Would you ever consider quitting your full-time job after your website had only made $50?
Because that’s exactly what my podcast guest did. He had a website, made $50, and he was ready to call his job quits.
Kelan Kline and his wife Brittany built the site thesavvycouple.com. Early on, as soon as it started showing some success, Kelan was so excited to leave his full-time job that that’s just what he did!
While they did have some savings, and his wife was still working, he was ready to go all-in with the site. It’s a good thing they did because the site is now generating 6-figures per year!
In this podcast he shares many of the specific numbers and strategies used to grow the site:
- How much traffic the site is getting
- The successful strategies for building their site
- SEO and link building
- HARO outreach tactics
- Facebook Ads and Pinterest
We spend a lot of time talking about the HARO process that Kelan uses to save time generating backlinks. If you want to dive further into the HARO process you can check out the HARO Strategy Guide that Kelan put together here.
And the other big topic we discuss is sponsorships – something that hasn’t been covered so much on Niche Pursuits. If you’ve ever wondered how bloggers make money beyond affiliate earnings, this is a good option for authority sites. The Savvy Couple makes a lot of money through sponsorships, so I really picked Kelan’s brain on the topic.
The types of questions I asked him were:
- What are sponsorships?
- Where to find sponsorship opportunities?
- How to package sponsorship deals?
- How much money they’re making from sponsorships?
As usual, I get into all of the other niche site topics that we love to talk about:
- How Kelan does keyword research
- How much content they are publishing
- Article length – what’s working?
- The competitive nature of the finance niche
- Creating YouTube videos for SEO
Kelan’s final advice for those starting out with a blog:
Be prepared to grind for up to 12 months before seeing results, and have a ‘BIG why’.
Kelan and Brittany’s ‘big why’ was to be able to quit their jobs and be at home with their kids. That was what motivated them and got them to where there are today.
I hope you enjoy listening to this episode of the podcast!
Read the full transcript below:
Spencer Haws: Hey Kelly. And welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. Thanks,
Kelan Kline: Spencer. Appreciate it.
Spencer Haws: Excited about it. Yeah. It’s great to connect. You know, we kind of were introduced through a mutual contact here. Just had them on the podcast actually, right? Yeah. So to give people a little bit a year background, and so people can understand, you know, where are you coming from?
What’s sort of your professional background before we ever started online business. What were you doing?
Kelan Kline: Sure. So I actually started my first online business when I was 13. So I’ve been doing it for awhile. Just flipping items on eBay. And that’s when I first got introduced to making money online and that changed my life.
When my dad showed me, I could do that. Um, but yeah, other than that, I went to college for business administration. I tried probably five or six different careers, uh, ups. I was a salesman for insurance and then I was a law enforcement. I became a jail deputy for two and a half years. Um, and that career kind of changed my life and pushed me in the direction of you got to stop working for other people, figure out something on your own.
And that’s what kind of pushed me into starting my own business. Yeah. So kind of like a very vast background.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Sounds like you’ve done. Yeah. Quite a, quite a few different things from ups to, you know, working in the jail system, uh, and that, whatever that was there, like you, maybe you didn’t like the environment very much working there.
Is that kinda what it was? It was brutal.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. I always dreamt of being a police officer. And that was like an introduction into law enforcement. I was going to go to road patrol. Um, but yeah, I just got in there and the environment was awful. I hated working nights and weekends, uh, holidays forced overtime.
Um, just everything that I didn’t want. I wanted more freedom of my time. I knew that we wanted to have a big family and I wanted to be a part of my kids’ lives. And, uh, it’s just a turning point in my life to kind of switch directions and pivot quite a bit.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. You know, that’s that’s, for me, it just reminds me of working at my day job a long time ago.
It’s been 10 years since I had a day job, but congrats. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it’s been a decade this, this year. And, um, that was like, The big as I look back at that the, the time the, the, the freedom of time really was the biggest thing. It wasn’t so much that, like, I hated my boss or hated coworkers.
Like, they’re all great people, but kind of like you’re talking about, you know, and I didn’t even have it as bad as it sounds like you, I never had to work weekends and holidays and that sort of thing. So I was in the banking industry, but it’s still just, you know, having that schedule, you had to keep was just kind of annoying.
Yeah, for sure. So, uh, you already told us kind of how you made your first dollar online, kind of like you’re flipping items on eBay. Uh, but did you do anything else, like, um, you know, Since you were a teenager, right before you started the savvy couple. Was there anything else that was kind of in between there that you did online business?
Kelan Kline: Yeah. So at 13 I went around the house and pretty much sold everything. I could get my hands on stuff I wasn’t supposed to sell. I’m sure. Uh, that my parents didn’t know about, um, just sold everything and got into the habit of, you know, making money online, through selling items, physical items. Uh, and then from there it was like, okay, I don’t have any other items to sell, so I need to start sourcing and start drop shipping.
So yeah, I started a drop shipping store when I was 15 and that carried out through all of high school, all through college. Um, started drop shipping on Amazon and did that. Um, I think my peak years in Amazon was when I was in college is about $50,000 in revenue per year. Um, but profit margins on drop shipping is terrible, like 10%, so $5,000 a year, um, kind of some spending money stay out of that, going to college.
It was perfect. And then super, super flexible. So, um, I think that was another, uh, just a, an experiment and it worked out really nice and experienced that I always thought of every time I had a real job of like, man, it was really nice to just be able to work from home and. Be in control of my time. So, uh, so yeah, I did that stuff throughout college as well.
Spencer Haws: So that’s really good exposure to an online business, right. Even though, Hey, it’s not like quit your day job type money, but it gives you some experience opens you to the world of what’s possible online. Right. Uh, and so, uh, so now you of course have started the savvy couple.com. Why did you guys start that in the first place?
And I was also going to ask if there’s any other. Websites that you’re running as well.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. Uh, so yeah, we have the savvy couple. We’re coming up on five years on that one, um, in July. And we started another niche site in the grilling niche, outdoor grilling niche. And this was last June. So we’re coming up on a year on that one as well, become profitable.
So excited about that. Um, kind of using what we’ve learned, the savvy couple over the last four or five years to put into that and outsource most of it. Um, but yeah, so we started the savvy couple, uh, back in July, 2016. Um, it was a point in our life is just me and my wife, Brittany at the time, no kids.
And we were just kind of stuck at like, neither of us were really happy at our jobs, especially me. She was a teacher, she loved teaching, but she knew she wanted to have more freedom as well. So we sat down at the dinner table one night and we said, what. What business can we start? That gives us more freedom, uh, and kind of designed our dream life of having more freedom in life, um, financially and most, most importantly time.
So we saw a couple of income reports, Michelle from making sense of sense, making over a hundred thousand dollars a month. Yeah. Bobby Hoyt, you know, another teacher making $10,000 a month and the wheels just started spinning. So we, uh, I think within a month or two, we started our site and we came up with the name and we just dove headfirst into it for nine months nonstop working on it, figuring out, getting over the blogging learning curve, which you know is huge when you’re first starting out.
And on that ninth Mark, we got a sponsorship for $50 and it changed everything. Uh, you know, we proved that we could make some money. Our own online business. So two weeks later, and we were saving money, like crazy paying off debt, um, still working full-time jobs. Uh, two weeks later I went to Brittany and I said, Hey, I’d really like to quit my job and do this full time.
And she’s an amazing wife and she was sick and tired of hearing me complain about all my jobs. And she blessed me and said, absolutely let’s do it. Uh, so. Took the leap after making $50 and we turned it over the last four years, we’ve turned it into a multiple six-figure business, um, allowing her to quit her job and completely changed our life.
Absolutely super blessed.
Spencer Haws: So it was, it was making it, it had made $50 essentially when you quit your job, is that right? Yeah. Yeah.
Kelan Kline: We’re still in the hole obviously. Cause there’s expenses as well, but yeah.
Spencer Haws: That’s a, that’s a brave move. Yeah. That is definitely a leap of faith. Um, and so, but now it’s, you know, making some significant money, um, like you said, what did you say?
Like what’s, um, like what will it, do, you know, maybe in the last 12 months, you know, in a year timeframe.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. So, uh, 2019 we hit sponsorships are just, we can dive into, I would say over a hundred thousand in sponsorships alone that year we did a quarter million dollars in revenue last year. It was a little bit lower than that because of COVID and people pulling out their marketing budgets and what not.
But this year we’re already on pace to hit the two 50 again, if not higher in revenue.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. That’s huge. So, okay. Let’s, let’s dive into like, how did you make this happen? Obviously you had the focus. I mean, you quit your jobs. You’re kind of like, you gotta make this work. Right. Um, but what really, um, established traction for you?
What was some of the early keys to success? What really helped you get the ball? Rolling?
Kelan Kline: Uh, I always like to mention that we had our finances in order, because I feel like you need to, in order to quit your job and like do this full-time and not have any income coming in. So we did our best to pay off as much debt as possible.
We still had about 25,000, which we ended up paying for. Paying off within five months with the blog, uh, a year later, but we had a year’s worth of salary saved up and we were just very frugal and had a budget, um, um, which I think is really important. And then on top of that, after I quit my job within two months, I found, I worked for VIP kid teaching Chinese students, English, making $20 an hour.
I would do that for three hours in the morning just to make some type of income coming in. I got a digital marketing job that was very flexible, like 10 hours a week. And then any other time was directed towards the business, but I was getting paid to learn digital marketing. So it was a win-win. Um, so I wanted to mention all that before I dive into kind of what’s worked.
Yeah. So from there, uh, Brittany and I would just. Pump out as much content as possible, kind of, not a very good strategy nowadays. We’re very SEO driven and, you know, everything has a purpose, everything solving a problem where I think our first article on the site was how to make the most out of Steelers training camp, which has nothing to do with personal finance.
But we kind of just, you know, we have the personnel, I have the personality to just go for it and you can pivot and collect the data and then make changes as you, as you go on a big one was kind of, we are very big lifestyle. Blend brand at the time, uh, we were doing a lot of Pinterest stuff. We were big fans of chasing boxes, which is just a lifestyle magazine type of a blog.
And we learned Pinterest, everything we possibly could about Pinterest making Roundup posts, uh, how to do, how to use certain tools to pin automatically for us in our heydays, we are at 300,000 pages a month. 200,000 of that, or if not more was Pinterest. Um, so those lifestyle articles, um, but over the years, and that’s what really helped us take off.
We had stuff go viral. We had, um, a Dave Ramsey article get a hundred thousand AGS in a month in January. Um, just absolutely insane. Um, yeah, crazy stuff on Pinterest. Um, and then over the years, we’ve slowly transitioned away from the lifestyle brand kind of really focused on our niche down to the personal finance and worked on SEO mostly.
Um, so yeah, I was just getting a lot of traffic and diving headfirst into Pinterest to start things.
Spencer Haws: So what would you say your traffic breakdown is now between, you know, SEO, traffic and Pinterest, and anything
Kelan Kline: else? Yeah. So we do about a ha uh, around a hundred thousand and, uh, Sasha and or pages in Google.
So SEO traffic we’ll do about 50 to 60 and Pinterest. And then depending on the month, we’ll have another 25 to 40,000, um, from Facebook ads.
Spencer Haws: Okay. Okay. So you’re running some Facebook ads there as well. So, um, so well, over half of your traffic, it sounds like, you know, is, is from Google SEO at this point.
Yeah, for sure. Um, is that just, have you found that Pinterest is just a lot harder now? Um, I had spent my experience in the last couple of years, for sure. There’s been a lot of changes that make it a little bit more difficult.
Kelan Kline: Yeah, before it was like, uh, just a fire hose and they would just pour traffic on you.
And it’s gotten extremely difficult. We’ve kind of, I don’t think we have any pins scheduled to go out anymore. We kind of just, you know, set and forget it. Yeah. Don’t really. Promote a lot of stuff on Pinterest anymore. We’ve kind of not given up on it, but put it on a way burner and focus more on search engine traffic.
Um, cause at the end of the day you want evergreen traffic coming in so you can make passive income, um, and potentially have an exit strategy. Long-term so definitely better ROI to focus on the search engine traffic.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. So I want to jump into that. SEO, some of your strategies, we’re going to jump into link building that sort of thing.
But first before we do, uh, you mentioned sponsorships, you mentioned, Hey, that’s how you made your first money. Um, you made like six figures in 2019 from sponsorships. Um, I don’t know that I’ve had a guest on the podcast. That’s really talked about sponsorships very much. And, um, I know it’s pretty common in the, uh, financial niche, uh, in lots of other spaces, right.
There’s a lot of, um, sort of. Bloggers out there, they, they get paid, um, sponsorships to, to do different things. So why don’t you give listeners idea of like, what does a typical sponsorship deal look like and able to talk about how you scale that a little bit as well?
Kelan Kline: Sure. So it’s a lot of it’s outreach, um, and you’re basically getting.
Your audience in front of, and, you know, you’ve built trust and authority with your audience and affinity that you want to get in front of other brands, and they want to pay you for that. It’s micro influencing, um, where you have the trust and authority that you can get in front of your audience and kind of make conversions a lot easier.
Uh, so it’s, you know, we’ve made a list of a hundred companies that we said, okay, this is, it would be a perfect partnership with this company Excel sheet. Uh, we rated like, We have kind of columns that show. Okay. Is it, how hard would it be to partner with them? Are they a huge brand? That’s like impossible.
Are they someone that’s, you know, a smaller business that we have the email for already and stuff like that. Um, and then it’s creating a system. So I’d have an email template of an outreach email template that basically says, Hey, we’re a blog with 300,000 pages a month. We, you know, X, Y, and Z. This is what our brand’s all about.
We’d love to partner with you and get you in front of our audience. I think it’d be a win-win for everybody. Um, and sending those out from time to time. Um, but what really helped us kind of scale, like you said, is finding brands that wanted to work on big marketing packages. You know, the 10, the five figure, you know, over $10,000 sponsorship packages with multiple articles, multiple Facebook ads, you know, the whole shebang, um, if you will, with marketing and getting their brand in front of ours,
Spencer Haws: Yeah.
So, uh, give us an idea of, of, um, what a package might look like. Right? So let’s say somebody does order a $10,000 package. What does that look like? And if you’re willing to share, like one of the companies that has done or worked with you, um, or the type of company, just to give people an idea, you know, is this like a local water park or is this, what is this,
Kelan Kline: you know, Yeah.
Yeah. So companies we’re talking about are like Skillshare and B chime bank, uh, allied bank, you know, bigger brands, um, some credit repair companies, um, and a package would, you know, it’s all about having empathy, just like the business owner and figuring out what the other person wants in the deal. Uh, so having that conversation either over the phone or the email, and like literally asking them what would a perfect.
Brand sponsors should be with us and they’ll tell you, okay, we want tons of brand awareness, or we want a lot of new customers and conversions the brand and the brand awareness one is super easy because you just have to run Facebook ads and get them in front of your audience where it conversions obviously a little bit more difficult.
Spencer Haws: So talk about that. So, um, if talk about the Facebook ads that you might run, um, like they, they pay you money and then you’re running Facebook ads. Where do you run that to your like, article that you wrote up on their company or.
Kelan Kline: Correct. So it would be going back to our site and it’s right at the top, says, this is a sponsored article by X, Y, and Z a hundred percent, our opinion.
Um, and then you market them within the article and make conversions that way as well. Okay. Um, yeah. So a typical package would be, you know, a couple articles. We do socially geared articles. So like, Five money habits. Your parents should have taught you or, um, seven things, seven habits millionaires do every day.
Um, and then market through that type of article. And then we also do ask the articles so we can write up a review and have them sponsor the review. Um, we’re very cautious about that because obviously we were writing a review. So we want to make sure that they agree. It’s gonna be a hundred percent honest.
We’re not gonna be biased in any way cons
Spencer Haws: in the article for
Kelan Kline: sure. Um, And then from there, you know, I like to use our email list and email us at 35,000. So we definitely put that in our package because that’s where we kind of really built a personal relationship with our audience. Um, I’ve been really successful with Facebook ads and driving traffic, you know, with between five to 3 cents per click to the article.
Um, Just using ad espresso, which is a really, really awesome tool, depending order are used to use it. And they make a ton of money through affiliate marketing and Facebook ads. So we kind of learned off of them. Um, but yeah, so kind of just packaging all together, packaging in our reach on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest and now YouTube.
So kind of putting your whole package together and making it very valuable to them. The most money out of them.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Do you have a page on your site? Um, that like lists out what your advertising rates or sponsorship rates are and great question. Would you be okay if listeners check that
Kelan Kline: out? So we do not.
The reason we don’t is because. I’ve learned over the it’s just an negotiate. It’s like another . So if you have those rates, you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Uh, you know, if I, if I were to cut myself off at $2,500 and there’s a company willing to pay 10,000, I just lost $7,500. So I always ask.
Them, what’s your marketing budget you’re willing to work with and they will tell us. And I always ask for more. Um, and most of the time they don’t run away and they all work. They’re willing to pay it. So definitely treat it as negotiation. And I am a big fan of not having any rates that are typical rates.
If they ask, you know, what your typical package look like, you can give me a range. You know, it starts at $2,000 and goes up to 25, right? Not that we’ve ever had one that big, but, um, you can kind of
Spencer Haws: do it that way. You could create one that was worth 25,000, right. Like just add more posts or add more emails or right.
Um, okay. That’s interesting. Um, that’s I like that. Um, that’s an interesting approach to that, for sure. So, um, you’re able to do these sponsorship deals. Um, it’s generating a lot of revenue. Um, you know, is there anything else related to sort of sponsorship deals, like just tips or strategies in general that you think listeners might be worth?
Um, you know, listening to.
Kelan Kline: Yeah, I think you hit the head on the nail. The biggest one is not having rates. Um, and knowing that you have to reach out to these companies, very rarely, maybe 10% of the companies that we work with on sponsorship lover actually reach out to us and are looking for sponsorships.
And then another trick that we’ve used over the years are looking at other bloggers within our niche and seeing who they’re partnering with, because if they’re going to work with them, They’re obviously looking for other partnerships and more likely looking for other partnerships that you can kind of find the brands that have the marketing budget to work with.
So you can save a lot of time using, looking at that.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. That’s a good idea. Um, do you ever use the influencer networks at all? Like, you know, there’s tons of them out there. Yeah.
Kelan Kline: Uh, we haven’t in the last like two years, so not anymore. We used to get like $50 tweets that we used to be able to send out.
And that was, that was awesome. Cause it takes a minute to put a tweet out, but yeah, we haven’t used those in years.
Spencer Haws: Okay. And, uh, now that sounds good. And just to clarify for listeners, you know, I, you probably get a lot of emails that are basically spam that, Hey, um, I’ll pay for a link, you know, type thing on your site.
That is not what we’re talking about. Like at all, right? Like these companies are not paying for a link. Right. They want exposure, you know, and big brands do this, right? Like. Name a brand in the world, you know, fortune 500 companies. They are doing sponsorship deals with bloggers and influencers just to get, get their brand awareness.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Stay away from paid links. Anytime you do a sponsorship, it’s gotta be a no-follow link. Uh, yeah. Obviously with SEO, you don’t want to mess with that. Yup.
Spencer Haws: So wanted to bring that up, um, to clarify. So let’s jump into SEO, uh, you know, it’s well, over half, your traffic is coming from SEO.
It sounds like that’s where you’re focused. You want the evergreen content, um, which makes a ton of sense, right? Um, hopefully you can have a few articles that are just generating revenue for years to come. Um, so link building, uh, do you feel like that’s been. The biggest reason for your success or is that just a piece of it?
Kelan Kline: Um, I truly think SEO, you can break it down into two categories. It’s creating the best content on the internet and getting backlinks. Um, if you want to simplify it as much as possible. So yeah, I think getting back links and getting mentions on places like Forbes and business insider are, are huge trust and a personal finance niche.
Um, so I think it goes hand in hand.
Spencer Haws: Okay. So let’s jump into link building. I agree. A hundred percent that you got to have great content, right? Like it’s just, you have to have it. Um, Google is so smart now about reading pages and understanding if it’s really, um, answering the query that people have, it’s really an authoritative piece.
Right. See, that’s just a must have, um, so, so links, what are, what have been some of your biggest link building strategies that have worked really well?
Kelan Kline: Um, good. Great question. So, uh, we take the approach. We’ve read, I think Richmond, your other guests. That’s a good friend of ours. Uh, he mentioned their dream 100 to us.
Uh, about a year ago, we kind of. Just like our sponsorships, our dream, a hundred companies. We want to work with dream hundred meaning, uh, people within our network that we would like to collaborate with, write guest posts with possibly do backlights with, um, and kind of working down your list. That way that’s been really big for us in the last year.
So just kind of broadening our backlink profile quite a bit. Um, but the thing that’s really driven. Our SEO in getting our domain authority up to overpass 50, I think he said a 53 now on , uh, is Herro and how, and just making a habit of answering harrows almost every single day, even though it’s pain in the butt.
Um, but we’ve, we’ve gotten in through networking and Herro, we’ve gotten, you know, a full feature on Forbes. We’ve been mentioned as personal finance experts on Forbes. We’ve been on business insider bank rates, NerdWallet, uh, the penny hoarder, like huge, huge. Players within our niche. Um, and it’s been huge getting those backlinks.
Spencer Haws: So, how did you do that? Because, you know, there’s hundreds of people out there responding to heroin every day. Right. So, I mean, that’s, that’s just, you know, that’s sort of your Christ to entry, right. Is like, you gotta, you gotta be consistent. Right. But beyond that, like, did you have any connections with any of these people at Forbes or.
NerdWallet or penny hoarder or
Kelan Kline: anything like that. So the only one that we’ve had a connection with was, uh, Jeff Rose and he runs good financial sense, and he is a forge contributor. So we met him at FinCon, which is a financial conference. Um, and then he asked him the thing con Facebook group, you know, for crazy stories to, to promote and publish.
And it was at the same time Brittany was quitting her job and we just made a hundred thousand on our blog. So we put together, um, an article on how this 28 year old couple. Quit their jobs and made a hundred thousand dollars online and it went viral. It had like 250,000 views. There’s this best article I ever wrote.
Um, but yeah, connecting and networking with him is how we got on board.
Spencer Haws: Okay. Yup. Yup. That makes sense. So we’ll, we’ll jump into a little bit more networking here in a second as well, but let’s stick, stick with Herro. Um, so responding every day. What are sort of the strategies, like, is there a certain way that you pitch, you know, your, your story or anything like
Kelan Kline: that?
So we actually have a Herro guide. I’m happy to give it to your audience if they listen to and watch it. Um, yeah, so, and it’s our exact template that we use and it’s been very, very successful. What we basically make sure that we have, you know, a habit of answering them every day. Uh, we make it as easy as possible for the.
A publisher or the editor to kind of take our quote and put it right into the article, uh, because you don’t want to give them extra work cause they’re probably not use it. So it’s basically looking through the queries as quickly and as efficiently as possible, figuring out the ones that we can be experts in and be quoted from, and we can give them a good answer and help them improve the article they’re working on.
And then it’s basically using, we use a Google template that we pop into. Gmail. Um, it basically says, Hey, my name’s Kalin client, personal finance expert. That’s been mentioned on all these sites, right into the pitch on what we’re answering. And then we give them images that they can use. We give them our, our blog URL.
We give, um, we let them know, we’re happy to share on our social media, add them to our press page, make it as easy as possible for them. Because like you said, they’re going to get so many different responses. And then another thing on top of that is if you can, uh, be one of the first people to answer and be one of the top.
Uh, answers that they get is going to help you get those quotes and mentioned some backlinks.
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Spencer Haws: Yeah. I really like how you mentioned really giving them benefits as well. Right? Like they’re just asking for a quote, but you’re making it easy to say, Hey, you might get listed on my press page. We’re going to share it on social media.
Like we’re going to actually drive some traffic. We’re going to get you a link type thing. Right. And so they’re like, Oh, that, that could definitely stand out right over somebody that just. It gives a rock quote for sure. Plus the images and everything. So, great tips on that. Anything else that you found sort of works well with heroin when you’re doing your pitch?
Kelan Kline: Um, so the subject lines, we always, because they’re going back to the person’s email, um, which is. Most most everyone’s email is flooded, uh, with stuff in spam. So we take, we literally say Herro response and then the topic that it is, so they know exactly what they’re going to get by opening and they’re looking for the responses.
So that’s helped quite a bit as well.
Spencer Haws: And, uh, what kind of success rate do you see? How many pitches do you have to throw out there in order to get an actual live link?
Kelan Kline: Yeah. Uh, my wife, Brittany is much better at getting them than I am. She’s a better writer than I am. She’s a perfectionist. So she spends time where I’m just like, do it as quick as possible.
Uh, but yeah, so she’s probably batting around like 25% and I’m a little bit below that, but yeah, we, we have pretty good success to get at least. One or two mentions or backlinks a week through heroin. It’s it’s worked out pretty well.
Spencer Haws: Wow. That’s really good. Um, and like you said, it can be some big ones too.
Kelan Kline: And when you make a habit of answering them, you’ll start seeing the same people that are looking for quotes. Um, and you’ll start to build that relationship and relationship for everything. So it just continues to kind of snowball once you get the ball rolling and
Spencer Haws: get a couple. Yeah. When you started seeing that, you know, a few people that are pitching every day or every week or whatever, do you start then kind of reaching out to them personally and like connecting with them, like outside of here?
Kelan Kline: Uh, yeah, through email or we might follow them on LinkedIn, just another point of contact to, you know, put our name in front of their face again. Um, or we’ll go out of our way to make sure that we share it and we show them that we put it on our press page. Um, just make it more valuable for them. Yep.
Spencer Haws: And so you talked about networking, you know, that’s one way, you know, even through Herro, you’re able to kind of build some relationships there.
What else has worked well in terms of networking that eventually, you know, can lead to links and that sort
Kelan Kline: thing? Yeah. So Facebook groups have been really big, um, just, you know, answering people’s questions, just chipping in here and there. Uh, reaching out to people through Facebook messenger, I think is way more personal than an email.
So we, we use Facebook messenger quite a bit to reach out to people in our niche and kind of build that relationship with, uh, Instagram is another one. So we follow a lot in our niche and when they’re on their stories, we’ll kind of watch their stories habit and reach out to them and respond to them and just get in front of them over and over, um, build that relationship and then kind of work our way into kind of working with them type of thing.
Spencer Haws: So, what you’re saying is that you’re not getting links by firing up a software tool that can send out a thousand emails in a day with the same template email. That’s not the trick is that we’ve never done that. Oh man. That’s a lot of work. You got to actually do the work. It
Kelan Kline: is. Yeah. Yep. It’s a lot of work.
Um, but I think making those meetings for relationships and it’s not just about backlinks either. Um, we do email freebie exchanges. So, uh, you know, we reach out to another one within our niche and say, Hey, we got our marriage money bootcamp. We’ll give to our audience for free that we usually sell for $47 in our shop.
Um, what can you give our audience? And we’ll do an email freebie exchange and grow our list by 500, uh, you know, 600 people in one day. Um, just by, by doing that. I
Spencer Haws: love it. That’s a great idea. Right? Sort of an email swap, right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And if you can find enough people that are willing to do that.
Yep. Like you said, I can, I can grow it quite a bit. Um, so how important is email to your business? I guess, um, Yeah, I want to dive into email, but just to clarify, kind of the breakdown of, of revenue sources, right. You’ve got certainly some affiliate sales happening. Right. Um, I don’t know if you had ads on your site as well, like okay.
Yeah. Like display ads, um, then you’ve got sponsorships and then I think you have like digital courses, right. Or digital products. Is that right? Yep. Um, how, how much of. It is sort of digital products that you have created.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. So this year, a couple years ago when we were so like set in stone on sponsorships, we knew like, You’re only able to spawn, uh, get partnered with so many times before our kind of runs dry or you need to come up with new strategies.
So we knew we needed to diversify cause our income that year was probably 60% sponsorships. Um, so we’ve diversified quite a bit over the last years. I believe this year we’re at like 65%, uh, digital products and courses. Um, and then affiliates would probably be like 15%. And then the other, I think 20% or whatever, it’s going to be ads in, um, sponsorships from there.
Uh, but yeah, we focused heavily on creating an email opt in, getting them on our email list, selling them products. Um, and then we were also running Facebook ads directly to our digital products as well. And that’s done very well.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Um, and so, yeah, uh, let’s, let’s talk about the digital products just a little bit.
Um, so at least for me, like being able to have an email list and of course your own products, but having your own email list just helps me sleep better at night. Right. Because you went through the whole Pinterest thing where Pinterest was like a fire hose, and now it’s a little bit more difficult. Right.
Um, Google’s kind of the same way, right? Like. Sometimes traffic is amazing. And then sometimes like, Oh, you’re not ranking anymore for this particular keyword. Um, but when you have an email list, like you own that, right. Is it, is that similar feeling for you as
Kelan Kline: well? Yeah, for sure. It gives you, it helps you sleep at night.
Like you side, it gives you control. It’s the one thing that you have control over, and it’s the one platform that you can talk directly to your readers and avatar. So, yeah, it’s, uh, I think it’s very important for us. Um, SEO and affiliate marketing ads and Facebook ads, all that stuff probably makes us more money.
We probably don’t make a crazy amount from our email list, but if we’re ever having a low month with. You know, sponsorships or Facebook ads or whatever it is. If we’re ever in low month, we can literally start a launch, um, on our email list and sell our products or run a sale and make thousands of dollars by just, you know, writing a few emails and sending them out type of thing.
Spencer Haws: Right? Absolutely. So you’ve mentioned Facebook ads a few times. So, uh, let’s, let’s jump into that a little bit. Um, you said you’re actually able to generate profitable sales from your Facebook ads. Um, what does that funnel kind of look like? I mean, are you just taking people directly to the sales page or do you have a whole yeah.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. Um, so we’ve had success with giving a freebie, our budget template. It’s super colorful. It’s super easy to use for people that are just getting into budgeting. And then from there there’ll be a tripwire for our budgeting binder. Um, so that’s worked really well. Um, and then we also have a couple of bundles.
We’ll have a financial bundle and a chaos to control bundle, which is more of like a home management bundle, um, that we run directly directly to the customer, to our sales page on we pages to get sales that way. And those, those will range in January from three X ROI to two X to one and a half X, uh, depending on the day.
But they’ve been, we found a couple campaigns. There’s evergreen that we’re kind of scaling. Yeah. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: Wow. That’s awesome. Yeah. And so is that kind of, the challenge is, is being able to scale then, right? Because yeah. Maybe you’re able to get a couple sales here and there and it’s profitable, but can you find more people like that?
Kelan Kline: Exactly. Yeah. It’s scaling it’s, you know, coming up with new creative ways to get people’s attention, um, through the ads it’s managing them, it’s turning off the ones that aren’t working. It’s it’s a lot of work. Um, but like I said, that ad espresso tool that we use is been a lifesaver in so many ways.
Spencer Haws: And how did, how did you learn just trial and error?
Kelan Kline: Uh, trial and error, lots of trial and error. And did we’d taken two courses? Uh, one that’s not offered anymore. And then one through Monica, Louie flourish with Facebook ads learning good friend of ours too. And she has a great course. So we we’ve learned a lot from her.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. So if somebody wanted to kind of learn, is that what you would recommend is maybe check out Monica’s course or anything else?
Kelan Kline: Yeah, I think when you’re trying to learn anything it’s best to learn from the experts, um, it’s especially with paid traffic. Um, you don’t want to be experimenting and wasting tons of money when you could pay a couple hundred dollars and learn from an expert, um, and save yourself. You know, lots of time and efforts and frustration.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. And so beyond, um, just sending people to your digital products, you’re also sending Facebook traffic to other pages. Can you explain kind of what you’re doing there and how that is profitable for you guys?
Kelan Kline: Yeah, so we will, um, we keep track of how much we make per article, depending on, uh, how much the RPM is for media vine.
On that certain article, we’ll track our affiliate links to see how many, how much money we’re making our affiliate links on the article, but we’ll basically run ads to it. Um, and we will know that we need to have our cost per click down at a certain amount in order to be profitable. And it it’s. Oh a little bit narrow-minded cause there is, you know, people can join your email list and buy products later on.
So the lifetime customer value is much different, which we haven’t been very good at tracking that as well. Um, so we’re kind of just, uh, testing apples to apples of like, can we get the cost per click down enough to be profitable with just ads or just, just, uh, affiliate links type of thing. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Yep. We’ve been doing that. Uh, that was kind of a growth hack we used when Pinterest started to go South. Uh, we took, you know, Monica’s course and learn Facebook ads and realized that the penny hoarder does it and made millions of dollars doing the exact same thing of running Facebook ads, getting people to click links and making commission.
So just learning. Lots of learning with this blogging thing.
Spencer Haws: That’s fascinating, you know, I’ve, I, I’ve known that the penny hoarder did that and then other people kind of do that, but like, I’ll be honest. I know, I guess I’d never taken the time to actually learn the Facebook ads enough to make a profitable article.
Right. Just with affiliate links. So that’s, that’s fascinating to me, um, that you’re able to do that. Have you found that that helps at all with SEO, like sending more traffic to a certain page, like you start to rank better?
Kelan Kline: Um, so not specifically SEL, but there was, uh, with Pinterest when one of our articles was going viral, I had the idea of like, maybe I should run a Facebook ad to it.
Cause obviously it’s a good article, social, uh, social, socially geared article. That’s getting traffic. Should we started running Facebook ads to it? And it continued to just absolutely go viral. Um, knows that Dave Ramsey article in the beginning of January where it was. You know, getting hundreds of thousands of page views.
Um, and we started running Facebook ads to it to kind of extend that by route V as well. So that worked well with that. But yeah, specifically with SEO, I haven’t really seen a correlation. Okay.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Um, any other interesting things you’re doing with like paid traffic or just other tips that you want to share?
I mean, it’s, it’s fascinating, right? If, if somebody can take, I mean, essentially you could have, you know, a site that’s not getting any SEO traffic and potentially have a profitable site. If you’re able to dial in a, uh, an ad that goes to a landing page that makes money right.
Kelan Kline: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think, uh, if you’re just starting to Nick site and you can come up with a digital product that solves, you know, your readers main problem, um, you could run, you could potentially run ads to it.
And like you said, make some money while your site’s kind of growing with SEO traffic.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Have you tried anything like that with your newer niche site and the grill niche? I think he said,
Kelan Kline: yeah, not yet. Um, Haven’t really dove into that. Haven’t really touched it much. I know the grilling niche as a whole just got hammered.
The spruce eats like ate up all the traffic in that niche. Uh, so kind of waiting it out to see if this next Google updates going to help at all. After the one that recently happened with the reviews, the review, Google updates helped quite a bit. Um, so once, once we give it a couple more months, I’ll see if we’re going to start investing more in time, money into it.
But for right now, we’re just letting it sit.
Spencer Haws: Yup. No, that makes sense. Yeah. Um, so savvy couple. What, like how much content are you guys producing a month? Um,
Kelan Kline: for this year question? Uh, so currently we’re only at one article a week, but that includes, so we have a team, our teams only, we have a editor and she’s a virtual assistant as well.
She’ll do many, many tasks for us and then our writer. Um, and then she’s me and Brittany. Um, but yeah, we’ll produce one article a week and then do one audit per week so that we’re always updating and. Changing content as well to keep it relevant. Um, but I think we’re going to scale that up. Probably do double that, um, in the next couple months here, we used to do two articles a week, so eight articles a month and worked out well, but we kind of got overwhelmed, but, um, now that we have better systems and strategy, we’ll probably up to two a week.
So eight articles at least eight articles a month.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. And do you know how many articles total you have on the site roughly? Good
Kelan Kline: question. I think we’re around 300.
Spencer Haws: Okay. Yeah. Rough is fine. You know, just to give people an idea of the, the size of the site. Yeah. About 300 articles. So that’s a good size.
Um, so what’s your kind of keyword research and content strategy look like in terms of content planning and that sort of thing.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. So we use a traps to do all of our, we were planning, um, we, we took a course and kind of got our mega list of keywords that we could go after, based on, uh, key search volume and domain authority.
So if we had a chance to outbeat the people that are ranking on page one, um, and we kind of use that to build our content from, and then I just keep a close eye on other people in our niche. And when they publish new articles, I look and see what the keywords, you know, The value is with their search volume and keyword difficulty, and continue to add to the list and pull from it.
Right. And it’s organized, it’s an Excel. And then we use a sauna project management software to run the team with. But basically I sorted by, uh, keyword difficulty search volume, and then how relevant it is to our brand. And then we’ll kind of pull off the list based on that.
Spencer Haws: So you’re, you’re looking a lot of keyword difficulty.
Um, do you try to find like, um, sites that sort of have a lower domain authority than you guys? And if they’re kind of ranking, is that kinda what you’re looking at? You’re like, okay, we’ve got a keyword and I see that, Hey, there’s a couple of either newer sites or. Easier to yeah.
Kelan Kline: First started SEO. We definitely did that a lot more longer tail keywords and way lower domain authority to cut outreach.
But now that we’re in the 50 range, we were ranking for stuff that, you know, we shouldn’t be, and it’s in the high domain authority, you know? Outranking the balance.com or the pending order, stuff like that. So I don’t really look at, I mean, I’m not going after keywords that are absolutely insane, like best banks or best credit cards, but stuff within our niche.
I know that we can build backwards to and outrank. Uh, it’s pretty much wide open now. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. That’s good. Um, so. What type of, uh, um, article length, like are pretty much all your articles, like these monster long articles at this point, or what does that look like?
Kelan Kline: Uh, depends on what the competition is doing.
So whatever’s, we have a system you kind of view what’s ranked on page one and figure out how we can, uh, put us put a different twist on it, add infographics and a video to it. Uh, you know, figure out what keywords they’re ranking for the long tail keywords, secondary keywords. The length, the average length of the articles on page one and kind of make ourselves at least competitive, um, as far as length.
So yeah, most of our articles are at least 1500 words and we will publish 3000 word articles almost every time or similar to that. Yeah.
Spencer Haws: Yup. So then yeah, at that point, um, like you said, you’re looking at what competition is doing, making sure you’re better or best, you know, um, the, the best listing there on the first page.
Uh, and then it comes down to kind of link building. Right. Um, so you try to build links to every single new article that you publish. Or what does that
Kelan Kline: look like? Uh, we’ll definitely do interlinking and we got to jump on a blink, whisper, something that we really do. Um, it’s an awesome program. We’ve, we’ve researched it quite a bit.
It’s definitely one we’re going to add to our team here recently or soon makes it a lot easier for sure. So, yeah, right now it’s just interlinking mostly. Um, and backlinks, we, we just try to get backlinks to our home page mostly. Uh, there’s a couple of articles that are. Very specific that we’ll try to get, um, if they have high search volume and they’re very relevant to a lot of the articles, you know, a pillar post, we will, we’ll try to get specific backlinks to that.
But other than that, it’s just homepage links and interlinking.
Spencer Haws: Okay. Yeah. No, that makes sense. Um, any other, um, link-building or SEO strategies that I didn’t bring up that maybe I should have, that’s kind of working well for you guys or did we cover
Kelan Kline: it? We covered most of it. Um, Yeah, I think another thing that can set you apart with SEO, because everyone can copy cat content or make it very similar and, you know, build backlinks, I think more and more as this gets more and more competitive, especially in the personal finance niche where you’re, you’re competing with.
Companies that have millions of millions of dollars is making your site as user-friendly as possible. Um, and making it unique with either visuals or YouTube videos. And we’ve been, uh, going pretty hard on YouTube this year, publishing one, a video a week and making them very keyword, specific SEO driven.
And we’ll go into like more fun stuff down the road. But right now it’s strictly for SEO to improve our content. Um, and that’s helped a lot.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. So, um, how big is your channel now? Like how many subscribers?
Kelan Kline: Uh, we just got over 3000.
Spencer Haws: Okay. And you’ve been, when did you really kind of start putting effort into it?
Kelan Kline: the start of this year, but I think we start, yeah, I think we started with about 1500 before that. So we’ve got about 1,504 months or
Spencer Haws: so. That’s good. Yeah. YouTube is for sure. Easier to rank for in, right. Like if you are going to do keyword specific videos and um, yeah, it’s a whole other ball game.
That’s really interesting right out there. There’s a lot of untapped potential there.
Kelan Kline: Yeah. Creative and show off your personality and just add value to your content that others can’t compete with. Right, because they’re either not comfortable in front of the camera or they just don’t have the time and effort to do so.
Spencer Haws: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so let’s good. Yeah. You’ve got a very multi-prong approach. Right? You’ve got Facebook ads. You’ve got Pinterest, you’ve got SEO now, YouTube. Right. And kind of building a real brand. I think you’re right. Google sees all of that and they know that this is really an article that should be read by somebody that appears to be very authoritative in the niche.
Right? Yep. Exactly. That helps. Um, so if you were to give some advice to like a newer person just getting started out that wanted to jump into blogging, like what’s kind of one big piece of advice that you would give them.
Kelan Kline: Be prepared for a big learning curve. Um, and have, I think something that really helped us kind of get through the first year of not seeing any success.
And you know, if you’re going to start a niche site or any type of site, it’s going to be a good 12 months where you see a lot of success. Um, so be prepared to grind a little bit. Um, and have a big why, uh, our, why was to quit our jobs and, you know, be at home with our kids and have a, that was a huge motivating factor.
Uh, I had our daughter when I was, uh, when Brittany was still working and I was hustling my butt off to make enough money to, to be able to have Bernie quit her job. And thank God we did because I couldn’t handle it two kids and running their business by myself. Um, but yeah, I have a big one stay motivated, focus on SEO from the beginning, um, and really build.
You know, a brand and something that you can make a lot of money with and potentially have an exit strategy longterm.
Spencer Haws: Yeah. Great tips. Um, when your wife quit her job, so you both finally were full-time you kind of reached that point. Is there any way that you guys sort of celebrated or have you like celebrated late?
You know, Hey, we made it kind of thing.
Kelan Kline: Um, We’re not good at that. We definitely need to do that more often. I can’t remember if we went on vacation or not. Um, but yeah, the, the month leading up to her leaving her job and we were talking about the whole year, uh, we made more money in that month. Then she would make the entire year on her job.
So we were like, Holy crap, this is God saying she needs to leave this year. Um, and we were just blessed and, uh, it’s, it’s worked out really well. But yeah, we need to be better at celebrating the small wins and the big wins for sure. It’s hard to do as an entrepreneur sometimes
Spencer Haws: as long as you enjoy it, right.
As long as you’re enjoying the journey. Right. That’s, that’s, what’s important. So when you look back at your life, when you were working in the jail system and it’s your life now, like how do you compare the two.
Kelan Kline: Oh, it’s literally night and day. And at the jail I, I fell out. I’m a very happy go lucky person.
I fell into a deep depression. I was miserable. I hated my life. Um, felt stuck. I felt like I lost my personality and my identity. Um, so yeah, it is night and day. Life is amazing. I wake up everyday excited to get to work, to impact the world, uh, to grow our business and just spend quality time with our family.
Spencer Haws: Yep. Couldn’t say it better. I mean, here we are, you know, we’re just a couple of guys I’m working in my basement. You’re working in your house, right. Where we’re comfortable, can kind of work our own hours, just get a chat business and, um, you know, get a log into Google analytics and like, see that our business is still doing well.
Like it’s, it really is. It is nice. And I have to pinch myself, even though it’s been 10 years for me that it’s just. Like we haven’t really well, you know, we’re really blessed. And, um, so hopefully listeners that are out there can, um, take some of these tips right. And appreciate that this is very real, you know, this is things that people they can apply in their lives and grow a blog or build a niche site.
And there’s very real money to be made out there.
Kelan Kline: Yup. Just take the dive and go for it. Put in the
Spencer Haws: work. Absolutely. So if people want to follow along with you, uh, and maybe, um, get that free Herro guide, um, where’s a couple of places they can go to do that. I’ll
Kelan Kline: give you the link for the Herald guide to make it perfect.
And then, yeah, and then to find us, you can go to the savvy couple.com. Um, and we’re on all social media platforms. Pinterest SEO, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. We’d love to have you join our family here. Awesome.
Spencer Haws: Thank you Kelan so much for coming on the podcast. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and really happy to hear of all your success and hope it continues to go well.