“What led me to explore nDash was the platform’s diverse catalog of writers with whom we could test relationships. We were able to see quite quickly whether or not someone had the chops for what we were looking for, and it was a pretty successful run,” Michael Kaisin-Morin, Senior Managing Editor at Ask Media Group.
Ask.com Boosts Productivity, Page Interactions, and Content Quality with nDash
How does a content publishing giant consistently (and quickly) generate high-quality content?
Ask Media Group — a collection of websites that help curious people find the information they need — turned to nDash to help it overcome this challenge.
Low-Quality, Slow Delivery Make Content Publishing Tough
Ask Media Group — home to the iconic Ask.com website — reaches 245 million people globally each month. Regularly delivering high-quality content proved challenging for the company’s editorial team. Like many content-heavy organizations, Ask turned to a freelance platform to help source and manage freelance writers. But according to Michael Kaisin-Morin, Senior Managing Editor at Ask, the company’s previous solution left much to be desired.
“Our previous freelance agency was a double-blind, anonymous platform that didn’t allow us to communicate with writers directly. The quality was low, and the turnaround time could take months. Plus, we had to deal with a constant back-and-forth between writers and our in-house editors as we struggled to get their content up to par,” Michael said. “And at the same time, our content needs were huge — we were regularly publishing 100 articles a month.”
Ask was extremely frustrated with the general level of writers its previous platform delivered. “At Ask, writers get the byline for their work, so we needed real subject matter experts. We needed real writers — with credibility on the topics they were writing about, from financial services and travel to history and healthcare — who would provide accurate content,” Michael explained.
“Our challenge was clear: We needed to find a content partner capable of delivering access to a diverse stable of high-quality writers and feel confident those writers would deliver promptly,” he continued
Clear-Cut Communication and Interface
Ask’s editorial team considered numerous solutions before ultimately choosing to work with nDash. “We considered other agencies and platforms but found nDash’s communication style and interface clear-cut and simplified. It was easy for us to quickly review and understand writers’ backgrounds by viewing their profiles,” said Michael.
Michael appreciated how nDash helped him identify writers who may be a good fit for his team’s needs. “I could easily search for writers with certain expertise, check out their profiles, and review their writing samples.”
He continued, “Additionally, nDash writers reached out directly to me for specific opportunities. And nDash’s managing editor also sent us the profiles of folks with the right experience. It was easy to identify writers who had the kind of subject matter expertise we needed.”
nDash also helped Michael overcome one of publishing’s biggest challenges: managing payment. “The nDash platform is way more intuitive than other platforms. In publishing, one of the hardest parts of being an editor is handling the billing and invoicing side and keeping up with all the moving parts. nDash made it so simple to ensure that everyone got paid,” he explained
“With our previous platform, we had to pay in advance of receiving the work and commit to spending a certain amount every month. And then many times, the work wouldn’t arrive on time! With nDash, we have much more flexibility. The work is consistently delivered on time. Because of how funding is set up, we never have to worry about running low on funds to ensure our freelancers are paid,” he said.
“Tears of Joy”
Ask’s large editorial team — 13 editors across various subject areas — were delighted with the content nDash provided. “When we shifted from our previous freelance writing solution to nDash, my editors were practically crying tears of joy. They gained so much time back in their day-to-day lives because the content quality was so much higher. They no longer had to spend hours doing heavy edits just to get the quality up to par. nDash cut our editing time by at least half, and the overall process of dealing with nDash was faster and much more seamless,” Michael said.
He continued, “With our previous content firm, the head content managers were constantly meeting to discuss the best way to bring up our recurring concerns — concerns about consistency, quality, timeliness, and an overall lack of communication. We’d have to build each other up to have these uncomfortable conversations. That was a night and day experience compared to the support we received from nDash. Virtually overnight, nDash helped us develop an easy workflow that delivered immediate value. Within a matter of weeks, our frustration around content virtually disappeared. It was a completely different experience.”
nDash simplifies the entire editor and freelancer relationship from the moment the project kicks off through final delivery. “Even the messaging back and forth between the writer and the editor is intuitive. We have one place where we can easily share relevant instructions and then receive the content in a ready-to-go format. In the past, getting the draft article required a delivery person with a delivery service; nDash delivers everything in the platform, making things so simple. We were very grateful that nDash made it so easy,” said Michael.
nDash Boosts Productivity, Viewership, Page Interactions
Working with nDash gave a boost to the editorial team’s productivity, as well as the site’s viewership and page interaction metrics. “With our previous agency, we averaged about 100 published articles every month. Previously, our editors had to spend hours of their day fact-checking and going back and forth with the interface. Even something like getting the article transferred from the platform to our CMS was an arduous process. But working with nDash, our productivity increased to its highest numbers — we consistently published 250-300 articles every month,” Michael said.
He continued, “nDash helped grow our viewership and page interactions; we averaged 50M page interactions monthly. The platform helped us build out our content library as we expanded site taxonomies and increased content diversity.”
“Way More for Our Money”
Overall, from a content perspective, nDash provided Ask with a much bigger bang for its buck. “We were spending mid-six figures annually on freelance writers, and we got way more for our money working with nDash. nDash writers provided high-quality pieces quickly and simultaneously reduced the time we needed to edit and fact-check. We saved a ton of money and turned out better content,” Michael concluded.
What Can You Learn from Ask.com’s Experience?
The main takeaway from Ask’s experience is that nDash is a content platform capable of providing high-quality writers — subject matter experts in their field — at scale. Organizations with massive ongoing content needs can rely on nDash to deliver superior-quality content in an easy-to-use, intuitive platform.
About Ask Media Group
Home to the iconic Ask.com website and headquartered in Oakland’s thriving downtown, Ask Media Group operates dozens of websites that help curious people find the information they need. Its growing portfolio of online experiences helps users discover everything from bathrobes to tax forms, and it thrives on the challenge of developing a wide variety of sites that address everyday questions, no matter how large or small. Its team knows how to not only create but profitably grow digital properties to meaningful scale, touching the lives of millions of people each day. Ask Media Group is owned and operated by IAC (NASDAQ: IAC). For more info, visit https://www.askmediagroup.com/.