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.