Verblio Customer Spotlight: Handshakin’ From Blog To Agency

For this month’s customer spotlight, we’re proud to introduce Matt Holmes of Handshakin. He’s been a longtime Verblio customer since 2014. Long enough, in fact, that he’s been able to witness our business grow and consistently adapt to the evolving content marketing trends.

And as Verblio matured, Handshakin’ was growing up right alongside us, from a single blog with a mission all the way to a successful marketing agency with multiple clients, using Verblio content to fuel its growth.


(Photo courtesy of Matt Holmes)

From Blog to Agency

If we’re your business blog’s best friend, Matt of Handshakin’ is your business’s best friend. Matt has met with, interviewed, and literally shaken hands with everyone who’s anyone, from America’s top entrepreneurs to members of Congress.

His business began as a search for the most successful networkers and personal brand-builders in the game, and today, he’s proud to be assisting and educating entrepreneurs of all kinds in building their own personal brand through a content-rich website. Handshakin’ serves as a one-stop-shop marketing agency that builds your personal or small business website, fills it with high-quality, consistent content, and offers ongoing support and guidance on leveraging your personal brand to drive more leads.

Matt first began with Verblio to supplement his own blog with fresh content.

It’s really hard to consistently publish content, and always having recent content is instant online credibility. Having archives of content for several months will increase that. I’m not a great writer, and having drafted posts helps me stay focused with the pieces that I publish.

And as Handshakin’ acquired its first clients, Verblio made it possible to offer content right out of the gate.

Even now, as a 3-person company operating over 55 websites, Handshakin’ in no way has the internal resources to handle weekly, or even monthly, blogs for their clients. Verblio produces nearly 100% of all of their clients’ content.

An Agency’s Guide to Using Verblio

With several years of white labeling content under its belt, Handshakin’ is an expert at integrating Verblio into its content creation process. To ensure that its clients’ industries, topics, and tone correctly transfer into the Verblio platform, Matt has homed in on an onboarding process that closely parallels Verblio’s own. He uses an intake form containing the exact questions we ask new customers. This allows him and his team to easily translate his client information over to their Verblio subscription and trust that it contains the details that Verblio writers rely on.

As for workflow, Matt has a single content manager who manages all of Handshakin’s clients in the Verblio system. She relies on more general, recurring, ongoing topics that Verblio writers can iterate within and use their creative license to dream up and produce unique, but related articles on. Once a month, she’ll contact each client, using Verblio’s white label functionality to show them a selection of several blog posts. They can read through them all and pick the blog that is the best fit for that month (or week). Once a client has signed off on a post, she’ll purchase that post from Verblio and get it up on the client’s website.


But like any agency trying to produce content at volume, Handshakin’ needs a method to help ensure consistency of style and tone across multiple writers. While some agencies solve this issue by only working with a select few writers or polishing content in-house before distributing it to the client, Matt has found that a certain level of transparency with his clients can maintain consistency. He tells his clients that Handshakin’ produces content using a community of U.S.-based writers and if there is a piece that a client especially loves or hates, they should communicate that so that Handshakin’ can favor or limit that writer. From here, they can ‘prefer’ or ‘block’ a writer on that client’s individual Verblio subscription to help curate a pool of writers who understand the style and tone of their content.

Advice from a Content Veteran

When asked what advice he’d give a burgeoning agency considering offering content to its clients, Matt’s advice was simple:

Have a clear idea of how [content marketing] is going to make your client more money.

We couldn’t agree more. Lay out what a successful engagement with one another will look like. If you have the bandwidth, make a concerted effort to track content performance data for your clients so that you can make the case for ROI. This quantitative approach will help attract and retain clients who understand the power of content marketing.

But Matt also acquiesced that many small agencies, like his own, wouldn’t have the resources to be able to provide this data. So, if that’s the case, “find a client who is already looking for content marketing.” This will mean that, as an agency, you will not have to constantly make the case for content itself. You’ll just need to be able to produce great content which the client then can easily plug into their website, campaigns, and promotional strategy.

Growing Old Together

Because Matt has used Verblio as a content partner from the very beginning of his business, he’s been able to build his own content solution in tandem.

Knowing the ins and outs of the Verblio platform enabled him to build powerful onboarding and content management processes that mirrored Verblio’s own, making content creation efficient and easy to scale. We’re confident that as his content solution changes with the ever-evolving content world, Verblio will be in lockstep beside him, ensuring his clients get high-quality content that match the emerging needs of the modern content marketer.

Curious to read more customer spotlights? Check ’em out here.


Zoe Treeson

Having started my career in film, storytelling is at my core. That’s why helping Verblio customers tell their most compelling stories is my bread and butter. I seek to make the journey from curious web visitor to loyal customer seamless and delightful. But Hitchcock and the Coen Brothers aren’t the only things that’ll get me chatting. Before being seduced by film, I was on a neuroscience track. So if you’re ever hankering to talk CRISPR updates or the newest RadioLab episode, be assured that you’ll have my attention.

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