Believe it or not, this was our plan all along.
I founded nDash Marketing almost three years ago to the day. What started as a solo operation—with me writing blog posts for $25 a pop—quickly turned into a thriving content marketing agency. We hired amazing employees, won awards, moved to an office outside Boston and amassed a client roster of over 125 brands from all corners of the globe. But the whole time, we had our sights set on bigger things.
While we enjoyed helping our clients publish great content (and we’ll continue to do so) we were somewhat handcuffed by the limitations that come with being a boutique agency. We wanted to help thousands of brands, so we put our collective heads together and came up with a plan.
The realization of that plan is what you see today as part of the new-look nDash. Yes, we have a new site and logo (and we dropped the “marketing” from our name as well), but as you’ve probably already noticed, the changes are far more substantial.
Our mission remains to help brands publish great content, but going forward, we’ll now be doing this through our content community platform. The elevator pitch is as follows:
The nDash platform crowdsources content ideation and gives brands all the tools they need to recruit, onboard, manage and pay a team of freelance writers, or “content communities.”
First, a little bit of background and context: Companies are becoming increasingly reliant on the freelance workforce. In fact, a recent Aberdeen report found that a whopping 85% of organizations are now outsourcing work to freelancers. As this happens, we’re seeing a significant talent shortage. Companies are finding it harder and harder to find the ideal freelancers for their business, particularly among writers. It’s basic supply and demand.
Now there are plenty of freelance writing sites out there, but the problem is, elite writers have been very reluctant to join such platforms—and for good reason. The work is sporadic. The rates are absurdly low. The clients are flaky and the sites go to great lengths to make sure that companies and writers never know each other. It’s one hoop after another. Not exactly the way that most people would like to work. At least we didn’t think so.
So we built this platform in stark contrast to you’d find with a content mill. Here are a few specific ways that apply to both writers and brands:
- Transparency: As a writer, it’s impossible to produce great content for a client if you don’t know who they are. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that we even have to say that. nDash puts transparency above all else. Writers will know the companies they are working for, and conversely, brands will know their writers by name. We see content creation as a collaborative process that’s dependent on relationships, so we’ve ditched the anonymous username approach so common elsewhere.
- Quality: You get what you pay for. And when you’re paying $10 for a blog post, as you will in other platforms, you’re going to get sloppy work with no attention to detail. In order to quickly attract the best freelance writers, we knew that pricing would have to be flexible and dynamic, which is why we let writers set their own rates from day one, but also give brands the ability to price assignments according to their needs. It’s somewhat comical that other sites call themselves marketplaces, yet lock parties into standard pricing.
- Creativity: Here we get to the passive value of the platform. Instead of writers just waiting for someone to send them an assignment, we give them the ability to proactively pitch companies unique ideas as a way to land new work. At nDash, the pitch was the first thing we used to determine whether a writer was knowledgeable about a certain space, and whether they would be a good fit for a client. Theoretically, it’s now possible for a company to fill their entire content calendar without having to do anything at all.
- Organization and administration: The platform features a simplified UI that makes it easy to keep track of assignments, edits and important updates. It also handles all payments safely and securely through Stripe. In the end, the content is what matters most, so the platform cannot get in the way or make things more difficult.
For the past several months, we’ve been test-driving the platform with some of our current clients and in-house writers. In the last few weeks, we’ve been giving early access to those who signed up on the beta site. The feedback so far has been extremely positive. Granted, there’s a long way to go, but our hypothesis has been firmly validated.
Now comes the fun part—the part where we iterate, develop and push this platform towards our ultimate vision:
- Where every brand in the world can rely on an active, engaged content community for a portion of their writing needs
- Where top-flight freelance writers earn six-figures working on assignments that interest and inspire them
- Where ideas are exchanged in a way that blurs the lines between an outsourcing site and a social media network
- Where brands elevate themselves above the noise through engaging, thought-provoking content
If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, we’d love to have you along for the ride: https://go.ndash.co.
Much more to come.