Want to hear how a first-time niche site builder is succeeding in the finance niche… in less than 24 months?
Sammie Ellard King sits down with Niche Pursuits podcast host Jared Bauman to share his journey of building a personal finance brand.
Sammie's background is in hospitality marketing, but when Covid hit, he had to reconsider his future. So, he took the opportunity to dive into online business and started developing a brand centered around his true passion.
Sammie's approach goes beyond just building a website. Perhaps thanks to his traditional marketing background, he's building an entire ecosystem with a website, podcast, YouTube, and social media presence.
He's choosing a long-term approach, aiming for a 5 to 10-year project.
And Sammie's brand, Up the Gains, has already started to see success from this strategy.
The site has over 50,000 monthly visits, podcast sponsorship, and a growing YouTube channel.
And today, he walks us through the process of how he's able to scale all of these simultaneously.
For his blog, one of his top priorities is user experience. He wants to make personal finance more accessible. So, he prioritizes incorporating visual elements, infographics, and simplified language to engage his audience.
To choose topics, Sammie conducts competitor analysis and covers multiple categories simultaneously, focusing on building topical authority through hub pages.
He also discusses the importance of link-building in this niche which includes digital PR, creating stat articles with unique data, and podcasting. And he highlights podcasting as being particularly valuable for attracting links, leveraging social media audiences, and attracting sponsors.
Sammie also discusses how embedding original YouTube videos improves rankings and attracts organic links.
And of course, email marketing also plays a significant role in driving affiliate revenue for Sammie's brand.
Looking ahead, Sammie plans to scale the website by optimizing affiliate revenue, expanding content, and leveraging different channels.
This is a great interview with a very smart and strategic marketer managing to quickly succeed in a competitive niche. Don't miss it!
Watch The Interview
Topics Sammie Ellard-King Covers
- His history in hospitality
- How he got into niche sites
- His long history in entrepreneurship
- Building a finance brand
- Scaling a content ecosystem
- His content creation process
- Setting a strong content foundation
- Building hub pages
- Website flow
- His approach to brand-building
- Link building
- Digital PR strategies
- Adding original YouTube videos to blog posts
- The various pros of repurposing content
- Creating lead magnets by categories
- Digital products
- Future plans
- And a whole lot more…
Links & Resources
Jared: Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman. Today we are joined by Sammy Ellard King. Sammy, welcome to the podcast. Thanks, Jared.
Sammie: It's good to be here, man.
Jared: It is great to have you. And I know that we've been working on this for a little while now. I'm glad to have you. We're going to hear your story about your website that you're growing and that has been growing quite a bit.
I you know, we always like to ask though, like give us a backstory, catch us up to some of your past history, who you are, and then, then we'll dive in.
Sammie: Yeah, for sure. I am. I'm not your typical niche site SEO. I've sort of come a different route to to what most people would say. I studied music production and did university course in that and then fell into hospitality marketing at a very young age.
My whole family's in the business. My jazz, my, my grandfather runs jazz clubs, my dad runs restaurants, my mom runs bars. So like it's ingrained in me. So I sort of fell into that because it was where I felt most at home. And yeah, I felt like I could add a little bit of value. And I built myself up to be one of the youngest heads of marketing in the UK at just 25.
And then really went on a kind of Up spree into sort of director level running big hospitality groups. And then I've transitioned out and really it was COVID that hit me. I always knew that I wanted to start my own business and I had that aha moment that I think a lot of us had realized it wasn't filling up my heart in the same way and started a personal finance brand and then was writing blogs.
Found actually the Niche Pursuits podcast and Niche Website Builders podcast. And then I was like, wow, these guys are making some serious cash and I had to dial in, man. So here we are.
Jared: I've got to imagine your marketing background has had an impact on building websites, but at the same time you kind of had, I, well, let's see, how do I say this politely?
At 25, you're ahead of marketing. Like you had kind of perhaps the world at your fingertips in the marketing world. I'm sure it's helped, but like, talk about that transition and why you felt. Strongly enough that you want to run your own business given your, your success early on.
Sammie: I've side hustled and run my own businesses since I was 15 years old.
I had a drop shipping clothing business at 15, 16. I, I started my own events company with my first student loan. So I didn't go out and spend it like everybody else. I still spent it for sure, but I spent the profits of the business. That we had. So I've always been entrepreneurial. I just never figured out what it was that I really wanted to do.
I think that was it happens to so many of us in our 20s. And then we just like we have to get a job because you know, we can't live at home anymore. You know, mom, dad, and I come on, son out the door. Kind of thing to me. I was quite independent. I moved out really early and, you know, I need to pay my rent, so I had to get a job doing something and hospitality really came so naturally to me.
I was, you know, in jazz clubs and restaurants from the age of five after school, just put in that environment. So as I said, like super felt at home and like added a lot of value and early because I came at it with, you know, it takes probably what I picked up in my younger years. It takes people 20, 30 years in the industry to pick up.
Being around and being in that environment. So I had a leg up which certainly served me well in my younger years for sure. And yeah, the transition really was because, you know, I I suppose it was more of a, of a feeling that I had something else to give. I knew I was working for somebody else you know, in my twenties and then I went into business with friends of mine.
And we started a hospitality group just before COVID kicked off and. You know, I loved it. It was great fun, but I just think at that reset moment for me was so massive and it just all came out and I realized that I've been helping people invest and and learn about finances outside of that family, friends.
I had, I set up a WhatsApp group in COVID and that kicked off. It had like 250 people in it, which was the max you could have in a WhatsApp group at the time. And I just was like, if you guys got no place to go. And they, they were like, no, like, you know, there's Martin Lewis in the UK, who's kind of the biggest personal finance guy.
But they found him not as relatable and wasn't talking about some of the subjects that they really wanted to hear about. You know, he's much more broad personal finance. I kind of come at it from a making money side hassles and investing stance. And they're like, Look, we don't really have any to go.
So I was like, bang business idea. And that for me was like my kind of calling. Because I was confident speaking about it. I was doing these things outside in my my day to day. So I started a business, a brand. And You know, website. I knew I needed a website, of course, and I'd had teams building websites for me in the past.
I've had SEO agencies. We had an extreme focus on local SEO was a massive part of my marketing strategy to build out these big hospitality groups. They know they're multi multi million pound groups now that we've built from scratch. And so, you know, I knew about SEO, but I just didn't understand Like the, I'd never gone and done the hard work myself.
You know, I had always been told about, you know, we're great. We're ranking for X amount of keywords. We're building links into these sites, et cetera. So I knew the nuts and the small bits, but I'd never done it. And that was a big eye opener for me. And that was the transition,
Jared: man. There's some, there's some similarities to our stories.
It's funny. I have to call it out. Like at my first company that I ran. I didn't do any SEO. I hired it out to someone and they had a lot of success. And that was really what opened my eyes to SEO. This is the mid two thousands, of course, but I was like, Oh, this, this stuff really works, we're getting business at my next company.
I had a director of marketing. So SEO was a part of our strategy and I was much more involved in it, but I wasn't doing it myself. It wasn't until I left that and started building sites on my own that I discovered how much I liked doing a lot of it and then also managing it. So it's interesting. And I want to ask you about that because.
You know, like as we, as we start to get into your website, which I'll give you the chance to share it and talk a bit more about it foundationally, but you chose a website in the personal finance niche, which is probably regarded as one of the more difficult niches, like As you started to transition into building the website of it and what we'll call competitive research niche analysis, those sorts of things.
Were you already kind of all the way in the idea and you're like, Hey, I'm going to make a go at this because this is what I'm passionate about. And I'll just have to figure out a way to get around the competition. Or did you actually look at the competition as a part of discovering that this is what you wanted to do?
Sammie: It's a great question. I don't see this. I saw this is a brand and the website is a partial part of that brand. And when I realized I needed to content at scale to be able to develop the amount of traffic that I wanted to come in bound, that was only once then that I actually found out that YMYL was a thing and that I'd actually chosen possibly the hardest niche that I could possibly ever go into.
And I was like, Oh man, what have I done here? But I was way too far down the road. I'd built the brand. I had the ideas. I had the rollout. I knew what I was going to do, launch the podcast, not launch the YouTube after I'd built the SEO up and I had it all mapped out. So I just thought, well, if I'm going to make a go at this and be the personal finance guy in the UK, then I've got to do it.
And so, yeah, I just had to, had to just. Grin and bear it. Really? Yeah. And try and get round the competition and try and be better than them. 'cause that's what I was gonna do anyway. So be I if I want to be the best. That for me was, was fine. Whatever niche I'm operating in, essentially.
Jared: I think something we're gonna keep coming back to today in the interview is this idea that you're building more than a website and it's clear from our talking points and kind of working with you to create the agenda for today.
Really, when you, and I just want to call it out for listeners, like when you say the website is only a part of what you're building, you really do mean that. And like you have this whole, this whole comprehensive strategy, maybe from a high level, let's talk about the, the, the brand itself. And if you can share where it's at right now, and then we'll start unpacking how you built it.
It's always nice for people to get an idea for where it's at today. So people can kind of start to understand in the process you went through.
Sammie: Yeah, of course. So really, I registered the business 24 months ago, started taking it very seriously from 18 months ago, I would say 18 months is where we're at in terms of a content ramp up on the website side of stuff.
It's, it's really a 12 month thing, really, once I actually understood what the hell I was doing, and I had a framework that was, that was workable. And but I see this as Essentially, when people were on Google and they're searching for their blog readers, that's a portion and a chunk of how people like to consume their information.
People like listening and they like watching. So if you're listening, watching and reading. If I was only operating with an SEO strategy, I'm very much pigeonholing myself into one portion of that. So I knew that I needed to operate on multiple variables. I knew the power of social media, especially with with personal finance.
But with anything, really, if people are interested in that niche, they will find you. If you're creating great content there. And I understood the value of creating an ecosystem. Which was centered around a hub, which is the website, which is where everything is driven into. So essentially, all of those things are there as a support system for that for that website.
Now, what that does is essentially what I found out in terms of the irons of Google is it gives you a ton of authority because you're coming at this from different areas. You're also creating multiple traffic sources and essentially being able to Bring people in from all walks of life where they like to operate in people.
I know friends of mine only sit on Instagram. They don't even go on YouTube. I know vice versa. I know people that only consume podcasts, don't listen to blogs. I know both. And so I want them all. How do I get them all? I've got to be where they are. So we've got to build out all of those channels. And I understand that this is a 5 to 10 year project for me.
I'm not trying to. Come at this from you know, I, I need to make money in 12 months. I want everything to slowly work together to create really what I call a snowball or a juggernaut effect. And we've had some great results and we're on 52, 000 sessions on the website. 280 articles. We have had some support there to create these articles.
We've we've probably farmed out about 25% of it to writers or agencies, as you would call it, but heavily edited by myself and added personal opinion to that all ghost written. And yeah, the website's doing. What I would say quite well, really, it's mid four figures at the moment and the podcast has just got his first sponsorship in which is not included in that revenue and with growing the, the the YouTube channel actively at the moment, it's very early stages, but you know, it's, it's all, well, I'm, we're, we're ahead of where I thought I was going to be so I'm, I'm, I'm very happy with where it's going at the
Congratulations. I mean, you just rifled through. Website, a podcast, you know, YouTube and socials, like that's the sign of a well, a mature brand, to be fair. And you're doing all that within the first 12 to 18 months. Is this your full time gig or are you still involved in hospitality
Sammie: at all? So yeah, I very recently if you if you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I announced it was a it was a it was a big day for me.
I sold my shares in the business about three months ago. And so I've been full time. I do a bit of consultancy on the side, which is coming to an end now as well. So yeah, full time gig. It's my baby. I absolutely love it. I have a couple of other little niche sites on the side, but really they're just kind of a little bit of fun.
But yeah, I'm just testing stuff on those sites really before I put it on the big one, really. So, yeah.
Jared: Well, congratulations. I did see that, but I wanted to give you a chance to share it and you know, so all right, let's, let's get into it. Let's roll up our sleeves here. I can tell that with your background in marketing and your, Ferocious appetite for tackling so many things under this brand.
Like we're gonna get a lot we're gonna get a lot out of this. I think from the outset, let me ask you. How do you, how do you split your time up? How do you decide where to put your time and energy? How do you create content on all these platforms? What's the, what's, what's the approach you take? And again, someone who's sitting there thinking about the fact that they only have a website.
How do I add other additional channels like a YouTube, like maybe a pod? Like, I want to get into your head about how you actually brainstorm at all and how you actually spend your time to, to do all these different things about the brand.
Sammie: It's a really great question. I, I, I sort of touched on it earlier, but you know, for example, the YouTube, we've just started that now.
That's at 18 months in. I just said a lot of different channels, a lot of different things. And it can be overwhelming for people when they look at it because they're like, Oh my God, like I could do Pinterest. I could do Instagram. I could do tick tock. I could do all of these things. And actually that can be quite detrimental.
If you do do that, if you go kind of all at it in one go I like to. Build a system and a framework and feel comfortable that that one channel is operating at its highest, highest efficiency and that I can delegate it down to say a VA or I can bring on freelance support to help with that. And that is something that we did.
You know, I brought a VA on six months ago. It's been an absolute game changer for me because it has allowed me to scale up and do different channels, which I really wanted to do. So we started with the website. We very quickly sort of six to eight months moved into the podcast because I was getting some traction with the website and I had the frameworks of the content and the content plan and the keyword research and the strategy for the scale up of that content all done.
So for me, I was like ready to launch something else and I really thought the podcast was going to take a long time to build. So I knew that that was going to be something that we had to we had to start if we really wanted to sort of. Start seeing some traction within sort of a year's time. And so I'm all about systems and frameworks and once they're nailed down, we can then start to add and scale on top of that.
Jared: Does it start with an idea for an article? Does it start with keyword research and then from there move into, Oh, that could be a YouTube video. Oh, that could be a podcast episode. Or does it start differently? Like, does it start with you? Maybe on a podcast talking about something, seeing traction and then saying, we'll go research that topic and see what keywords are there.
Like, where does it start? Where does the ideation start for you?
Sammie: Yeah, it's a, that's a really good question. I think a lot of it has to be down to competitor analysis, and I think that has to come into every single aspect of business that you ever do. If you're going to start a business, you need to know your competitors and your landscape.
Inside out before you jump in. That's paramount number one if you're going to be starting a business. So looking at their topics and what they're focusing on, understanding what's ranking clearly for them, where they're getting traffic. I know a lot of keyword metrics are skewed, but you can kind of get a good idea.
We built the website very differently to perhaps some niche site SEOs we will teach you to do. We built the hubs first. So, we built the bigger like what is and the investing hub, the side hustle hub and the mortgages hub first and the best of pages first. So the key money pages first and then we built the supporting content out from from there.
A lot of sort of blogs will say, you know, get 30 40 lower low keywords and long tail keywords. Out the out the gate first. And yes, that works as a strategy. It's not a strategy that doesn't work. But for me, where I'm looking at this from a five to 10 year mind frame, I knew the hubs were going to be the most important thing and where they were going to generate the most amount of revenue over the long term.
So we started with the almost what I call the foundations, knowing that that was going to take four to five months worth of work. Okay. Seeing zero traffic, nothing coming in, but it was important to get the framework. Right. And then we've built on top of that, adding layers from there, essentially. The
Jared: concept of yeah, I love that you brought this up because this is a common thing that we, we kind of talk about here on the podcast.
It's a common strategy to go after very low competition keywords. As a result, though, you can oftentimes. We'll say not put a focus on topical authority, maybe as a result, you don't stay in tight silos because you're kind of like, well, I'm personal finance. Oh, there's a cool topic on, on mortgages that no one's written about.
I'll write that. Oh, there's a good topic on budgeting that no one's written about. You get a little more of a scattered approach, but you tend to rank quicker because they're low competition. You went the opposite approach. Why'd you, like, why was that? You, you, you, you kind of alluded to it, but I'm just curious.
Why did you go after that? Maybe if you could compare the results that might have been versus the other approach, the low competition approach, it's hard to do because you didn't go that way. But I'm just curious, like so many people don't start that way. You chose to start that way.
Sammie: Yeah, I think it's more my, my mindset of my delayed gratification really with this, because I understood.
That to build this. If you look at some of the biggest personal finance sites like your nerd wallets and your money saving experts, etc. Their hub pages are where all of the activity comes from. Some people come into the site and then they funnel out and they search you by brand name. So I knew that the brand name was something that we had to build out.
We had to get out there with digital PR with Myself, just a personal brand building that up so people understood and they search for up the gains when they want money content. And if they come into the site like that, then they need to funnel into the hubs to understand, to get what they want out of that.
And so that was why I did that. And because I had a very, you know, a very good business that was just doing very well. I didn't need the money immediately to start making off ads from, you know, Eurozoics, etc. From day one. So I took the longer term approach for that and then built out from there. It's a, yeah, interesting way of thinking.
I probably would have done better in terms of like building up subscribers to the mailing list, etc. Earlier, that is probably something definitely would have happened with more traffic, you know, you know, but I was new and I thought that was the right way to go. So it's paying off
Jared: now. I'm not saying it's not.
Yeah, I'm intrigued by it. I'm very intrigued by it because you'd certainly there's a case we made. It's a longer path to success, but perhaps a lot more long term. It's more scalable from what you create. So it's just interesting to hear you talk about it. A second question on that note. Maybe if you could like share with us what a hub page looks like.
Because I again. A lot of people think of hub pages sometimes synonymously with category pages. And you're putting a lot of effort into your hub pages to make them a resource you actually want people to land on. You actually want people to go to from SERP results. You've actually studied competition.
That's where NerdWallet drives a lot of their traffic. A lot of people build out hub pages, but it's just gateways, right? They're just kind of gateways to funnel people through and links. To, to pass link equity and stuff. So how are you building out your hub pages and what types of things are you putting on this type of a, of a page?
Sammie: So for example, let's take like the investors Academy. So we have. You, you, you land in, there'll be certain levels of content, which people can then funnel through. So your level one, level two, level three, to kind of get themselves starting from what is a stock right through to picking your first investing app, and then what happens after that.
So this is kind of a funnel that you can take them through and on obviously each page is interconnected and interlinked, so it's very easy for them to navigate through to the next one. I still have a ton of work to do on this, by the way, in terms of, you know, making it a better place. The end of the vision for the site is really what you if you click the side hustle buttons at the top, it explains what a side hustle is, and then you can funnel through to relevant content or top performing content essentially from there.
That's the next phase for us is to get a lot, lot better at that. But that's really the mindset that I want to have with this site.
Jared: What other tips do you have for people who are looking to adopt your mindset for their website? This mindset of what's the next step in their journey? Yeah.
Sammie: It's, it's a good one.
Like I see this as well as like, it helps with your topical authority essentially by having the hub because you can very quickly, instead of having a home homepage blog role, you have multiple areas of the site that almost like sub websites themselves really. And essentially that just allows you to then.
Package all of yours. Let's say side hustle content into one section of the site, which is very easily accessible from the homepage, essentially, and it just allows that the structure of the website to build out quite naturally rather than it being categories all over the places and very large navigation systems, which can get quite confusing to the user and eat and they don't find the information that they want to find.
So I wanted to try and keep it as simplistic as possible. Okay. By doing that and allowing the user to come through and essentially find what they want to find as quickly as possible, which is obviously helpful for ranking signals to. So, yeah, that's really my goal with this. You know, I understand that we've got a lot of work to do to try and make the flow of the site better.
You know, I was a I I'm completely self taught on this in terms of building the sites out and I but I really want the visual aspects of the sites to be, you know, a large part of what we do. So I'm not just a theme out the box. I've completely revamped it all. Everything is bespoke built. And the site is actually I'm happy to talk about is called up the gains.
And it's it's up the gains. co. uk. If you want to quickly go and have a little look at that. But you'll see what I mean. Because It's it's everything is designed to give the user a visual experience as well as the information that they want to and that's a large part of what I'm hoping to do with this brand because personal finance can be so boring and so cluttered with jargon, ego and you know, and a lot of it is, you know, your CFPs and Accountants and, and, you know, these guys, they might be fantastic at what they're writing in, but it's walls of text and very difficult for someone who's a beginner and struggling with their, their finances to really kind of understand.
So. We're large text, visual images, infographics is a big, big part of of the strategy for this site is to kind of take the users on a journey and really kind of make them trust us as, as, as a brand we want to be that, that money brand that they go to for absolutely everything.
Jared: How did you pick the different topics that you were diving down?
Because we've talked about your approach, you didn't just go out and find low competition keywords and start writing, you really tried to write topically. Like one strategy is to take a topic like investing I don't know if that's a topic by the way, I assume in personal finance it's probably a big one.
But take a topic like investing and just write every article in that before you move on to another one. Or, you know, where you kind of focus on a couple of categories at a time. And then how did you pick, once you wrote the, the big hub article, how did you start to pick which ones to write after that?
Sammie: look, I, I understand a lot of people bang the topical authority drum. And, you know, there's a lot of there's a lot of good work out there that says that that's correct. But I, where I wanted to build an absolute juggernaut, I've written in five different categories at all various times, even, even now to this day, I'm still ticking off silos within that, but I'm very much growing all five categories at the same time.
So today I'm posting a mortgage article, tomorrow I'm putting up a how to buy shares in X, Y and Z. And tomorrow I'll be posting a side hustle that I've… been studying and I'm talking about and that's hot in the trends right now. So for example that I don't follow that same mantra that everybody does because I'm building out this kind of massive ecosystem.
Of articles on the site, you know, I, I could just write solely about investing or just solely about side hustles and perhaps that's, you know, that's probably why we've, you know, we, we why it's slower than I would have thought now at this point in terms of traffic growth, but I'm happy with, with, with sort of Waiting and building out because each one of those silos is four or five hundred articles apiece, you know, really those category pages easy and probably more, you know, so I've got a lot of catching up to do at 280 articles with five sort of major categories on the site.
So yeah, like I'm happy with that, though.
Jared: I, it's, I mean, we've started, we've been dancing around it for a while, so I'm glad to just put a fine point out because It does go back to this concept of you creating a brand rather than a website. It seems so connected to that. Like, you're creating a brand.
It started, it didn't start with keyword research and going, Oh, hey, there's a good opportunity. No one's written about purple hamsters. I'm going to make a website about purple hamsters, right? Like, it started with a WhatsApp group. It started with a passion and it started with your friends asking you questions.
I just, I'm so fascinated by that approach rather than maybe more classic, like SEO competition, topical authority approach that we, and not that there's anything wrong with that, right? Like lots of success comes from that, but your approach on brand is really cool to hear. And our job here is to share different perspectives on the podcast and success from different ways.
And it's just another different way that you're, you're succeeding than other, you know, than what you said, then what other
Sammie: people are doing. Yeah, no, I completely agree with you. And look, if I started a bulldog site for tomorrow, for example, I'd be probably doing exactly that, you know, going after low, you know, long tail keywords and, and pumping out 30, 40 articles and trying to get them indexed manually and, and going in down that route.
But it's a very, you know, I wouldn't be building a massive brand around that bulldog site. Yet. So I just think like that, I suppose. And I think that's helped me from my, from my marketing background to really do that. You know, we do have frameworks and on page SEO blueprints, which are very, very driven to heavy SEO.
And that's been picked up by listening to, you know, a lot of the guests on this podcast, to be fair. So you know, we, we do have those frameworks down now. And The problem we've got, especially in personal finance, and I know you'll love this, Jared, is that, you know, links is, is, is Pete is absolutely key.
It's on my list to ask you about. Don't worry. I know. Yeah, I know. I knew it would be coming up. So Authority is massive. You know, I'm getting slapped left, right and center every time I put my head above the parapet. I'm getting headshot. And that's like the way it is in in in my industry because there's so many money sites out there.
A lot of sites operating around the sort of 20 to 40 dr level with great traffic clearly doing very well, all going after each other's keywords. So so it's a battle and to find new avenues and new forms of traffic and when you do you get hit and that's, that's the game. So we've got to build a massive authority as well as as well as great, great content, which I believe is, you know, the best content that we could possibly put out.
I'm very picky about what we put out. I'd rather wait and not publish these five articles if there's. Some better research or some better stats in there that we can find, you know, we do go as deep as we possibly can. And we tried to find new data and something I'd touch on here. We've seen a lot of success on with with stats articles at the moment.
I know it's something that's been touched on before in the podcast, but one way that we do do things is we Don't just pull stats off somebody else's website. We put stats together from different sources. So we'll source on, say, for example, dot gov about the average pension pots in the UK. And obviously we'll have those blocks in there that the other articles clearly have.
Or the other competitors in the SERPs, but we'll try to find blocks of data that we can combine to create new percentages and new new stats that Google are like, Oh, we've not seen this before. So that gives us a new perspective and that's been paying off for us. A lot of our stats articles are doing really well and attracting organic links now for the sites and they're all internally linked into the money pages and.
The info content, which also links up to the money pages. So it's a strategy that we're seeing some really good growth in and hopefully that gives a lot of longevity and builds authority for the site and, and kind of pushes us up the serps. But yeah, personal finance man is a, is a battlefield.
I really didn't expect, but it's it's, it's also a lot of fun as well, you know, and, and if we can get it really right, it's it's you know, very fruitful too.
Jared: I'm glad you brought it up, because you can't talk YMYL without talking links, and, but you know, twelve, eighteen months in, like, that, there's a, that could have maybe not been on your horizon yet it is, what, how are you tackling link building from a high level?
Do you have types of links you're focusing on? You touched on building stat pages, I love what you're, you're, you're not just taking stat, but you're actually building repositories of data, pulling stats from a bunch of sources, it's almost. Almost like you're making it easier for people to get the information they want from different studies or stats that have been published elsewhere.
But I mean, you know, how are you going to get to, I mean, let's just, for the sake of putting a number on it, how are you going to get to a DR 70? You know, like, what's the plan and what's the path to get there?
Sammie: Yeah, great question. We, we focus heavily on digital PR from quite early and we did that with niche website builders.
Rest in peace. And the guys over there, they, you know, they did a great job initially with getting us ranking. You know, we picked up your metros, your telegraphs, et cetera, type newspaper, big newspaper, big DR links which the site didn't have, you know, we had your forums and your, you know, your very low DR sort of Blogs which you message the, I don't know.
Met on Twitter and begged and borrowed and stole for the link essentially. But we realized quickly like we had to get investment to do that. We brought an investor on. I'm sure a lot of listeners on this podcast will know who he is. Jamie I F and it was a very strategic decision as well from a business standpoint, you know, one of the most budding best affiliate marketers out there.
We're going to build an affiliate site essentially. So having him on board has been massive and also good cash injection for us to allow us to, to build out a digital PR and a link building strategy, which has been pivotal to its growth and, and, and, and will be pivotal to its growth ongoing.
So we, we focus heavily on getting top high DR topical relevant sites to, to link to us from a brand perspective. The stats page obviously that we touched upon are built solely for organic attraction purposes. And we're actually going to test out an interesting thing, which I heard the other day as well, which is buying ads to the higher pages.
So the average mortgage payment, for example, buying ads to that because it's extremely high traffic. There's no ads on those pages when you click on them. So every journalist is going to be searching for that, especially with the current landscape that we're facing in both the U. S. and the U. K.
right now. Hot topic. And if we can pick up even more organic links for keeping what is essentially a, you know, a low click, a low cost to click, a low piece of TPC, essentially. That might be quite a fruitful thing. So we're going to try these things. As I said, in personal finance, we need to be at DR 50 plus and to be able to start competing and just knocking people out.
And also essentially going after the, unfortunately for the smaller guys going after the smaller guys and their traffic, because it's a war and it's a game of serps essentially. And, you know, we're here to play. So that's the way we see it. I'm looking
Jared: at your site in HRS as we speak, and you're, you're sitting at a DR 25.
Which is good for a site that's a year or two old, right? But like you said, I mean, the other challenge of being on the lower side and ranking is that people start snatching up your keywords because they see a DR 25 site ranking. And so when you get to that DR 50 people, you know, to some degree, stop going after your keywords because you at least look a little more competitive or harder to beat.
Sammie: Exactly, man. Exactly. Yeah. You know, as I say, we're just getting swiped. If you look at our search console graph. It just seems like we just pop back up. We just beat our last sort of clicks on Google. Next two weeks, slap back down. And that'll be because you know, a big personal finance site in the UK happened to me recently, just came in and swiped out all of our, it was literally our top 10 ranking articles.
And they went one, and we moved to, we were ranking number one for all 10. They went, we went to number two. And then since another one's come in, so we're now three and that's where. I was like, right, it's YouTube time. This is the second part of the strategy because I was like, right, none of these guys are creating YouTube content inside of their blog articles.
So our YouTube strategy has been about cementing some of our most popular articles. And that is really, and also to see whether or not we can take back those SERPs by having video inside of our content. And so we've created those, we're about four videos in at the moment, so stupid early days, but these are, you know, good quality YouTube videos, which are great for building out the YouTube channel, of course, but the other strategy is embed those into the articles, have them extremely high up on the page.
So if that person just wants to have a quick peruse. One that's going to help both. The time on page is going to grow significantly inside of those articles, which is going to be a great ranking factor for Google. They're going to enjoy the fact that there's video in there, especially launched on YouTube.
And hopefully we're taking that back. And interestingly, on the first two articles that we put those videos in, we went from three to two. And now we're kind of flirting every day. It changes between one and two. Again, so we're actually beating these sites who dr 70, one of them's the R 84, so it can be done.
And it just goes to show that, you know, having video inside of your content, clearly Google is massively favoring that right now. And obviously the time on page increasing month on month is a, is a big factor there. So that's a strategy that we're going to go with, with kind of a view on, yes, we want to create videos for YouTube and, You know, that's a big part of what we want to do, but actually, well, we've built out 280 articles.
We can see which articles are bringing the traffic in and clearly getting people searching for them. So having a video there on those, on those articles is, is, is a big, big ranking factor. How do
Jared: you make a video about a personal finance topic? It reminds me a bit of SEO, like in theory, pretty dry, you know, like it's not cat videos.
It's also not like how to videos necessarily. Like how to fix such and such in your house or your car or something. Like, these are dry topics. And we run into it at our agency, you know. We we, we, we do a lot of article creation with video and with photos. And we get emails from people in the personal finance space.
And they're like, how would you do that here? You know, what would you do for us if we're gonna do that? So I'm just curious, like, what's your video strategy when it comes to making a video? But I don't know what you've made the videos about. But like, you know. How to invest your, in your, you know, your, your 401, whatever your 401k, like, man, that's a tough video to make interesting.
Sammie: sure. You're right, man. It's all about personality in these types of situations. You know, I'm. I'm very fortunate to be an extrovert character and so I throw a ton of energy into it. And I totally get it. You know, a lot of SEOs are introverts and a lot of people are introverts So putting yourself on camera, even for me as an extrovert was extremely difficult.
But you know, there are ways of doing. It's a create these kind of fun things. We have sound effects, big, big captions, a lot of infographics pop up that we explain, etc. So visually, we're trying to keep them active as much as we possibly can when we're building out these videos, because you're right, man, you know.
Suddenly it's like, I'm falling asleep and I've gone and then it's like it is so easily done. So they're not long. They're sort of eight to nine minutes was kind of what our benchmark really for those. I think we might go up to sort of 15 minutes for the app reviews. But yeah, like it's the same with the written content.
How do you turn that how to invest article into something that somebody wants to read? You've got to inject the personality into your writing and it's the same with video too.
Jared: You've been doing the podcast for a while. So you talked about it and probably a good time to circle back. Why did you start? So you have your website, but why, why did you start with your other media creation with the podcast?
What sort of successes that had and how much do you think, if any, that success has helped the website? Oh
Sammie: yeah, it's a massive factor. So the strategy with the podcast was there's a absolute. raft of influencers in the personal finance space with massive followings on multiple channels, whether that's Instagram, YouTube, you name it, or even a fantastic blog or LinkedIn channel.
Some of the guys that we've interviewed recently have only got those, but the strategy there is not only to attract links because you're naturally attract links from the guys that you work with, they list the podcast as something that they've done on their site, and that's fantastic for us growing. But also I saw it as a as an opportunity to leverage a social media audience, which I didn't have.
So I was putting out content, short film content and infographics essentially on there, but also the podcast I could cut up into Hundreds of video clips which I could then launch and pick cherry pick the best ones, which we would put on our socials, then with instagram, you can do collaborative content.
So suddenly my beautiful little 800 followers that I had back when I first sort of started this then on a channel which has got 120, 000 followers. And by interviewing this person on the podcast and having a great clip of them talking about themselves, why would they not want to recycle that?
Because it's essentially free content for them. And so the, the plan was to leverage other bigger channels and, and their following and allow that to scale both the social media side of things, which I could then start funneling traffic back into the website too. So we've built the Instagram page to.
Just over 5000 followers by doing that strategy, and that really as as kind of allowed us to propel, you know, now when we post a, you know, article of the week or, you know, our top reads this month, those types of things, those click backs of the articles can be in their hundreds. And that obviously is a is a good signal ranking signal for Google, but equally as well.
When we have some ads on the site, it's it's, it's an earner too. So that was the strategy with the podcast. And then also really, I see this as well as of if I'm operating on YouTube and on, in, in a website territory, having a media kit where I can say, I'm getting X amount of downloads on a podcast.
You can advertise on the website can also talk about you on my next youtube videos it costs x amount that allows me to be able to charge larger sponsorship deals essentially to these brands And they get to cherry pick as well where they want to be perhaps they were looking only for Youtube and podcasts and i'm there and I have good channels to do that with That just allows me to earn revenue in different ways, essentially not only relying on Google and, and and affiliate marketing to, to make that happen.
Jared: Yeah. Personal finance, very competitive as we talked about, but also very lucrative. And I'm sure there's a lot of brands out there that have a lot of money to get in front of audiences.
Sammie: Yeah, man, it's, it's crazy. Like today we actually just closed this morning, closed our first like major. Brand deal.
And this was a brand that is paying to be there's a new app that's paying to be listed on the best investing apps page as the suggested app for three months, including a CPA as well. So still getting the CPA, but they just want to be on the top of that page. And obviously they want the link. And I don't know whether they understand the value of the link, but You know, there's a lot of brands out there that have budgets and they have big, big budgets and their global brands, you know, they make a lot of money from these investing apps themselves.
So the marketing budgets are big. And that was something that I, I was wary of. Hence why I'm like, if I build this juggernaut after three to five years, then I can turn around and say, you know, You want that spot. It's X amount of money, which, you know, could be quite lucrative across if, especially if I've got multiple best of pages and hubs along the site, essentially.
Jared: you mentioned it. So I'll kind of call it out. You and I live in the marketing, the greater marketing world and different things we've done. And you're exactly right. Like, I'll go ahead and say, I doubt that brand cares one bit, whether you make that link, no follow, do follow or sponsored, like in our little world here, we're like all about the link.
Like, Oh my gosh. Yeah. I'll just, I'll do whatever I can to get the link. Bigger brands, they want the larger PR win and they will spend and I think it's super wise of you. You're exactly right. Like you have a media kit that has more than just, I'll put you on this website, this page, but I can actually get you in front of a whole variety of channels.
Like that's such a win for them and their marketing team. That's the type of stuff they're looking for. That's the type of stuff they want to spend money on.
Sammie: Totally, man. And they've got kind of this Actually, they've got investors and a board to turn around to, and actually it's just a PR exercise for themselves.
You know, we got listed on X, Y, and Z website as a suggested app for this month, and they get X amount of traffic. Like, really, that's all that that board meeting and that marketing guy needed to say, and they're like, Oh, well done, you know, happy days. And actually for me, yeah, it's like totally. And it's, it's just like, for me, I'm like amazing.
You know, you know, that's my. That's my business costs covered for three, four or five months. And, but for them, they just taking a box and they've got hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds to play with in, in this arena. So you know, I'm, I'm all up for taking a piece of it. Essentially.
Jared: Especially given how much you're having to spend and work at it.
You know, it's, that's a nice, it's really rough when you're in a really competitive niche that doesn't. You know, isn't very lucrative, but at the very least you have a lot of lucrative things in personal finance. I saw on your homepage that you have an email list or newsletter or a process for collecting email addresses.
Maybe I should say that. We haven't touched on email marketing is, is email marketing playing a role at all in what you're doing?
Sammie: Yeah, massive factor. You know, we have lead magnets, we have lead magnets by category as well. And some do a lot better than others, mainly their checklists and ebooks essentially.
And, you know, we I put a lot of time into them initially and then chat GPT came out and blew that out the water essentially. So now now if you want to create a leak magnet, you can do that in under 10 minutes with some good prompting and editing essentially. So you know, I think they're essential.
It's again, another channel for me to funnel back into the website, but equally we've been doing really quite well out of affiliate emails to them, but embedding those affiliate links as part of so every Friday we send out money talks, which is free financial newsletter we teach beginners all about different types of topics, essentially, and within that we have the hot app of the week and they might have a deal or a cashback offer essentially to sign up to a new bank.
And. The click rate on those is fantastic, and you know, that's been doing a lot better than I thought it would, and we've only got a handful of subscribers at the moment, so about 1, 500 subscribers, so nothing crazy, and it's doing okay. You know, there's lots of avenues we can go down. We've got some digital products, which brings in a little bit of money, I'd say about 5% of revenues, digital products.
Budgeting spreadsheets, ebooks, essentially you know, we can go down the courses route. There's so many more avenues we can do, but it's that shiny object syndrome, which you do very well on a Friday afternoon podcast, Jared, but I yeah, I got to try and keep myself. Focused on the mission until it's at a point where I can start to be a little bit more you know, risk on essentially by like, let's take a pun on, on doing a course because if I spent two months on a course and I don't nail it, that could be the end of the business essentially.
Jared: it's it's, it's inspiring to see how at the same time you're able to focus on different channels because of the business opportunity. And yet stay very cognizant that shiny object syndrome or overindulging or overinvesting in any one channel could be the end of it for you. You know, like that's a healthy balance and very, it's hard for people to focus on multiple things successfully.
And it's hard for people to stay focused and you're, you know, seeming like you're really able to balance both of those really well.
Sammie: It's, it's inside my, I mean, how I say it, yes. Inside my mind, it's a very different ball game. I'll be really honest with you. You know, it's, you know, you hear these great strategies.
I was so tempted to jump on the Amazon influencer thing. And sorry about that. Spencer
Sammie: I just can't stop talking about it. Just killed it, man, as well. Like hats off to you both. Like it's incredible, but. I think if I was a year later down the line, I 100% would have done that, but I just realized like, hang on when my website isn't doing the revenue that I wanted to yet, like, that's where I've got to get first before I can sort of make those decisions.
So yeah, like it's a constant battle. You know, I, I was talking to Jamie the other day and you know, he's got a site that's doing extremely well with digital products and a lot of those strategies could be very quickly implemented on the site. But building out the products and paying for those and getting those right is, is, is a, is a job in itself and whether or not that's the high ROI activity, I'm constantly banging on about that.
Right. What's the return on investment for me putting this time into that today? And is that going to generate us the most amount of money moving forwards? And if the answer is yes, then that's where we go. So obviously those things get slightly pushed aside to when we've got some, some more time to, to, to be able to focus on them.
As we start
Jared: to kind of wrap this thing up, how does this scale in your mind over the next 6 and 12 and maybe 24 months? Because, I mean, we've talked about obviously your website content, we've talked inside of website content about the extreme need for a lot of links and to get to DR 50 or above. We've talked about how there's probably 500 or more articles.
per silo, and you got five or six of those. We've talked about YouTube, we've talked about a podcast, we've talked about social media, we've talked about your email list. What's the plan going forward to keep scaling, but doing it in that manner that you seem to have the ability to kind of toggle multiple things, but still stay
Sammie: focused on?
I think for the next six months is a big focus on affiliate for us and getting those best money pages really optimized to the highest degree. And that's really where it's fantastic working with with someone like Jamie because he spots things that I don't. And, and that's having him there as a kind of great resource to tap into.
Spend time with and learn these things has been huge for me. So that's really the goal for us. Just get that affiliate revenue absolutely singing to to where it has because the pages are almost built. You know, we've got a few more that we want to build out that we found along the way, but that's the real goal.
And then it's everything needs to just keep ticking and moving forwards as long as our metrics are all moving up and our channels are growing for me. That's really the main goal as I sort of touched on earlier. It is like kicking a snowball off the hill. And by the time we get down, I want to be competing with your nerd wallets.
And, you know, if I if That's my goal. I'm not looking at this from a, you know, Kevin from epic gardening is a perfect example of this. And, you know, he's just absolutely nailed it. He's now doing ridiculous numbers, but that's not happened overnight. He's built his brand with that long term thinking. aspect to it.
And I think that's what I need to have. Just keep myself humble, keep myself taking over and, and, and, and hopefully, you know, we can emulate some of the, some of the successes that he's had along the way, essentially,
Jared: it's it's quite the, the, the goal, right? Like to build a, we'll say a personal finance brand, but at the same time, I mean, to see the success you're having 12, 18 months in.
It's very interesting to dissect the way that you're doing things. Let me maybe start, maybe bring it back and kind of close out on this question. Looking back, if there's anything that you would have done differently, or any big mistake, or any big miss that you didn't take advantage of that you wish you had, like, anything you would have done differently from where you started to where you are now?
Sammie: Yeah, I think, I think I would've . I think I would've done a different niche though. I'm joking. Yeah, I, I, I, I, I, I, honestly, I, this is the way that I'm built and I, I, I can't really change that. I think if, if I had. A little bit more as knowledge in the SEO world, I probably would have gone harder on some long tail stuff earlier.
But I'm okay with that. And I think if that's if that's if, yeah, it's hard to say, man, it's so hard to say, looking back, but I'm really happy with where we're at. And Yeah, as long as as long as I sort of can keep my feet on the ground and keep moving forwards, then then for me, that's the most important thing.
I think looking back, sometimes it can be so hard to To cherry pick something that you could have done better. And we all sit there like constantly picking ourselves apart. Like, oh, man, should have should have gone down. That should have ripped that silo earlier. But these are some, these are things that we have to learn along the way.
And eventually you just start making better decisions. It's getting the reps in at the end of the day, put the reps in and, and you will get better. It's really that simple.
Jared: Well, Sammy, it's been a treat having you on. We've been working on, on, on this interview. I'm doing this interview for a little while now.
So it's, it's really fun having you on. It's always fun having someone who you know, is a listener of the podcast on. And cheers on your success. I have a feeling that maybe in a year or two, when we have you back on we'll look back at this episode and maybe chuckle a bit. Your perspective.
Your brand is wonderful and so it's going to be so cool to see where you end up in the next couple of years. We'll include a link to your website in the show notes. Any other places people can follow along with you? I know you mentioned Twitter, you and I connect there quite a bit, but any place people can go to follow along with you?
Sammie: Yeah, we're up the gains money on all your social channels. If you want to come and follow along there, I'm quite active on there. I talk a lot and post as much helpful content as I possibly can. I just love it. So that does help. And yeah, up the gains. co. uk is the website. And we do a free money newsletter as well.
I'm also launching a little podcast with Jamie talking about digital marketing as well. So that'd be quite good fun too. So yeah, that's, that's where you can find us.
Jared: Perfect. Hey, until we talk again. Thanks so much, Sammy. Appreciate you being on. Thanks, man.