So why I am introducing also a Virtual Agency? Let me explain what my plan is.
First what is the mistake all other VA does.
They think and pretend to be an agency and want to compete, give an alternative to the usual agencies like Getty, Corbis, Shutterstock and so on. However, they are not a typical agency. They are only a group of websites, Photoshelter accounts, acting and marketing themselves as an agency.
Some make beautiful HTML pages to introduce their agency with nice search buttons and social pages and so on, but when you go to the images, you are redirected to, of course, the VIRTUAL agency. And there is not a possibility to go back to their intro. To market their “agency” they create a blog publishing now and then some posts. For the SEO, they depend on their members to create links to their “agency." Sorry to say, but this is worthless.
Photoshelters' idea to create Virtual Agencies is a good concept. However, if you think to create an “agency” you are wrong. You have to use it for the reason it was created.
What I'm doing different?
As you know, I have created first a blog, Photographersselection.org. (not first an agency and then a blog, no I have created first a blog and then a Virtual agency)
This blog has only one goal: To promote the skilled professional photographer. Clear and simple.
I do this promotion with two plans the individual photographer can choose from. The basic plan gives every time the photographers writes an article two back links to their website for free. The advanced plan is payable and done by professionals, providing a lot of back links, search engine submissions, Google indexing and so on. What the photographers gain with the two plans is more visitors related to their market to their own website. That is all, I promote you by delivering you more visitors to your website.
Off course, the advanced plan delivers much, much more visitors than the basic plan. Nevertheless, I do not want to decide about someone his or her budget.
The blog, Photographersselection is the basis of my plan. The more visitors the blog has, the more credibility the members will have, read the more value each back link to your website has. That is a fact in SEO techniques. Most blogs related with virtual agencies on Photoshelter have 400 to 800 visitors a month because they update their blog two maybe six times a month. My blog is updated 4 to 10 times a day resulting in more than 12.000 visitors in Februari and now April 20.785 visitors already. (7 pages/visit and bounce rate 22%)
When I examine Google Analytics, I can only conclude that a lot of visitors use the search button and are directed from Google, Bing, Yahoo to our blog with search strings about pictures, photos, images. They are searching pictures, our product. So why not use this?
So I have created a Virtual Agency, which I will promote as a “Virtual” agency, not as a regular one.
The VA will function as an extra window to the members' websites. The goal of the VA will be the same as the blog. Promoting professional photography by directing more visitors to the individual websites of the members. The benefit I explain in all communications to the end user will be “As a designer or publisher you will deal directly with the photographers.
Dealing directly with the artist has some advantages that a regular agency cannot offer.
First of all, you can find high-quality images with no agency commission to be paid.
Secondly, you are able to get in contact with the artists yourself to discuss changes or even ask for a unique image to be made especially for you. Click the contact button next to a selected photo to discuss your exact needs with the photographer. “
Besides the benefits I make it very clear that it is not a usual agency, however a group of individuals: “Photographers’ Selection only allows a small group of professional photographers with impeccable skills to show their work. These are photographers of different niches; however, all have outstanding quality. It is a group of very talented individuals making pictures that sets them apart from amateurs.“
The use of the VA will be optional plus free and is concluded in the two marketing plans. It is obvious that the payable plan members will have more benefit because they will have more articles on other websites linking to their website.