In the world of startups, the product always plays catch-up to the vision. nDash has certainly been no exception.
When we launched our content creation platform back in 2016, we did so with the slogan of “Build Your Content Community.” As we saw it, a content community was the new way of publishing; a modern writing team made up of in-house talent, freelancers, and subject matter experts all working together.
There was only one problem: at the time, the nDash platform could only be used to work with freelancers.
Today, we’re excited to announce the official launch of nDash for Internal Teams, which lets brands of all sizes and industries manage the flow of content with their in-house team, as well as with the world’s top freelance writers. Before we get to the features and how it works, we wanted to share the backstory and give you a deeper glimpse into our ultimate vision.
Origins of the Idea
Before nDash, I was but a humble content marketing manager at a growing tech company. I wrote a lot myself early on, but before long, I was managing content production with a small team of full-time writers, other members of the marketing department, and (occasionally) a contribution from a freelance writer. Nothing about this was cohesive. I pieced the entire operation together with email, spreadsheets, and notepad docs (yep, this was before Google docs really took off). As a result, deadlines were often missed, topics overlapped, and we exhausted ourselves trying to keep our heads above water.
During this time, the vision for nDash started to take shape. I began to imagine what it would be like to manage content creation at a greater scale. I envisioned dozens of pieces in the works at all times from both in-house writers and freelancers alike. And, I imagined lots of collaboration on ideas and a way for everyone to see (and contribute to) the company content calendar.
In short, I began to envision our brand as a true publishing operation. We just needed a platform — one that was affordable, accessible, and easy-to-use — in order to make it a reality. Seeing no such platform, we decided to build one ourselves.
The Idea’s Evolution
Since then, having talked to thousands of marketers at companies of all sizes, I find this story to be quite common. Nearly every brand produces content with a mix of internal and external writers, yet it’s all disconnected. Employees are disconnected from the editorial calendar. Freelancers are disconnected from the brand story and marketing operation. The various content creation tools (HubSpot, WordPress, Google docs, etc.) are disconnected from the publishing process. This is what we’re trying to change.
In the English language, an en dash is simply used to connect values. Thus, the mission for nDash is to connect and combine the tools, talent, and topics of content creation into a single platform. This launch is another small step towards that ultimate vision.
Let’s take a quick look at how it works:
Internal Teams Overview
In short, brands can now manage content creation with their in-house writers, in addition to their freelance roster. This includes:
- Ideation: Much like nDash freelancers, an in-house writer can be asked to contribute content and ideas to the editorial calendar. The workflow experience is almost identical. But unlike nDash freelancers, these assignments are done without a cost (because you’re paying them a salary…hopefully).
- Creation: Again, similar to the freelance experience, in-house writers are able to draft their content in our text editor (or submit in another format), which lets you keep all works-in-progress in a single spot.
- Edits: Suggest edits and revisions with your team in the assignment thread.
- Publishing: Push your completed content into various apps and CMS platforms (more on this below).
A few things worth noting:
- In-house writers can NOT see the paid projects you might have in the works with freelancers. If you don’t want employees to see this type of information, add them as an in-house writer only. If you want to grant them access to all info, you can make them an admin or a contributor.
- Under the “My Writers” section, you’ll see a new tab for In-House writers. You’ll also see a new option for In-House writers when creating an assignment brief.
- There’s no per-user fee; you can add as many users to the account as you like.
- This feature is, however, only available for Pro brands only (but if you want a free trial, Contact Us).
A Must-Have for the Modern Content Marketer
Over the last few quarters, most of what we’ve developed was done as a precursor to this release, which would start to make nDash a must-have for the modern content marketing manager. This included features like Content Feeds, Content Calendar, and integrations with HubSpot, WordPress, and other platforms. On that note, we’re also excited to announce a few new integrations and other features as part few the release.
In addition to the aforementioned integrations, the latest version of nDash also includes connections to:
- Google Drive: For pushing content into Google as a Google doc
- Dropbox: For pushing completed content into Dropbox as an HTML file
- Medium: For pushing content as a draft-ready version into Medium
You can see more about how these work by checking out our Brand Help Topics.
Misc. Features & Enhancements
Other new features you might be interested In:
- Campaigns: Users are now able to tag and organize assignments as part of broader campaigns. This is an easy way to keep track of what’s being published based on audience or initiative.
- Writer Messaging: On each writer’s profile, you’ll now see a messaging icon that makes it easy to reach out to a writer outside of an assignment or idea request.
- Export Anytime: You no longer have to wait for an assignment to be completed in order to push the content via one of the integrations. Export the content any time you’d like.
- Improved Text Editor: We’ve updated the text editor in all parts of the platform, including brand profile, assignment thread, messages, and other areas.
- Image Uploads: We’ve made it easier to upload brand profile images, user images, and other new and reworked image upload tools.
- Assignment Cloning: Streamline assignment creation by cloning any existing assignment.
Final Thoughts on nDash for Internal Teams
Although the vision is starting to catch up to the platform, we still have a long way to go and a lot more in store to help brands create amazing content. As always, we’re humbled by your continued support and excited to let you know that the best is yet to come.
Questions? Hit us up!