How Wrote 1,000 SEO Articles in 12 Months (and then IPO'd)

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Our case study focuses on a twofold challenge.

Firstly, what are the content operations that let a small agency create 125 high-quality articles per month? We’ll look at writer acquisition, documentation, and templates.

Secondly, how can you select appropriate keywords and plan for your success? We’ll look at the Planning Predictor Framework™ that Brad’s team uses.


  • 1,570% in the first three months
  • 1.2M monthly traffic
  • 35,000 position 1-3 keywords
  • Top 1 for "Project Management Software" (51K Monthly Searches)
  • Top 3 for "Project Management" (300K Monthly Searches)

🕵️ You know the SEO-attributed conversions be wild.

“If you see something working you should continue to pour gas on the fire until you see diminishing returns. That was Monday’s ‘why’ behind investing in content.”—Brad Smith

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How do you find and qualify good writers? (and lots of them quickly)

It’s very hard because what “good writing” is is subjective. It’s not hard to find writers, there are lots of them, the main problem you’ll face is building a strong hiring process.

“​​The best way I've found to reliably find good writers is just to look at a lot of writers constantly.”

Brad has a six-part process for acquiring new writers at scale:

1/ Run adverts in different places

We’re not just looking for a marketing writer, we’re looking for a SaaS writer with expertise in content strategy. The ads get super specific.

2/ Ask for examples

Request samples and examples from the writer that shows their expertise for marketing SaaS clients. Get very specific with them, and if they can’t give you good published samples, that’s a good way to disqualify lots of applicants upfront.

3/ Disqualify aggressively

Brad asks applicants to format their documents/samples in certain ways during the process. Most people will gloss right over that, which is a great way to disqualify people.

If you’re working asynchronously and at scale, you need people who can follow a style guideline. You need to find writers who can’t follow instructions.

That’s just one example of a check and balance you can put in place to vet new writers. Brad notes, this weeds out 80% of applicants immediately.

4/ Paid writing test

The next step is to pay writers to write a topic. From there you vet whether they can do that well.

5/ Ramp up the writer

Once you’ve found a good writer, you see how much work they can do for you. If they tell you they can do four, start them at two.

It takes a little back and forth to get them up to speed, so start them slow and get them used to the documentation.

6/ Create a buffer

If you’re trying to produce 100 articles for one client, build an internal team that could actually produce 125-150 articles per month.

If people get sick, take a vacation or something goes wrong, you don’t want your content factory to reduce output. Never rely on one individual to keep the lights on.

Top tip: Always build extra capacity into your system and processes. You could do an extra 20% for every client if they needed it.

About the Creator

This is case study is based on a real interview with Brad Smith, founder of Codeless. His team ran the operation behind scaling their content production.

As a company without much content, they had a lot of catching up to do. This project accelerated their place on search and helped build a low customer acquisition cost channel.

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How Wrote 1,000 SEO Articles in 12 Months (and then IPO'd)

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