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Contently renews its fight against cheesy content marketing with $9 million cash injection

Remem­ber those con­tent farms that flood­ed search engines with low-grade, link-bait­ed con­tent mar­ket­ing? Well, thanks to rapid changes in dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing and pub­lish­ing busi­ness mod­els, they’ve become a good deal less preva­lent than they used to be. But as well-informed a tech prod­uct man­agers will be aware, New York-based tech start­up Con­tent­ly has sin­gle­hand­ed­ly played a major part in that war on cheesy con­tent since its launch in 2011. And, hav­ing just snagged $9 mil­lion in Series B fund­ing, it’s well posi­tioned to con­tin­ue the bat­tle with renewed for­ti­tude.

Two busi­ness mod­els in one

With its army of free­lance jour­nal­ists and its soft­ware plat­form, Con­tent­ly joins brands and mar­keters with tal­ent­ed free­lancers to pro­duce tru­ly engag­ing, top-qual­i­ty native con­tent cre­at­ed for today’s dig­i­tal-savvy con­sumers since 2011. As its co-founder and CEO, Shane Snow, puts it, Con­tent­ly “is a mix between two busi­ness mod­els, a soft­ware tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny and a tal­ent man­age­ment com­pa­ny.”

That mix has cer­tain­ly proven a hit with investors, as the recent hefty round tes­ti­fies. But any prod­uct man­ag­er with more than a pass­ing acquain­tance with native adver­tis­ing will know what’s turned them on: when con­tent mar­ket­ing is han­dled intel­li­gent­ly, it’s proven very effec­tive.

An all round hit?

The start­up has also proven a hit with free­lancers: Contently’s free­lance net­work now stands at upwards of 28,000 accred­it­ed jour­nal­ists, all of whom can expect to earn a good deal more than they could hope to do via the oDesks and Elances of this world. A jour­nal­ist might expect to earn between $5 and $50 for a blog on Elance; at con­tent­ly, he or she can expect to earn an aver­age of $275 per blog, and can read­i­ly pick up work in the $500-$1000 range.

Instead of tak­ing a cut of the price set by pub­lish­ers for the con­tent they require, Con­tent­ly licens­es its mar­ket­place soft­ware to them. That means that, along with agen­cies, mar­keters and brands, they get instant access to the startup’s free­lance tal­ent net­work, hir­ing the tal­ent they need for any par­tic­u­lar project (work­flow and pay­ment tools are also includ­ed, so writ­ers always get paid as soon as they’ve com­plet­ed the projects).

The $9 mil­lion will be ploughed into expand­ing Contently’s enter­prise tools and enhanc­ing the tools used by its jour­nal­ists to sim­ply con­tent pro­duc­tion.

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