Back in 2013, I left my job to become a freelance writer. There was only one minor problem: I had no clients. In search of my first few gigs, I did what almost all freelance writers do: sent countless resumes, applied on job boards and took a stab at the content mills. How do you think that worked out?
You guessed it. Despite an impressive resume, I struggled to stand out in a very crowded field. Then it hit me! If brands are now publishers, why isn’t anyone pitching them content ideas? What if I pitched individual brands the way freelance journalists pitch The New York Times, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Wired and others? So that’s what I did…and it worked.
It worked so well, in fact, that I had to start hiring other writers to keep up with demand. In a matter of months, I had built a successful content marketing agency. We grew in numbers, won awards and wrote thousands of blogs, white papers and other pieces of content for brands all over the world.
Then I thought: “If this worked so well for me, couldn’t it also work for other freelance writers? And couldn’t it greatly benefit brands by giving them a fresh perspective on what they could be publishing?”
The answer was yes. So we went about building a platform that not only facilitated this interaction, but also handled things like writer recruitment, on-boarding, edits, approvals and payments. But right from the start, we went to great lengths to ensure that this wouldn’t become “just another content mill.” We did this by:
- Making the platform fully transparent: Writers and brands should know one another (by name) and develop real relationships.
- Letting writers set their own rates: To attract top talent (which is what our clients are looking for) we had to let writers set the terms.
- Rewarding talent and creativity: Work had to be awarded based on the quality of a writer’s experience and ideas, not based on the lowest bid.