monthly organic visits from The Blogsmith articles
focus keywords ranking on Top 3 positions from The Blogsmith articles
focus keywords ranking on Top 10 positions from The Blogsmith articles
As an innovative tech startup, Hourly was tasked with the challenge of building a strong online presence with a lean in-house team. Hourly set out to create a blog that provided business advice and expertise for its target audience with content written by a team of freelance writers.
One of those freelancers was Maddy Osman, who brought along her own team and agency, The Blogsmith. By working together, The Blogsmith provides high-quality articles for Hourly’s blog while also bringing in its search engine optimization (SEO) expertise and offering extra value, like the ability to help Hourly scale its content production.
Here’s how Hourly found the right agency to complement its freelance writing team and leverage content to boost its brand visibility.
- Sought high-quality freelancers who would quickly adopt the brand’s tone
- Lower search engine results page (SERP) visibility due to being a new blog
- Finding expert content creators with SEO knowledge
- Partner with SEO strategy and content agency
- Create consistent publishing schedule
- Leverage SEO best practices for blog posts
- Articles by The Blogsmith contribute more than 40K monthly organic traffic visits
- 26 articles by The Blogsmith ranked in Top 3 SERP results for the target keyword
- 55 articles by The Blogsmith ranked in Top 10 SERP results for the target keyword
Hourly is a full-service payroll and workers’ comp platform that offers pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance for small businesses.
Its model uses real-time time tracking and wage data to make workers’ comp premiums accurate, so there’s no audit surprises at the end of the year.
Hourly’s blog provides advice to small business owners on various topics ranging from tax and insurance regulations to business budgeting and payroll compliance.
The team in charge of marketing includes Ben Harborne, Head of Marketing, who focuses on branding and awareness, and Ali Littman, Editor-in-Chief, who manages the brand’s team of freelance writers, conducts keyword research, and plans the editorial calendar
Growing an SEO-Powered Blog From Scratch
Hourly launched its blog in March 2020.
Hourly’s goal for the blog was to generate brand awareness and attract more customers. Hourly had explored other digital marketing strategies like paid ads but ultimately decided that focusing on content marketing was going to suit the brand the best.
“Content marketing is much more cost-effective than advertising, which is why we do it,” Ben said. “It’s one of the biggest marketing activities for us, and so it gets the most resources.”
In the beginning, the team used SEO keyword research to inform the blog posts, but they hadn’t defined an overall content strategy or figured out how to scale production.
At that point, Hourly had a clear vision of a blog that ranked high on SERPs, increased brand awareness, and generated qualified leads.
But to achieve that vision, Ben knew they needed to be doing more with the blog. “We were publishing two articles a week and wanted to increase that to gain more credibility with search engines.”
In particular, Hourly had the following goals:
- Publish more consistently and scale the blog
- Increase organic traffic to the website
- Secure a large number of keywords ranking on page one
- Create and maintain standards for creating high-quality content
Finding the Right Partners To Achieve Its Content Production Goals
To achieve its blog goals, Hourly employs a team of freelance writers to support its content writing process.
Working with multiple writers gives the blog a bigger range of voices and variety. However, finding high-quality business and financial content writers proved difficult.
According to Ben, “We wanted a stable of really good writers we could depend on in order to keep up our publishing pace, but getting good quality writers is always a bit of a challenge.”
Even after finding skilled finance writers for the team, there’s still an onboarding period. Ali explained, “The biggest challenge is that you’re training frequently. You’re training new writers to write to your standards and in your voice and tone.”
Since Hourly’s blog includes a significant amount of regulatory and financial content, the brand sets high-quality standards for its writers.
As Ben explained further, “We have a pretty strict review process to ensure everything we publish is accurate. At first, we had an extra step of having subject matter experts review the piece, and now we’re looking for content writers with expert backgrounds.”
For Hourly, bringing in freelancers with experience in financial copywriting was one step toward simplifying project management for the blog.
Initially, Ben saw Maddy Osman as an author on the Gusto blog and in other Google searches. From there, he connected with her and decided to add her agency as one of the contributors to Hourly’s blog.
An Agency That Supports Flexibility and Scale
In the beginning, Hourly hired The Blogsmith to deliver two blog posts per month. After it was clear The Blogsmith provided consistent, high-quality content in Hourly’s style, the team felt comfortable leaning on the agency to create more content.
Eventually, Hourly’s strategy shifted to increasing content production without sacrificing quality. During the change, The Blogsmith adjusted its level of content writing services, ranging from one or two writing jobs in some months and four to five in others.
Because it has multiple writers on its team, The Blogsmith is able to meet the varying monthly needs of clients. And with multiple quality assurance processes in place and a team of editors, The Blogsmith can still ensure each piece meets the high standard.
Over time, The Blogsmith has grown to be one of the highest-volume contributors to Hourly’s blog. According to Ben, having consistent, reliable content production from The Blogsmith enables him to keep flexible arrangements with Hourly’s individual writers while still scaling the blog.
Hourly engaged The Blogsmith on a retainer plan, which started at 2,000 words per month. That number jumped to 12,000 words one month when Hourly needed extra support. Hourly has since found its sweet spot at 6,000 words per month.
While working with individual writers involves a degree of uncertainty, adding a content agency to its roster gives Hourly more consistency.
“The Blogsmith is extremely reliable, and I know that we will get four articles every month, and they’ll be on time and high quality,” Ali said.
She also found that The Blogsmith’s team can support a wide variety of topics that fall under finance content writing. That is especially helpful when she wants to expand the blog into new areas but doesn’t have a subject matter expert available.
“The Blogsmith has been very receptive to covering any new topics that we need written.”
Ali further explained that she can rely on The Blogsmith to meet Hourly’s high standards every time, even when moving into more complex financial topics.
“Accuracy is one of the best qualities of The Blogsmith drafts. Our expert reviewers typically have very few things to add or change. I don’t have to worry about errors in really technical pieces.”
SEO Content Leads to 331 First Position Rankings and 227 Featured Snippets
Hourly’s individual writers have excellent writing skills, and many have real experience in the financial services industry. That being said, understanding how to optimize blogs and website content for search algorithms is typically a separate skill.
So, it falls to Ali to provide SEO training. With The Blogsmith, that isn’t something she worries about.
“Not all individual writers have a working knowledge of SEO, but that’s something we get working with an agency like The Blogsmith.”
She explained further, “SEO is top of mind with The Blogsmith. They pay attention to details like headers, and the writers proactively suggest sections that will improve SEO.”
Working with an SEO-oriented content agency takes one more item off Ali’s plate and empowers her to allocate her resources elsewhere, such as editorial planning or keyword research.
As a result of working with The Blogsmith, Ali has also noticed a tangible improvement in Hourly’s visibility on SERPs and the brand’s organic traffic metrics.
“The Blogsmith’s articles consistently perform well and get picked up by Google really fast.”
Consistently publishing search-optimized content has given Hourly a strong competitive advantage by securing more real estate on SERPs.
In 2022, articles from The Blogsmith contributed to page one ranking (positions 1-10) for 2,821 keywords. Included in those top 10 positions are first position ranking for 331 keywords and the featured snippet spot for 227 keywords.
top 10 ranking keywords
top 1 ranking keywords
featured snippet results
Ali appreciates that she can rely on The Blogsmith for both reliable delivery and tangible results.
Articles from The Blogsmith generated 24% of Hourly’s organic traffic in 2022. Also, in 2022, The Blogsmith averaged roughly 32,000 monthly organic visitors. For the period of November 2022 through January 2023, The Blogsmith brought in an estimated 45,000 monthly visitors or 31% of Hourly’s traffic during that time.
Working with an agency that specializes in SEO has also provided Hourly with access to valuable insights and expertise. Specifically, The Blogsmith has worked with Hourly to fine-tune the team’s keyword strategy and identify content refresh opportunities within their previously published posts.
By partnering with The Blogsmith, Hourly was able to significantly increase content production, rank in top positions for relevant keywords, and create a reliable source of organic traffic.
Furthermore, working with an agency empowered Hourly to create more consistency in its content marketing strategy while still being able to get a variety of voices from having several freelance writers.
When asked about her experience working with the agency, Ali said, “They’re one of our top contributors, and we’re really picky. I would definitely recommend The Blogsmith.”
If you’re ready to take your brand’s blog to the next level and generate more consistent SEO results, get in touch with The Blogsmith today.