I started working in the sort of nightclubs as a waitress. And then I went from retail thing


Chima Mmeje 4:58

you’ve done retail And then you’ve done waitressing. Yeah, like waitressing is very intense job because you are on your feet for seven, six hours. Yeah. And you’re just serving people with the place. I went to have lunch, they have to go down a flight or staircase.


Yeah, pick the food and then bring it back up and serve customers. And imagine doing that continuously for like five hours. That is intense. How did you keep your energy levels of?


Isa Lavahun 5:24

Well, I did wait, you’re saying specifically in the evenings and then I did ended up doing nightclub waitressing. So you still are fast paced, but you’re kind of serving customers that are out to have a good time in the evening. Rush. Yeah, so it’s probably look a bit better.


But then you have different pressures of looking after people that little bit too much to drink and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, it was it was fun. But I worked in the clubs back in the day, that was sort of the sort of members club. So you’d have all the celebrities and stuff coming in.


So I think that’s kind of what got me into that sort of thing. Because then you just sit there and see all the celebrities come in and be like, Oh my God, that’s this person and that person. No, I said, I think I did that for about four, four or five years during my London life.


Chima Mmeje 6:06

So obvious question, Whoa, big lessons you learn from from working in a nightclub as witches.

Isa Lavahun 6:17

Basically, a lot is lot about, I’d say keeping secrets was the word was the right word for it. Like, you know, not NDAs. But obviously, when people like you know, you’d have a whole football team come in, and they will be doing things that they don’t need to be doing.


And you would have to not be able to like tell talk about how the press or anything about it. So taught me about that. Also, it’s customer service for a different type of customer. So if you’re kind of looking at it, like, you know, normal brand versus a luxury brand, it shows me about how people with money act, it’s completely different to how normal people act.


And the service that they want is slightly different to the service like the sort of the normal person wanted. So yeah, it kind of taught me a bit about VIP. So some sort of elite customer be Yes, exactly. Exactly. Elite customer behaviour.


Chima Mmeje 7:08
That’s very interesting. I don’t think you’ve ever like dug into all this, like, We surely will talk about customer behaviour in a very generic way. Yeah, but that level of customer service or behaviour for people who have real money, real money, very unique

Isa Lavahun 7:22
experience. And they do shop very differently. They have different intent. They’re driven differently. There’s different types of personas, obviously, but they’re completely driven differently. And I also worked when I worked in retail worked in Versace, which is like, you know, designer, and I worked in the sort of denim section and the kind of customers were completely different. And so let’s say their target for that store, they would they need to make 3000 pounds a day. And most of us would stand there all day for four or five hours and not serve anyone, and then one customer would come in, and you would make your target because they would spend that much money. Well, so it’s all about that sort of elite VIP, but then you need to make sure that you really serve as like I was following that customer around looking for sizes and just making sure spending money. Yeah, just servicing them as best I could. And I would look after that one person for an hour and a half. They dropped 2000 or 500 or 800. And then you’ve kind of made a big chunk of what the floor target is.

Chima Mmeje 8:23
Okay. That’s amazing. So now, you’ve you’ve left this waitressing job. Yeah. What do you do next? Do you keep doing retail after that? Or do you like is this the point where you go into marketing?

Isa Lavahun 8:36
So I started marketing. I started with marketing a little bit, I moved to America but before I moved to America, I started doing the marketing then and that was when digital I was literally one of the first people doing digital like digital was people thinking digital a hell is digital marketing people shopping online. And that was when MySpace was the thing there was no Facebook or Instagram or Twitter,

Chima Mmeje 9:02
where your music is

Isa Lavahun 9:04
exactly MySpace was kind of the channel. So I worked for really small record label. And that had like signed artists. So they had you know, rocky ban. And there was one like solo artist. And my job was essentially growing that audience on MySpace. So I did that. That was literally work because it was such a small label. They couldn’t pay me full time. So I did it as a part time job because I loved it love music marketing. really got me into it. So I did yeah, kind of creating pages talking to the cost of the fan base of those artists pushing their songs. So it really taught me about using the web and marketing on the web and even like editing like the web pages and websites and all that kind of stuff. So and that’s kind of what got me a introduced into digital marketing but also kind of intrigued and interested.

Chima Mmeje 9:54
Okay, so you moved to America, then I moved to America. Was this in the UK Good job wouldn’t work in the UK. Yes. So now you you’ve done this job, you’ve had a taste of it. Yeah, this is what I want to do. Yes. And then you move to America, how do you keep doing that

Isa Lavahun 10:10
service to America? What it was two things because I was still doing the music, trying to be the next singer. And then obviously doing the marketing. And so I thought this America is La specifically is a great chance for me to go. And actually, I could try doing both of those careers at the same time. And whichever one works out works out. So I went to America. And it was like, you know, I don’t know if it’s the same now. But if you can go without a visa for 90 days that my plant, we sort of me in my lane, the girl I was singing with, we were not in a group together. We were like, right, let’s go stay for three months and see what happens. So I packed up all my stuff, move my stuff back into my parents left my London life, and it was like ongoing, so I moved to LA. And yeah, networks and did the whole la thing where you’re going out, you’re meeting people. And then we ended up meeting, a group of, like, sort of tech owners that was starting a new sort of website, funnily enough, they’re starting a new website around the same time as Facebook was kind of starting and Facebook one clearly because the other companies no more. But they came to there was one English guy, one Italian, a two English guys, one Italian guy. And they basically came they had a sort of the product and it was it was kind of like it was called shear now.com. And it was sort of it was a YouTube and a MySpace and Facebook all in one before those things are actually out to market. So it it was I kind of felt bad for that product because it came at the wrong time. Because it had come a little bit before a little bit after I probably would have done it became right at the same time. And it goes go sandwich Go language. Yeah. So chatting around. And they were like, Oh, what do you guys do? Does that Oh, yeah. Marketing. This is what I do identify Oh, are you guys come you know, see what we’re doing? We’re working on come work for, you know, come see if you want to work for us, because they were recruiting quite strongly when they came. And I think there was a thing of you know, there are two English Guys. And we’re English women. So I think there was a how old their English and then they do marketing and okay. And they’re in a band together so they can kind of create content and do the marketing at the same time. And that was it literally, you know,

Chima Mmeje 12:28
your first Yeah,

Isa Lavahun 12:29
literally, it all went really fast. Got the job came back to the UK. They did all the visas and all that kind of stuff made it all like legit. We, you know, a month later we move back. And then I did that for two years.

Chima Mmeje 12:43
You lived in America. And you did that for two years. Yes. Wow. So during this job, what were the big learnings?

Isa Lavahun 12:51
So much this was the first time I learned about working with developers, and coders and how they’re very different. They’re different to marketers, but you have to work very closely with them. Yes. And I was kind of the middle person between the coders and the design team. So it was like the design team who would building the website into the look and feel and and the buttons and what does everything look like and obviously the coders and it was I was the person that was a trying to recruit people to come and use the app and try to get influencers to come and use it. And at the same time trying to understand what the market need was. So it was the first time working for a startup my first time working to doing like to get like into in a way influencer marketing and my first time. Yeah, like getting to kind of work with a multi kind of functional marketing kind of project. So how

Chima Mmeje 13:41
did you get all of that to harmonise? Because I knew that working with developers is not always easy. Yeah, so many talks about that

Isa Lavahun 13:50
already. Yes. This is the whole thing where like by stakeholder management is literally knowing what their output what they want out of it. And it’s it there had there were times where I literally had to go in a room and talk to the developer be like guys, this is the reason why we need this, this, this and this to do that. And this is the reason why this button needs to go here and talk to talk to because designers and developers, they just a lot of the time don’t speak the same language and one’s trying to make things look pretty and the other ones to try to make things work. And a lot of the time the designers like I want butterflies and the developers like I just want this to work in a way that’s not going to crash the website. So I literally had to be the one in the middle don’t care, but maybe we can do this. And maybe if we can, maybe you need to turn down the design bit that might need actually if you could code it in this way and maybe that can make it so it’s me learning stakeholder management, talking to different people in different departments and kind of having that marketer Ioway you’re kind of looking at the product and looking at the market at the same time.

Chima Mmeje 14:45
I want to dig into the influencer marketing part because I think he’s still very, very extremely underutilised. Even today, people students, if you’re on Twitter, I see so many trades of people who are saying that they’ve tried it and they failed. There was one particular big one that was viral on Facebook. And the guy was like, Hey, I spent like, I think was it 3 million Wow for a bootstrap business on influencer marketing, and he didn’t get any value out of it. So I think it’s not that he didn’t get any value. I think he’s because he didn’t have the right strategy. So now I wanted to just like dig into that part of influencer marketing. What did you learn? Because this is the early days of yeah, very early. What did you learn about working with influencers and getting the best ROI from influencer marketing?

Isa Lavahun 15:30
Definitely, I think there needs to be influencer marketing, working with bands is like a marriage or like a relationship, it really needs to be compatible. It needs to be aligned. Paying influencer with 1 million followers to do something with your brand is not the way to do it. It’s better to get an influencer with 1000 followers that actually really aligned with your brand and your business than getting the one that’s like got a million. So authenticity, and that compatibility is like the number one thing that I would say. The second thing I would say is that even if it’s a paid or collaboration, the influencer has to have buy in and this is what do you mean? The influencer has to like you and your product, what you’re saying, because people who follow influencers, they can really tell when something is like, this is a painful post, and I’m getting paid to do this. I’m pushing, then guys, look, it’s sponsored posts. But actually, even if it wasn’t, I’d used this because there’s a you can get so much better content out of there, the content is like organic and rich and authentic and relevant. And a lot of people don’t do that they kind of go, they’ve got loads of followers. And yet, they’re kind of the same in the same industry, we will pay them to do it. There’s not enough kind of insight done that. And actually, the macro influencer model, it’s not always the right model. For every brand, I think you need to kind of figure out who your audience is, and make sure you tailor finding the right influencers. And actually, you could do that. And, you know, micro influencers are ones that without as much funding actually cheaper. So you can actually not spend that much money and actually get more better return on investment, if you target people who are actually closer to your audience than the macro. And that’s pretty much a celebrity brand. Yeah.

Chima Mmeje 17:16
I think people are terrified of micro influencers, because they feel like if you know, if you’re not giving someone who has 500k followers, then you’re not getting no visibility, and they’re attributing visibility as the return on investment. Yeah. So marketing, it’s

Isa Lavahun 17:31
not what is the best best form of marketing, the best form of marketing in my eyes? is word of mouth. Yes, the best form of

Chima Mmeje 17:40
that is actually what influencer marketing essentially a piece or two talk about your product

Isa Lavahun 17:44
that literally is so let’s say, for instance, for very long, while ago, I had a contract with a company there, they sell clothes for tall women. And so there’s not that many fashion influences that are tall. So the pool of who they had to go out to was smaller. But how many other women are going to follow an influencer, who’s tall, a whole bunch of other tall women. So actually, what you’re doing there, you’ve got word of mouth marketing, but it’s like literally at an extended kind of like a wider reach and a wider microphone. So that’s essentially what you need to think about when you’re doing influencer marketing. It’s literally a sort of a bigger version of word of mouth marketing need to think about it in that sense. If I’m giving this product or giving the service to this influencer, a huge percentage of the people that follow them need to be looking at that person because they go, Oh, this person’s like me. I want to see what this looks like on a person that looks like me. And you go, oh, this person got it from here. Oh, okay. I’m gonna click on that and get the same thing. That’s the most effective way that influence marketing works. I’d say it’s a lack of extended word of mouth. I

Chima Mmeje 18:53
love I love this. I love this. Okay, I want to fast forward a bit. And Max, you How did you get into PL because I know that PL? I’m just thinking before data up? Yeah.

Isa Lavahun 19:06
Funnily enough, no, it didn’t. I started my PR, doing SEO. And that’s why my brain used to do SEO before. Now I was hired by an SEO company and I was trained to do SEO Pete It was called SEO PR at the time. Wow. I did not know this. Yeah. So actually, an agency just down the road prevented it. Yeah, so I was there for four and a half years. And that’s basically where I learned SEO, basically. And that was when digital PR, SEO PR was just coming. It was just kind of coming on the scene. You know, a lot of Link Building was directories and forums and paid advertising. What were they called? Spotless, advertorials, and spammy Blackhat kind of ways to digital PR was kind of like a breath The fresh air. Not that many people were doing it. So, yeah, I came on board and I learned everything about PR. But I learned PR for the sake of getting that backlink. So I’m kind of the other way. And I think a lot of people a PRs who learn about SCA were actually I came in and learned the other way for SEO. And that was it from there. That’s

Chima Mmeje 20:22
a really that’s a good way to look at it. Because then you understand what is it good link? Yeah, I think that is the fundamental of any sort of PR is what constitutes as a good link, both on the value of the link for the link itself? Yep. The value of the link for visibility. Yeah, the value of the link for tourists, because you’re not just accessing the link from a PR angle, you’re looking at it, as it affects SEO?

Isa Lavahun 20:48
Yeah, you were you’re doing the two things. And that I think, was me learning about SEO, PR, we worked with a lot of PR, department departments or agencies. And there was lot of pushback when digital PR came on the scene, they were seen as the poor cousin. I mean, in a way, they still are seen as a poor cousin of PR. So PRs are very protective of like, who we could go out to who we could, because they just saw it as that’s not you know, it’s not as it’s not, it’s not PR. So we had to then align I mean, we did anyway, but digital PR has to has to align itself with a brand led campaigns to make sure that PRs wouldn’t feel like this is completely going the opposite direction of what we’re trying to do as PR. So essentially, and this is the whole thing, why I’m so passionate about digital PR, digital PR is PR it is but it’s PR with like an added bonus of kind of getting those and being strategic and getting sort of brand visibility and search visibility to and you get literally two for the price of one. I think I would say it’s very difficult.

Chima Mmeje 21:46
I think people on the route, how much efforts digital PR is put into getting brand visibility, especially like getting mentioned or like media corporations, and the rest of that, like, it is so hard. And I think they underrated, completely underrated because you can see it in the salaries that many of these agencies are offering digital prs. But

Isa Lavahun 22:08
exactly what I think the tables are turning, I think the tables have turned I think the last three, four years, there’s still traditional PRs or PR agencies still have some catching up to do. But essentially what happened and this is from experience that I’ve known in my past is that digital PR agencies are taking market share for PR agencies. So PR agencies are now like wow, okay, we need to get on board with this digital PR stuff because they’re actually taking our business. And because of that it’s become a bit more of a level playing field where traditional PR is now need to listen to digitally I need to know about search need to know about SEO, and what you were saying about salaries actually, PR if you’re coming in as a PR entry level, your salary is going to be much lower than the digital PR it’s actually the other way around.

Chima Mmeje 22:57
So PR do top us make more money there. Yeah,

Isa Lavahun 22:59
at this point in time has gone the other way digital piano is switched because the digital PR you’re gonna be getting to for the digital pianos, her brand communications, media outreach, social media content, the digital PR we are trained to do every single thing in comms for us to get like organic backlinks, whereas the PR is more about you know, branding and crisis comms and all the stuff that’s super super important. But they’re kind of there’s only kind of one output for prs. Whereas with digital PR, we literally use different umbrellas to do the thing of kind of getting authority to a website. So with literally doing ticking off loads of stuff while doing link building.

Chima Mmeje 23:40
Okay, I definitely have to ask what are some of the best websites that you have gotten to link to your clients? The ones that made you be like, give me my Oscar right?


Isa Lavahun 23:52

Okay, I would say you know, the Vogue’s the Graziano vocally Yeah, good housekeeping. Those kinds of big authoritative like massive big media publications I would say would be the ones and obviously all the national you know, whether it’s the metro or there’s


Evening Standard or dare I say it the daily as much as I love but if anything, it doesn’t it doesn’t even include follow links but it does get a lot of referral traffic. Which is annoying. I was gonna say

Chima Mmeje 24:29

it was give them a

Isa Lavahun 24:33

DM goodness. But yeah, I mean, in terms of referral traffic and reach. I mean, it’s got to be done isn’t it? Yeah. But you know, they don’t even get a scratch the devils back. It’s true. It’s true. But yeah, like, you know, that all those sort of major kind of titles is the ones that every time you see, to be honest, anytime I see any kind of link, kind of convert, it’s a good feeling because it makes you kind of thing like it’s work.


They like our content. Yes, you Yes, they’re linking to our content, because it’s so much harder now. Yes. And to say, No, when it happens, you’re like, wow, yes, it is.

Chima Mmeje 25:05

So I have two more questions for you. The first one is, at what point did you decide to live in house and start working for yourself? So why?


Isa Lavahun 25:17

So I did freelance for the first time around for five God, no, but six, seven years ago. I did. And I wanted to do it for a while. And I was like, right, I’m going freelance. And the reason being was, there’s two reasons actually, I think, as you get more senior, which naturally happens, if with the career progression, I was actually doing less of what I like doing,

Chima Mmeje 25:42

because people do those things. Yeah,

Isa Lavahun 25:45

it was people management and commercial targets, and all loads of really heavy admin stuff that honestly doesn’t interest me, like at all. So as I was, you know, as quite rightly so been been in the business good for 15 years, as you kind of go, you know, upper level and become,


you know, director level, whatever, you end up not doing the stuff that you actually love doing. So I’d say that was that. And second of all, yeah, I mean, I guess there’s a little bit of burnout where you, you know, again, you


Chima Mmeje 26:16

don’t feel creative anymore, I

Isa Lavahun 26:17
don’t feel creative anymore. A lot of pressure, as I said, I think the higher you go, and the more you get paid, the more commercial pressure is on you to kind of like you need to, it’s kind of like it, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be, but you literally then have no room to be creative and to take risk and take risk and do stuff and to do the do the stuff that I love and that I’m good at. And so that was kind of what made me kind of get into it. And I did it for a year. And then I kind of chickened out, because I was a bit nervous about not getting, I would have like three clients for like three months, and I’d be making good money, and then everything would go quiet. And like people would be like, Okay, we don’t need you anymore. Boom, that that’s the kind of, and it made me nervous. And I was like, Oh, my God, I can’t do this. anymore. I need it. I need income. Yes, exactly. So I went back into full time work. And I did that for till up to the beginning of lockdown. And then when locked down happen, I’m sure it happens for a lot of people. That time you have well also you have the time to reflect and think and I was like, right. I’m gonna go freelance. And now I haven’t got a choice, I can’t go back to full time work. This has to work for me. So that was when I made the decision. And it’s, it is going to be a slow burner, I it’s going to take me awhile for me to get to the point where I’ve got loads of clients and I’m, you know, making really good money all the time. But it’s the consistency game that I have to now I’m not now I know that I can’t, if I had continued to do freelance from six, seven years ago, I’d be in a different place now. And that everything happens for a reason. But I think it’s the consistency you need to keep going you to keep us to stay strong. You need to not get nervous and panicky when like business goes quiet, or no one’s calling you because literally, it’ll be quiet for like three weeks, and then all of a sudden, you’re happy to go, oh, we need you for this. And you’re like, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, God, thank you so much. So it’s having that it’s having the tenacity and having the consistency and also having that you need to not be nervous work will come at some point. Yes.

Chima Mmeje 28:26

I think that’s brings me to the final question I have when someone is just trying to start in Vida pa because outside of UK us.

Isa Lavahun 28:35

It’s not really no, it’s not yes.

Chima Mmeje 28:38

If someone who is living in, in Pakistan in Kenya is trying to get into digital PL Uh huh. What should they do? What did they get training from? Is there a course you recommend? How do you advise them to get into digital PA,


Isa Lavahun 28:54

I actually think people in those markets where it’s not done have got an advantage. Because if no one else is doing it, I mean, when I did the talk yesterday, my thing was, we’re now in a such digital PR is now saturated. And actually, that’s one of the issues, it’s a good thing, because we’re all doing it the way it needs to be done. But actually, because everyone’s doing it, it makes you less likely, you’re not going to rank as much because everyone else is doing it.


So actually, if you’re in a market where it’s not being done, number one, you’ve got an there’s an advantage there, too, I would say there’s loads and loads of free literally, if you just put digital PR courses, there’s loads and loads of free ones that you can look at few courses, start with all the free courses, go to any conferences that you can go to they can either free or no affordable. do loads of learning.


I would say at the same time learn things like Google Analytics, keyword research, or there’s loads of different tools that you should be using and learning and getting accustomed to because digital PR isn’t just going in about media relations.


You need to have that search data to backup everything that you’re doing to make sure the content you’re creating is relevant So I would say get yourself accustomed to the tools, train up doing loads of training courses, if you can, digital PR courses, webinars or that kind of stuff, and then start doing some search data insight for your market.


How do people search for things in Pakistan? What search engines? Do they use? All that kind of stuff? Because then you can have you have a, you have an advantage against everyone else. And when you go in looking for a job, you can be like, this is all the data I’ve got.


This is where I think you should be getting links. And in actually little markets, there’s publications, there’s more publications, and there is in the UK and US people just aren’t doing link building there in that in the digital PR way. Yes. So I’d say if you if you are in that market, use it as an as an advantage.

Chima Mmeje 30:48

So basically, it doesn’t, that’s very smart. Because if you’re in that market, and you don’t have journalists who are getting overloaded with requests, exactly, whatever you’re sending to them will basically be knew exactly,


Isa Lavahun 30:59

exactly. I mean, there’s some SEO savvy and will ask for payment, obviously, never pay for a link. And but if you’ve got enough data, always make sure that whatever you’re asking people to link to is going to help the journalists, you can’t just go Hi, we’ve created this blog post linked to it. The journalist is never going to be interested in doing that you need to be thinking about what am I offering the journalists.


So if it’s like resource, if it’s data, if it’s something they want something they want to use, or that’s going to be useful to their readers, if you have the collateral and the assets. You’re not gonna have a problem. I don’t think

Chima Mmeje 31:36

that’s good. Isa. So thank you so much for doing this has been Pastore.

Isa Lavahun 31:43

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.