Scaling Content for Niche & Authority Sites

I got laid off in a couple years ago. It was a surprise after working at the same company for nine years.

All signs pointed to a stable job — I even got great performance reviews.

A year later I was free from the job I hated, but I needed to grow my Amazon Affiliate income faster.

I decided to scale — accelerate — the content on my niche site. I proved the Keyword Golden Ratio worked after months of testing.

So I went big.

  • I published about 200 posts in five months. (Total cost: $4,000)
  • I outsourced about 95% of the content work, instead focusing on managing the system.
  • Revenue grew from about $100 in January 2016 to $14,000+ in December 2016.

This is Part 3 of the Content Series For Niche and Authority Sites. I’ll talk about scaling and how to scale your content efforts.

You’ll learn:

  • When you should scale.
  • A Lean content team org chart – My Modular Team.
  • Checklist for Content Managers/Editors.
  • The #1 thing that saved me about 24,360 minutes in 2016.

When Should You Scale?

Probably later than you think. We hear our role models talk about scaling and think we need to scale.

But we usually hear from our role models after they have years of experience or they’ve been working on a project for a while.

We try to scale on day 30 when we should scale on day 300.

If you’re considering scaling your content efforts, you should make sure you’re ready for it. Here are three tips:

  1. Your site should have stable traffic and revenue. So when you start focusing on just content, your site will be stable.
  2. If you don’t have any traffic, you probably need to focus on the basics, like keyword research and outreach. You should have about 100 visitors a day minimum before scaling, and there’s no harm in waiting till you have 100s of visitors a day.
  3. If you don’t have the budget, then you should wait until you can afford it. You have way more time than you think. Patience is key.

Team Building Grow Slowly

Each person you hire creates more communication channels in the organization.

If you haven’t built a team before, like at your day job, then you should start slow.

Grow your team slowly. The biggest mistake you can make is to create and grow a team faster than you can manage them.

The last thing you want is to be MORE stressed out when you were trying to REDUCE stress. It’s usually easier to hire people than to manage them.

Remember that things will go wrong. Your plan will get crushed by some unexpected event.

If you have built a team before in a corporate setting, and I have, then you’ll know building a team may create problems faster than it solves them.

I helped grow a team from about 40 to over 100.

I helped with onboard new employees, including developing and improving the 70 page on-boarding document. (I worked to reduce the length of the on-boarding doc, by the way, favoring a minimalist approach.)

Each person you hire creates more communication channels in the organization. Even if you are the main point of contact and the team members don’t talk to each other, you still have to interface with each person.

So trust me when I say to grow slowly. And I’ll give you an exact model to follow below.

The Content Team Org Chart

Again and again I favor simplicity over the complex.

You could have a deep org chart and managers to delegate tasks.

But instead I prefer a flat organization.

I have two roles that I hire for:

  • Writer
  • Content Manager/Editor

They both report to me, the Project Manager. I’ve had as many as three content managers and 12 writers working with me at one time.

Normally, I just have one content manager and three writers. The great part with this model for a team is that it can grow fast, if needed. And the team can disband fast, too.

Here is a good model to follow as you start a team and want to grow it.

Phase 1

  • Team:
    • Hire one writer.
    • You serve as the Content Manager/Editor.
  • Timeframe: 1 weeks.

Phase 2

  • Team:
    • Hire 2-3 writers.
    • Attempt to promote 1 writer to a Content Manager/Editor.
  • Timeframe: 1-2 weeks.

Phase 3

  • Team:
    • There are 2-4 writers.
    • The Content Manager/Editor works through the content by the writers and learns the process.
  • Timeframe: 1-2 weeks.

Phase 4

  • Team:
    • Hire as many writers as needed to fill your content needs and fitting the capacity of the Content Manager/Editor. So if the Content Manager/Editor can work with you 10 hours per week and each writer completes two articles per week, then you need 5 writers.
    • The Content Manager/Editor works through the content by the writers.
  • Timeframe: 1-2 weeks.

Phase 5

  • Team:
    • Hire as many writers and Content Manager/Editor as needed to fill your content needs.
  • Timeframe: 1-2 weeks, ongoing

Keep in mind that there will be turn over in all positions for various reasons so you’ll have to hire more people. Don’t be surprised when writers and VAs just disappear.

The flexibility in hiring freelancers is great, but that means they can disappear as fast as they appear.

Let Writers and Editors Work in WordPress

For a long time, I asked writers and editors do all their work in Google Docs. I didn’t want to let anyone into my WordPress account — it felt too vulnerable.

But once I gave my team access to WordPress, I was able to step away more and let them work.

You can give different levels of access for WP.

Normally, the writers get Author roles/permissions and the content manager/editor gets Editor roles/permissions. Be sure you understand what access you’re giving and what it really means.

My content team exploded with productivity once I gave them access to the site in WordPress. I was the bottleneck in the process so once I got out of the way things went great.

Saving 24,360 Minutes in 2016

I hired one for a role that totally changed the trajectory of the site I’ve been telling you about. It saved me over one hour for each piece of content.

The Content Manager.

It took me about an hour to an hour and a half to editor and draft a single post for my niche site.

  • I felt like I had to do that work myself.
  • I felt like I couldn’t teach someone how to do all the little steps.
  • I felt like I needed to have the control.

I was the bottleneck in the process so I had to do something.

The Content Manager Checklist

Several people ask me about what my content manger does. They want the checklist.

You should figure out what works best for you and your team. But here is what the content manager/editor does for me:

  • Edit article
    • Style guidelines – formatting, structure, font, voice, etc…
    • Grammar
    • Spelling
  • Upload content from Google Docs
  • Draft in WP
  • Add backlinks to other external sites
  • Add affiliate links to Amazon
  • Find a 1-3 relevant images from a stock photo site
  • Find a 1 relevant video from YouTube

It doesn’t look like much but it adds up if you have dozens of posts being published in a month.

Outsource It All

You can hire someone to do it all. If scaling by building your own team sounds like a stressful situation, then working with a full service company may be the right choice for you.

I’m an affiliate for three of these services so I get a commission if you use my link. No pressure, though…

I know the people personally that run the services above and I trust them. I’ve either used the services personally or talked to multiple people that have. Each of them are very good to excellent in terms of quality and formatting.

I prefer building my own team because I do like the control, plus, it’s cheaper. I won’t tell you it’s easy, because it’s not, but it puts me in the driver’s seat using skills that I have.

Go Publish Content

I covered everything. You know what I know. You have the templates, too.

If you don’t have a budget, then write it yourself and use the RPM & FAQ techniques.

If you have a budget, then hire people. When you ironed out the wrinkles in your team and system, scale your content efforts by adding more writers and a content manager.

Questions?

Ask in the comments below.

Check out my YouTube Channel for tutorials and demos.
Subscribe on YouTube here.
14 comments… add one
  • Vikas Yadav

    How is the Hoth mega mini package?
    For 1000$?
    It would give definitely positive results?

    • Vikas, I’ve never used that one, but I’d say you need more than that for actually ranking. Test it out and see how it works for you. (I’d give a longer answer but you asked a link building question on a content post… ?)

  • john wick

    very useful post Doug, I hired people only for writing, not a manager, due to budget, so all manager works are done myself with care, it is one kind of practice how I want to present my content and learn.

    Doug could you give me a template for outreach process

    and how do build backlinks for your niche sites?

    Thanks for wonderful post Doug.

  • Sarah

    Hey Doug – if you’re in that under 100 visitors a day mark, is it more important to improve existing live content wherever possible OR start publishing more content? This is assuming outreach is being taken care of. Thanks.

    • Sarah, It depends on how old the content is on a post by post basis.

      So I’d give at least 2 months for a post to settle out before going and improving it.

      I sorta favor the volume approach of publishing a lot, then coming back to it after 2 – 6 months…that’s just a personal preference though.

  • Super timely, Doug! I literally woke up thinking about this topic and your email was in my inbox! This is the exact next step I will be taking. The writers are in place and I’ve realized the bottle neck is me uploading the content and adding links, etc. Time to follow these steps and create more flow …

  • Great tips Doug. Been following this since I started reading about the site you recently sold – and it shows how publishing more great content can grow a site big time.

  • This is so helpful. It’s daunting knowing where to start with outsourcing and knowing who to trust. It’s all about value for money and like you said letting go somewhat. I’m in that spot. Trying to do it all, but there’s not enough of me to go round. My plan has been to generate income first to be able to outsource. But…It’s a slow train coming. A catch 22. You’ve given some useful leads. thanks.

    • Mary-Anne, yup. I know what you mean.
      I still struggle with the same stuff as you – just a little different level. If you’re patient, you’ll be able to get revenue in to reinvest.

  • Great stuff as always Doug. I am most certainly the bottleneck in my business and it can be difficult for me to scale properly while ensuring quality control is there.

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