To wrap up the year, we’re giving our Write Blog readers one of the most intensive insights we’ve ever put together on our internal content production.
Today features a real look at the content creation our team undertook for our clients over this year with an income and content creation report. We’ve never done a transparent income report before on the Write Blog, so this is the first one. The data below comes from our e-commerce Content Shop, and the month-by-month data is generated from inside our own platform as over 50-60 monthly clients order from us.

New here? Read the story of how Express Writers was founded.

Last year, our consistent top selling service was general blogs, and our team was producing over a million words per month.
This year, our top seller was industry expert blogs.
We saw a major transition in demand from general writers into expert writers th­is year, comparatively from 2018 to 2019.
Across even our highest-volume client accounts, industry expert writers are now becoming a “must-have” over a more generalized, non-expert voice. This is a necessary evolution, as Google continues to enforce E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) and Y-M-Y-L (an even higher level of quality needed for Your Money or Your Life industries) in ranking content in search results. Expert authors and creators are absolutely a must for brands and publishers today.
Without further ado, let’s get into our year-to-date content creation recap.

2019 Content Creation Report: A Year in the Life of A 500,000+ Word/Month Content Production Team

content creation report

Our Top 6 Hottest Content Creation Service Offerings for the Year

  1. Expert Blogs
  2. Custom-Quoted Projects
  3. Expert Web Pages
  4. Custom Images
  5. Product Descriptions
  6. Blogging Plans
500,000+ words written per month? 😱✍️ It's true, for an agency with 90 writers on staff! Read @JuliaEMcCoy's first-ever income and production report for @ExpWriters in this Write Blog. Click To Tweet

3 Content Creation Insights from Our Year of Content Production in 2019

I founded Express Writers back in 2011, eight years ago. Read my story here, and if you want the FULL, unabridged story (including how I escaped a cult!), sign up for my memoir on my entrepreneurial journey launching in February of 2020.
I’m thrilled to see our company continue to stand and grow in the industry, and 2019 was another great year for Express Writers. We had the opportunity to partner with and collaborate on some incredible content projects, serving clients all around the world with fabulous written content for their blog, site, PR, social media, advertising, and other copy needs.

1. Quality Over Quantity in Team Size

Jeff Bezos said it best: “Every internal team should be small enough that it can be fed with two pizzas.” (He continues to apply this rule in Amazon’s upper management.)
After surviving eight years of HR trenches, I’ve found that my leadership runs best when it’s a small, productive team of people. We don’t have crossovers, we avoid ‘too many cooks in the kitchen,’ and everyone works together incredibly well.
.@JuliaEMcCoy says a small team is best. 'You don't need a massive team to produce amazing content. After surviving eight years of HR trenches, I’ve found that my leadership runs best when it’s a small, productive team of people.' 💥 Click To Tweet
You also don’t need a massive team to produce amazing content. We have 90 writers on staff, and 30-40 are always busy full-time—several of whom work and train directly under me. The others remain on-call for various niche project. One writer only writes content for a luxury yachting brand; another only writes content on outdoor sports, fly-fishing and hunting. One is a retired J.D. that writes copy for legal websites and blogs. Those are just some examples of the niche writers we’ve head-hunted to add to the team.
While our writing and editing team stays around ninety people consistently, our leadership team has stayed small this year. Our management and leadership team is less than six people. Korilynn (writing/editorial team management), myself (marketing/HR), Josh (our CTO), Lorien (client onboarding and assistance), Kira (scheduled for calls by appointment, on-staff Content Strategist), and Danielle (our content and editorial specialist, as well as support for my courses).

2. Higher Word Count Doesn’t Always Mean More Revenue

High revenue doesn’t always correlate to a high volume of words and production, as you’ll see from the statistics below. In fact, many times, it’s quite the opposite for our team. For example, a general blog can cost $45; a single 500-word page of a case study by one of our top-tier marketing writers can cost $150. Typically, the higher the quality desired, the higher the price; and less words can end up being involved in a project like that as opposed to a lower-quality, higher-word count project.
So, this has pushed me towards ways we can work smarter, not just harder.
Higher 'production' doesn't always equal more revenue. 💰 Work smarter, not harder. This and other lessons from @JuliaEMcCoy's year-end report for @ExpWriters 6 MILLION word/year: Click To Tweet
Our lowest-revenue month was a month where we were completing a big general content project for a client, and our content creation was ridiculously high-volume. But our income was low. Since general content is one of our lowest-priced services, that was a low-revenue month.

3. Evergreen Business Growth is the Best Growth

The biggest catalyst for our growth continues to be our own Express Writers’ Write Blog, which is a “slow and steady” race—reminiscent of a turtle plodding forward, day after day. We haven’t taken a vacation from blogging in eight years. I’m three months ahead with the content schedule, and we publish a blog once every Tuesday. I also publish a YouTube video every 3rd Monday. After eight years, our blog is now at 100,000 visitors/month.
Slow and steady growth is the best growth, @JuliaEMcCoy says. It's taken them eight years to grow the Write Blog to the presence it has today -- nearly 100,000 visitors per month. Click To Tweet
Some of the catalysts for our continued growth I can trace back to my most massive projects I launched. Back in 2016, I wrote and published my first book; in 2017, I published my second book and my first course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course, that went hand-in-hand with the book as a video curriculum. Today, we still receive forms and inquiries from prospects who were first readers of my book and even students of my courses. Creating and launching such massive “content projects” in our industry has given our brand a terrific boost. These projects were not easy—to launch them, I did most of the work myself and pulled many 90-hour weeks. It was slow, rough, and hard going. But I look back and know today that the hard work was completely worth it.

A Look at Our Month-by-Month Content Production

January:

  • $78,466.10 in revenue
  • 212 orders placed
  • 605,000+ words written

Top Seller: Industry Expert Blogs, Custom-Quoted Projects, General Blogs
This was our lowest-margin month of the year. We had heavy staff turnover, starting with Hannah, our former Content Director, who resigned from the team and quit the first week of the month. After she left, we discovered a great deal of holes in the team including poor deadline management, quality dropping, writers allowed to be consistently late. All in all, out of 90 people, 40 were either quit or were let go this month. It was an unexpectedly crazy month for us.
February:

  • $95,772.65 in revenue
  • 223 orders placed
  • 601,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Expert Web Pages, Social Media Posts
This was a busy month for me. We hired 45 people in total by the end of February, filling our writer and editorial gaps. We got back on track and fixed the issues in our consistency with deadlines and quality holes. Korilynn, a writer and expert remote worker who has been in my team since the very beginning, joined as Business Development Manager in January when Hannah quit, eventually transitioning into a full-time Content Manager role she has as of today. Korilynn has been an extremely efficient, go-getter manager, who can be trusted to get everything done with quality and speed while working from her home office. To date, she’s one of the best managers I have ever worked with.
March:

  • $96,002.05 in revenue
  • 253 orders placed
  • 537,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Custom Services, General Blogs
March was a solid month. We had a consistent amount of orders and hired a few additional writers and editors.
April:

  • $93,904.75 in revenue
  • 277 orders placed
  • 560,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Custom Services, General Blogs
April was another solid month. We had few changes in the team and overall, stayed consistently productive.
May:

  • $90,662.90 in revenue
  • 213 orders placed
  • 660,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, General Blogs, Custom Services
May was another great month. We stayed busy all month working on content orders for reoccurring clients.
June:

  • $82,382.55 in revenue
  • 233 orders placed
  • 503,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Custom Services, Industry Expert Blogs, Expert Web Pages
During summer, we always experience a lull in orders when marketers take time off. It either hits in June, July, and sometimes in August. This was that month. We had a drop in orders, but still saw our consistent client accounts continue to order with us. Another change about this month was the amount of custom-quoted content projects. We handled the most we’ve ever done in this month.
July:

  • $98,756.80 in revenue
  • 278 orders placed
  • 595,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, General Blogs, Custom Services
This was another fairly busy month, especially for July. We came very close to the six-figure mark for the month and worked on quite a few expert blog writing projects.
August:

  • $101,580.40 in revenue
  • 285 orders placed
  • 628,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Custom Services, Industry Expert Blogs, General Blogs
In August, we had a catastrophe occur. Korilynn was called to the hospital with a family emergency and was unable to come back to work. The loss of a great manager so suddenly was felt most heavily in October, when the reverberations of pulling overtime hours on my part to both find a new manager and fill in actively hit us. I had quite a few moments this month where my head was hitting the desk. We went through manager after manager this month, unable to find a good fit for our team leadership position that Korilynn was so effective at. I even tried to go local, meeting and hiring a managerial candidate in a coworking location in Austin. That person did not last more than a week. With Korilynn managing a high volume of tasks so well for months, it was hard to find someone to replace her effectively and quickly.
September:

  • $91,478.19 in revenue
  • 229 orders placed
  • 513,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Custom Services, Product Descriptions
I can’t express how grateful we were to be able to re-hire Korilynn back to a salaried, differently structured management position. She came back as Content Manager later in August, and we allowed her to set her own hours daily to care for her mother that had suffered a stroke. Our team was thrilled to have Korilynn’s firm, experienced, organized hand at the helm.
October

  • $86,797.05 in revenue
  • 302 orders placed
  • 600,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Custom Services, Expert Web Pages
We had a slower month due to the management problems we’d experienced a few months ago. We got back on track with the team, our project deadline management, and pushed ahead.
November

  • $98,589.95 in revenue
  • 261 orders placed
  • 630,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Product Descriptions, Expert Web Pages
This was a good month. We had a consistently high amount of orders and return clients.
December

  • $76,997.30 in revenue
  • 199 orders placed
  • 200,000+ words written

Top Sellers: Industry Expert Blogs, Custom Services, Expert Web Pages
December is always a slow month due to the holiday weeks of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the upcoming New Year’s Eve and Day. Despite the lull in orders placed, this was still a solid month, with consistent clients returning for more.

Conclusion: 2020 Will Be Another “Year of the Expert Content Writer”

Content marketing is an incredible channel to build your brand name. It can truly do SO much for small and large brands alike.

  • Content taps into the major traffic potential that is Google search (70.6% of web traffic originates there, per Backlinko/Sparktoro).
  • Creating strategic content on your site generates 67% more leads than NOT publishing content, says a HubSpot study.
  • More than 71% of B2B buyers read blog content during their buying journeys (3-5 blogs is the norm).

If you’re on the receiving end of those stats, building amazing content to grow your brand, the rewards are huge. More people are getting wise to how well it works, and so we’ll see more content from more brands in 2020.

Read our case study of how to build content Google (and your reader!) loves.

To build great content, however, the word you need to focus on is “amazing.” Without that qualifier in your content, you don’t have a chance.
In 2020, it’s not just icky content that won’t work. Even mediocre, “okay” pieces will fail to land. To rank with Google and readers, your content has to go far into the “exceptional” — the impeccably well-written, expert-sounding territory.
The bar for awesome content keeps rising. Marketers who have been doing content forever know this now, so they’ll up their game in response.
The result: Content in 2020 will be better than ever – and more brands than ever will be embracing a consistent content presence.

How can you keep up with your content in 2020?

  • Hit Google’s definition of quality. In their Webmaster Guidelines, Google talks about just which benchmarks to hit. Help your user, include the right terms, offer high-quality content.

From Steps to a Google-friendly site

From Webmaster Guidelines

  • Prove you’re an expert in your industry. Google discusses the importance of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Google itself says this is an indicator of how they define high-quality (and low-quality) content, in an article published in August 2019 on the Webmaster Central Blog.

  • Create & publish amazing-quality content without stopping. Inconsistency in content is a recipe for catastrophe, both in rankings and in building up a loyal audience over time.
    • At Express Writers, we consistently rank at the top of Google because of our commitment to consistency and quality.
    • Case in point: For 8 years (yes, years), without missing a beat, we published one blog/week. Not taking a ‘vacation’ from content has paid off. Today we rank for over 23,000 keywords in Google, and 99% of our prospects come to us through organic search.


Ready to up your game in content in 2020?
Here at Express Writers, content is our speciality. I handpick and train each writer and editor myself. We have over 90 writers and a well-structured team, ready to take on your projects. Our marketing writers craft email copy; we have industry expert SEO writers that can tackle your blogs and web pages; and we also craft ebooks (fully designed and written from scratch), and blog writing plans where we create and post to your site, complete with images, meta descriptions, and a great headline. Get in touch with us today about your project.