The year 2015 marks the fifth year of business for WriterAccess here in Boston. The story of how we went from zero to 12,000 customers is pretty intriguing, so let's set the scene.
Before we started WriterAccess, we launched several other companies all under the ideaLaunch umbrella. That's the name of our holding company, which is like an incubator for all our ideas and companies. You may have stumbled upon a few of them, like LifeTips (2000), Webfish (2001), Content 6 (2005) and/or WordVision (2006). You can read all about our fun business story, including our most famous story about a golf tournament that raised $100,000 for the Jimmy Fund after our CEO battled cancer.
In 2006, the content marketing revolution was advancing. Our CEO Byron and team were leading the charge. Content 6, our full-service content marketing agency was growing like crazy, servicing 100+ clients like Walmart, The Company Store, SalesForce, Iron Mountain and many more. Byron had just published his first book; The Content Marketing Roadmap. His monthly content marketing webinars were attracting hundreds of listeners, learning what's next with the revolution. And his speaking events at the major search marketing conferences were getting bigger and bigger.
All seemed well. Except this: Scale. Forward-thinking companies were joining the revolution in droves. But who was going to create all this great content needed to engage readers and keep them coming back for more? So in 2010, Byron and team launched WriterAccess – a marketplace designed to connect customers directly with screened, proven writers sporting advanced skills. Within months, the site attracted thousands of clients clamoring for high-quality articles, blog posts, news feeds, copywriting, manuscripts, product descriptions, press releases and more. Things progressed quickly.
By 2011, all clients were rolled into the WriterAccess platform. Team members shifted roles from agency service to customer support. Special features were added to make the software sizzle. Creative briefs. Content analytics. Voice messaging. Conference calling. Rulesets. Stock photography. On and on. The software and service just kept getting better. We went all-in with WriterAccess, focusing exclusively on that business and leaving all other distractions behind.
Harboring the best clients meant hosting the best writers. So the team solved that problem, too: Transparency. Most marketplaces “hid” the fee structure. WriterAccess launched the web's only full-disclosure payment policy: 70% to writers, 30% to WriterAccess. And they topped that off with a 100% delight guarantee. Writers loved it. Clients loved it. It was your classic win-win!
Partnerships were required to grow the business faster, and wider. So they made that happen, too. Adobe Business Catalyst. Compendium. Facebook. Google Analytics. HubSpot. iPressRoom. SpyFu. Twitter. WordPress. Yahoo Stores. A bevy of partners rolled in, with API connections that made it easy to push and pull content and data with just a single click.
Most of the content marketing competitors raised funding from VCs, hoping to catch the wave. Not us. We continued down the organic path, growing the business with Byron's personal investment and a small round of funding from friends and fans. To top it all off, we made the Inc. 5000 list in 2014. Not a single competitor was on the list. We joined the Content Marketing Institute as a leader in the content marketing space.
Along the way, Byron and team did not lose sight of what makes WriterAccess great. Fabulous writers, fanatical support and killer technology are the guide. So we roll out the red carpet for freelance writers with the experience, passion and desire to help us thrive. And we look for the top talent to join our service team to keep them going. And going. And going some more.
We've enjoyed these five years of development for WriterAccess, and the 10 years of innovation leading up to the launch. Our customers do need more than words to win the war on the web. So we're launching a few new directories to help them achieve their goals all under one roof. And our team will continue to focus on WriterAccess, our best product by far over the years.