The Human Revolution

Jonny Darling Insight Leave a Comment

How content marketplaces like Contently are bridging technology and people through service managed outsourcing & fulfilment.

This evening I’m at the WebSummit talk presented by Le Cool & Pilcrow called Spiel @ The Summit. In the hot-seat is David Carr of NY Times glory and Shane Snow, CCO of Contently, discussing the future of the media, modern journalism, and adapting to the digital age.

I thought it timely to pen my vantage of the content marketplace. Currently, it’s fragmented, decentralised and unqualified. The story so many start-ups are telling of a unified digital publishing community where professional journalists join hands with citizen journalism and freelance writers on a global platform that matches publishers’ production requirements with quality writers. Utopia!

It’s a simple enough social network play, the technology isn’t the hard part (though hat tip to the developers doing great things), it’s us humans as usual who put a spanner in the works. When people get involved, things get complicated. Essentially, the mission statement is to create a one-stop-shop where all buyers and sellers of content gather and trade time for payment.

Contently Platform Features

I’ve watched this space intently. To me it’s the piece of the puzzle that is missing in all of these venture-backed content marketing software companies that are scrambling to IPO. All of the production, publishing & analytics tools are there, rolled in to dazzling all-in-one dashboards, but you’ve got to feed the machine. Solutions are gradually coming to market that cater for this.

Zerys platform is a powerful system for scheduling production, putting writing jobs out to tender, filtering bids and reviewing professionals, commissioning content and getting it published at a fair price.

Scripted leads with some impressive stats and appealing outsourced, freelance model –

Scripted Content CreationThere’s a host of others; WriterAccess, Writtent, NewsCred. Personally, I use ClearVoice to showcase my various contributions to online publications and news sites.

As Shane Snow of Contently puts it:

Brands and publishers need great content to differentiate themselves on the Internet. And writers want to be paid well for fulfilling, quality work. Content farms are awful. Companies like Demand Media are the online writer’s version of puppy mills or chicken factories.

Before the Internet put publishing and distribution tools in everyone’s hands for free, companies that wanted brand exposure paid for time and/or placement on a third party media property (radio ads, TV commercials, banners). Many still do, but a general shift is occurring online – away from outbound marketing and paid media, toward creating one’s own branded content and spreading that media across the social web.

At the heart of inbound marketing and the content movement is production, producing content that is valuable and valued by the end-user or customer who consumes it. As we’ve written before, it’s the gift economy, inbound marketing is all about the funnel and at the top of the funnel is the offer and call-to-action. The freemium model is built giving before receiving, fostering adoption before charging for “premium” version or full-access. In the case of content (covering a multitude of forms in blogs, research articles, infographics, designs, e-books, widgets and add-ons), Contently might just be the missing piece in the puzzle, particularly if they can offer freelancers “at least $50-60K a year”.

Do remember however, it’s people we’re dealing with here. The human revolution is just getting started and outsourcing is a messy business! Trust is the currency and customer is king. That’s why our service model at SURFMERCHANT™ is founded on happiness, we guarantee customer satisfaction in our digital consulting services, or your money back! Why not give us a try?