WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Creating Great Content Has Never Been Easier
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 – 1:00 PM ET
You need great content to grow your business. This great content should be created by great writers who know how to get the great results you demand for your investment. But finding expert writers and managing the workflow takes a lot of time and experience. Until now!
Join host Byron White, founder of WriterAccess.com, a new service of ideaLaunch that offers direct connection to thousands of U.S.-based writers available for paid assignments created to your specification. Byron will discuss how to select and manage freelance writers, and how to create assignment specifications and instructions for success. Both writers and clients will learn lessons we learned in the development of WriterAccess and from observations on the tens of thousands of content assignments completed atWriterAccess.com.
Best of all, Byron will discuss the newly launched “project complexity” pricing option now available on WriterAccess, which offers an elevated “fair price” scale for complex projects demanding higher skills and experience for the high quality content you demand.
In this webinar you'll learn:
- How to price writing assignments
- How to price yourself as a writer
- Selecting the best writers
- Selecting the best clients
- How and why to reject work from writers
- Why rejection of your work is a good thing
- Writer skill levels evaluation and guide
- Tracking content performance
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron White: Welcome to the webinar, everybody. My name is Byron White; I’m the Chief Idea Officer for ideaLaunch. We’re going to begin this webinar in just a few minutes; we have some people trickling in. While everybody's coming, I’ve got a couple of ground rules for people and thoughts for you on this webinar.
For starters, we have a very diverse group listening in today, ranging from writers in our WriterAccess community to clients of WriterAccess and/or new clients to WriterAccess and ideaLaunch. We’re going to try to really have an interesting discussion today, and I believe everybody shares the same interest; namely, how to create great content and how is now easier than ever to do that, and how ideaLaunch and WriterAccess are helping us achieve that goal. I’m solo today for this monthly webinar, which is unusual, but I wanted to have a lot of focused attention on content creation. Also at WriterAccess, we have a new model that we started about four months ago, and it is now revving up and ramping up, and have some interesting data that I’m going to share with you today.
I’m also hot off the speaking circuit. I was in San Francisco about two weeks ago, speaking at a conversion conference about content marketing and conversion enhancement; I was also speaking last week at Search Engine Strategies with Greg Carvo on creating and developing great content, so lots of stuff happening. I think I’ve spoken 11 or so time this year and about 28 times last year.
For those of you who are new to ideaLaunch and WriterAccess, we actually run a monthly content marketing webinar, which is free and, hopefully, educational. A couple of rules for engagement; number one, we love questions. We have somebody helping me monitor some questions here. I will look at all the questions; we actually get a copy of all the questions, so we can shoot back out to you any answers we may not get to during the session. Feel free to ask questions throughout the presentation; I've done so many of these that I can actually multitask and talk at same time, so feel free to fire away. Ask your questions, and I'll certainly get to them at the end if I don’t get them live during the presentation.
Number two on the format; I’m going to go through, believe it or not, about 60 slides. Yes, I talk very quickly, but the slides are entertaining and engaging. I can go through them quickly; I’m going to try to spend about 30 minutes overall, pausing and talking more in more detail about certain slides, but I want to be sure everybody gets a really good flavor. The one thing you’ll find about most all of my presentations is I’m not selling anything in this presentation; I’m not going spin you through why WriterAccess is amazing and why you should use it. What I really want to talk to you about is the topic and the subject of creating great content. I do have a few slides at the end on WriterAccess, and how to use it and common mistakes people are making that I’ll tie into this presentation. I think you’ll really enjoy the thought and time that I’ve put into this presentation, and really providing a great resource for you to have.
Next, this presentation will be available both in recorded form as well as the actual slide deck. They’re downloadable on ideaLaunch; you can go to ideaLaunch.com and click on our resource center, and this presentation will be up Monday at the latest, but probably tomorrow so you can go in and actually download the deck; there is a lot of great information on the stack that I really think you'll enjoy it, so I look forward to you checking that out. All right; finally, we’ll get to the end and there’s actually a $10 coupon for you; a shameless promotion, but maybe something that would help you get started or try us out, so we’ll go from there.
All right; without further ado, I will try to offer as much humor as I can and entertainment throughout the presentation. Let's give you a quick list with what I’m going to go through today. For starters, I do all of these presentations with about six quick slides on the content marketing revolution. I think everybody needs to understand it and grasp it, that’s the angle that we’re coming from, so a couple of quick slides there. Next, I’m going to talk about tips for writers; great writing tips that I think will educate and offer some insight into writers and in what characteristics they have. Next, we’re going to go into some web-writing tips, an all-important part of the presentation here is how are we’re creating content that performs. Of course, the answer is optimizing content. I’m going to give some tips on managing writers, which I think is the real weak point now with creating great content. I think that will help everybody and finally, we’ll conclude with some thoughts and slides and guides on WriterAccess that I think you’ll find helpful.
All right, content marketing revolution. What is this revolution happening? I define this as the art of listening to your customers’ wants and needs, and that is probably the biggest opportunity that someone listening has right now. How do you listen to what your customers want and need? There are traditional surveys and questionnaires; there are focus groups. Certainly, you can look at your search box to see what people are looking for. You can listen into the social media, you can look at analytics, but this is really what is now, I think, a big pain point for all us is trying to find out those needs. Bring on the ideas for that part of the equation.
It’s the science of delivering content to them in a compelling way; what’s interesting about this slide is the diversity of assets that you need right now in your portfolio to really make things happen. You need to be thinking well beyond just blog posts or articles and diversify your portfolio. Next, the challenges of catching readers who are orbiting at high speeds; we need to be thinking off-site here, whether the events and tradeshows where you can reach people with collateral and/or information they want and need, whether it be mobile or podcasts or webinars like this one.
You need to be thinking about how difficult it is to catch readers orbiting at high speeds and the centerpiece of it all is information that people want and need. We can no longer push the features and benefits of our products; we need to be talking about great content, not about the features of WriterAccess. I think adhering to that is an important trust builder that you need to have with your customers and really caring about what they want.
It's testing campaigns with A/B testing and multivariate testing technology out there; it's remarkable what you can learn particularly from the content creation perspective. You can learn what works and what doesn't work. You can learn where your target audience resides as they're coming to your page and actually present content that is related to where they're from; their segmentation can happen on pages rather than trying to sell everything to everybody. Segmentation is a big push now in the testing world, so all these things need to be considered. Of course, it's finding the most efficient path to engagement, and realizing there are different steps to the pipeline, and different content that's needed at these different steps, and that's really one of the secrets to content.
So, let’s go into some tips for writers; I should really footnote all of this by saying that for about 25 years now, I've been in businesses completely focused exclusively on managing freelancers. My first company I started was in 1982 was called Freelance Access; it was a graphic arts placement agency and I did some interesting things that revolutionized the way people that looked at graphic artists. I created something called the Portfolio Access System that had a burdensome questionnaire where we got lots of data for freelancers, so we were much more able to market their talent. I've seen hundreds of portfolios, thousands really, of writers and designers and lots of people. So these are some tips that I think will carry a lot of weight in the challenge of creating great content.
For starters, writers really need to understand the paradox of choice. This is a new age of expansion in choice; one look at the aisles of your grocery store and how many choices you have for rice or pasta will quickly tune you into the reality that there are new rules being developed in the decision-making process. There's a sophisticated approach to how we create content and how we make it work. There is a new customer, I like calling them customer 2.0, which has a new set of needs. These needs are related to the reality of today's fast-paced life; people are in a hurry to access a specific thing, they want personalization, they want some authority and advice, they want relevant content. I highly recommend this book by Jerry here that you’d find interesting.
I gave this presentation and got an e-mail from the director of content strategy. Not this presentation, but another one that was much more complex, involving the different stages of content creation and of them was, in fact, creating great content. Somebody sent me an extension to this in the lower right-hand corner, saying that great writers know how to connect the dots; they know how to apply this ability of connection to different assets in different elements to the sale process. I really got a lot of value out of that and added this to the list but this is a great checklist for writers and what characteristics you really need to develop.
Great writers know how to tell stories, and how and why to tell stories. What are the characteristics of stories? Certainly, they solve problems but they also teach us to be smart and they offer surprise and delight. This is the problem with most content we’re creating right now; it doesn't feature these elements, it doesn't feature the element of storytelling. I had a chance to see Kevin Roberts speak; he is the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi and he was inspirational. I was one of several dozen people who left his presentation literally crying, at both the awareness as well as the education of what he brought to the table. It’s a great book and it talks a bit more about saving the 60-second ad spot in a creative way, but I think you’re going to learn a lot about storytelling.
Why is storytelling so important? Why? Because stories get passed on; stories need to be an element of any business success, and I would suggest that you need to find the stories within your company that can be passed around; not just growth stories, but stories of remarkable people in your company that are helping to make your company grow, stories that can help elevate you and have people look at your company in a different light. You, as a writer, need to find out what these stories are, including finding out what the positive stories are, so let's move on.
I think the other challenge these days is to create content that sells without selling. I published a book on 101 content marketing tips that you can get free of charge on ideaLaunch. We run monthly content marketing webinars, we’ve published a lot of content that is selling without selling and we’re growing. Of course, you need to KISS as many people like to say; keep it simple. Speak the language of your readers, learn more about how to get under their skin; you need to find new meaning in what you're trying to create, the new value with products we need to make the world and the Web a better place. We need to know deeply what the value proposition is perhaps with not only products, but the company as a whole and offer some new twists to the word “meaning.”
You need to act like an actor, get under the skin of the target audience, engage in a passionate voice, learn the lines, revise the script; think like an actor, that's what great writers really do. You also need to understand deeply what readers want and need, and try to really understand what the objectives are; we’ll talk about that. You need to develop your own, what I call the content creation haiku. Great writers seem to have a style, a format, a way they approach a particular assignment, and they are able to wrap themselves around all the elements that are required for success. Who is the target audience, how can you distinguish yourself, what's the value proposition? You need to find the elements that become your content creation haiku and most importantly, you need to test if your haiku works or not. Learn what works, not just what's being received well by a client that you're selling your content and your services to, but what’s performing on their website, and what’s engaging; we’ll talk about some of those metrics of measuring performance.
Let’s talk about some web writing tips. First of all, there are so many great free tools out there that you can use to score content, grade content and harvest keywords from the search engines; these are all free tools, everyone’s going to be able to download a free copy of this deck. Explore these tools; learn about SEO by using these tools. Next, you need to learn how to optimize content; we’ve got a great video, I’m sure that some of you have seen on ideaLaunch now that features this little screen grab.
The net of it is, over at WriterAccess, we have scoring opportunities so that writers can actually see how their content scored, and whether they used the keywords that they been asked by a client to basically pepper in content. We’re actually expanding that in about a week; by the end of next week, we will have a new scoring methodology that lets a client pop in a keyword density that they're looking. I’m going to talk more about that in the future, but we’re really advancing the opportunity for writers to optimize content by just making it easy for them to score.
Putting the power of links to work is more of an advanced part of the skill set that writers need, and I’m going to talk about that later. I love this statement; I’m going to read you a sentence and imagine the keyword phrase “big beef” linked over to Omaha Steaks. “I had a big beef with my boss yesterday. The steak was cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth.” When the spider bot looks at the phrase
“big beef” that links over to Omaha Steaks, it doesn't understand what “big beef” means just by looking at an individual keyword phrase. “Big beef” could mean an argument or it could mean steak.
It’s the words around that link that become part of the craft of crafting good link strategy, and you need to think about the words around the link. You need to be thinking about validating a top listing in the search engines for the phrase that you’re linking and optimizing for by also looking at the words around the actual link phrase. In fact, the proximity of those words to the link phrase can have a very big impact.
Next, you need to get in tune with an SEO plan. I've done presentations where I’ve spoken for half an hour just about the SEO plan itself, but I want writers on the line to understand that when clients are giving you keywords, you’re doing it because they will hopefully have a plan in the back of their mind. They’re not just selecting their top keywords and giving you a list and saying, “Here you go, I want these keywords.” There’s a plan, there’s a strategy behind it, and as it turns out, that strategy is actually extremely complex.
If you want to learn more about content planning, you can go to wordvision.com, one of our services where all we do is sell planning services, content planning and SEO services, where clients can just fly by that planning service which is becoming imperative for both optimization and performance goal measurement. Some of the elements of the plan you should be aware of are competitive intelligence, where we’re going out and researching all the competitors that a client may provide to us, where we’re researching all of the keywords that are driving traffic to those competitive sites. We’re doing a lot of keyword research for all of those keywords, looking at the search volume and the pay-per-click price. We’re then developing keyword silos, where we’re filtering and weeding out some of the keyword that don't matter, but then we’re creating these keyword silos, which are groups of keywords that you’re going to see some samples of in a few minutes.
This part of it is really important; we’re developing a strategy to try to capture market share with great content, and great optimization, and the only way to achieve that is to really get in tune with the big picture goals. Here are some diagrams that explain how we do that with a particular project. We might go out with 50,000 keywords; we get rid of the duplicates and things that are irrelevant to the product or the services, and any misspellings. Then we’re left with a smaller group, then we filter those groups down once again on things that don't matter, or are not relevant to the content we’re creating, and we’re left with a much smaller keyword universe. What’s interesting now is the keyword universe might have three keywords in it, not just the 50 or the three that you’re using in that article. When you’re getting three keywords, just realize how much filtering happened to arrive at those three keywords that matter.
Keyword silos here are quite interesting; you need to learn why keyword silos are important; they help you score for content strength, for SEO strength, by all of the keywords featured in those silos. You’ll see here that some keyword silos may only have 50 keywords in them and then other silos have 450 keywords in them, so these keywords become important for the overall goals and objectives.
The next thing you need to be able to do and be in a position to do is to score your content for SEO strength. We have a free tool on ideaLaunch to score any physical page, but we also have scoring technology built into Word Vision technology that’s going to also then be dropped into WriterAccess at the end of next week, where you're actually going to be able to see keyword density, and get better scoring. Clients will be able to select the keyword density that they want for any article that's being optimized.
So, let’s talk about managing great writers; another missing link over here that I think is critical to the overall process. For starters, let’s click this button; I hope everybody is enjoying this as much as I am. Let’s see here; I really am passionate about content marketing and creating great content and writers, so I hope that's coming across.
Let’s talk about what some of the goals are for managing writers. Again, this to me is the pain point for why content is not being created enough, and well, and more frequently. The first part of it is who are these writers? Are we able to recognize the talent of writers? It's very, very hard to do that and certainly great writers have some of these characteristics. I would suggest to you that curiosity is a big element, an above-average sense of humor and a vivid imagination. These are characteristics again, that are hard to tell, but looking over some of the profiles, we’re trying to dig deeper and get almost under the skin of our writers. We have some very interesting things that we’ll be announcing in the next few months with some creative ways for you to get to know talent.
The other thing that I think is critical, and this is really more in the assignments that you're creating and we’re going to talk about that at length a little bit later in the presentation, but are you passing on the information that writers need to do their job? Are you are you tracking along with them the customers and questions that customer service department is getting? Are you speaking with your customers to learn what their wants and needs are? Are you looking at your analytics and the traffic patterns? This is great information for writers to know; if we could figure out a way together to try to get this data into an assignment description, and create a better way to craft assignments with more knowledge and more information, not just about what your company does, but what you're discovering and what kind of information you’re finding, the more information you can pass on to writers, the better your content will be.
The content plan is something else I want to talk with everybody about, because I think it’s really key that everybody gets in tune. A lot of people are entering assignments at WriterAccess and my hope is that there is a plan, there's a method to the madness behind the scenes. Content planning is really a five-step process that I’m going to walk you through here very quickly.
For starters, step one is going out and curating your existing content so you don’t have duplicate content issues with articles that you're paying for and writing. The second step, however, is to curate the content on your competitor’s site. It's hard to do that; there are actually curation engines out there that I can turn you on to if you send me a tweet or an e-mail to email@example.com. They will help get in tune with how to curate content on competitive sides. You need to really understand that you need to look at how your site is performing versus the competitor’s, how much content they have versus you, what they're writing about that you're not writing about; that's all part of the content curation process.
You then pull all of this content back and start analyzing it, looking at the frequency of the publication and the quality of the content. How frequently it’s published, and looking at some of those metrics, and also analyzing and comparing the content to the keyword silos that you're creating, so you can start to get a feel and a flavor for how much content you have in each silo and how well optimized that content is; that’s all part of the process. Only then, are you in a position to make recommendations or develop strategy for content. You then need content creation guides for your writers and we’re going to talk about that in more detail.
The content plan should also have some elements at least one month in advance of the content that’s being created; some guidelines and style guides and we’ll talk more in depth about that. The editorial calendar does become an important part; you can see that this is a lot of data, and personas are one of the first places that we recommend you go to create great content and give writers what they need to know. Who is your target audience? Start developing some personas to educate writers; you’re also going to want to look at a style guide. This is a great little one-page style guide that talks about the content tone, the journalistic style that the client is looking for, the promotional versus educational balance and some actual topics that were recommended.
Another interesting concept from an overall strategic perspective is to actually develop a mantra. Mantras can become a thread that writers keep in the back of their mind with your value proposition; what’s unique about your company. You can see that mantras like “winning is everything” or “think” or “fun family entertainment” can find their way into content in very, very subtle ways and we overlook the importance of something like a mantra when we’re just churning out assignments at a very fast pace.
So the other concept to talk about with managing writers is getting them in tune with the overall content marketing goals. It would be very helpful for a writer to know how many content assets you're creating in a particular topic that they're writing about. Yes, they could go curate the content on your website but at the pace that you’re typically entering projects, you just want your article; you want to come and go. What would be wrong with showing a writer a visual guide like this on how many content assets you're planning on creating in these 12 or 15 different categories here? That would help a writer have a more holistic view of what the goals and objectives are.
Getting writers in tune with the architecture plan is also an interesting aspect and concept for you; where you're going in and actually showing them a site map on where the new content they’re creating is going to reside or where their content assets could possibly be cross-pollinated with other content on the website and how all of these pieces fit together. We talked about keyword silos, but educating your writers on all of the keyword silos and actually showing your writers all of the keywords in a silo rather than just one or two or three keywords is probably the biggest thing that we recommend you do.
We’re actually changing the technology, as I mentioned next week, to have you put in required keywords; two or three or four keywords that are mandatory that a writer put in the content asset. We’re going to have this other zone which we already have in now; it’s just additional keywords that we’re going to allow you to drop in 450 keywords if you want, and actually weight some of those secondary keywords with a priority which will allow a writer once again to get better matching of the overall content. What writers are able to do is to actually see the other keywords that might be part of that keyword silo family, which could be inspirational for ideas or even begin to influence the style they’re writing or the words they’re using and in making your content even richer, even better. Seeing all of the keywords in the silo often sparks new ideas for content and becomes a visual guide for the client is really trying to do. We’re actually going to putting these keywords in a cloud-like format based upon the priority rankings that a client puts in, so it’s going to get really cool, and really visual, and really help the overall process. We’ve got some great plans in the future that are going to help both clients and writers.
Next, we need to make it easy for writers to score content. We do this at WriterAccess already; we score content and give you back a keyword density analysis, but we’re expanding that, and blowing that out, and changing the whole system next week. The key aspect of what you need to do for the benefit of both you with performance and your writers is actually put a timestamp on when your content publishes. Imagine if you could start showing your writers who are working for you how their content is performing. There's a whole bunch of different ways you can do that, but the key to that, once again, is putting a timestamp on when content was published.
What you’re able to do, and what we’re able to do for clients is to actually show content asset publishing frequency; how many content assets were published every month? Then, we can show correlation to improved listing positions in the search engines, improved conversion rates, decreases in user acquisition cost, increases in the number of leads that might have downloaded and engaged with these content assets that are being created and increases in traffic. There's a lot of ways to measure content performance, and that’s been a mystery for a long, long time.
How do we track the impact in the ROI from content investment? For the better part of a decade now, we've been studying that very problem in a number of different ways, and we've developed some good ways to do that. Here’s a great market share performance report that I think writers would be very excited about. Is our content capturing market share? How is it doing? Are we progressing forward? It would be so exciting and rewarding for writers to see that data and very motivating. The file slide here, before we get into some WriterAccess stuff talks a little bit about aligning content goals with writers who are selected.
When you're going to select a writer, how good that content is and how much content you need and how often it’s published; those should become factors in your selection process. So let's dig into WriterAccess now, and really see what’s going on.
For starters, we were able to launch such a successful service because of our history. We have thousands of writers who have written for a company that I started 12 years ago called Life Tips that features 120,000 tips read by 1.2 million visitors. We were paying writers over there $10 per tip for many, many years and we got so good at creating content, our clients asked us to start creating content for them. That’s why we ended up launching ideaLaunch and actually created a holding tank called WriterAccess a few years ago, which is just the place that we had all of our writers’ profiles loaded in. We would use it internally, but we got very good at the content creation; we wanted to expand our reach, but we couldn't service all clients, so we wanted to create a marketplace which many of you are familiar with now, which is called WriterAccess.
We’re very excited about the movie we just watched that you can see on the home page of WriterAccess. Please check it out and offer any feedback; that would be great. The net of it is WriterAccess is a great resource to connect directly with writers for paid assignments. Most people probably already know that if you’re listening in. You can pay $50, then immediately log in, and access, and post an assignment, and do some research for writers and all kinds of other stuff that I’ll talk with you about today. It's been an absolute smash hit; we've put thousands and thousands of orders through, even in the short four months we've been live and actively marketing the service.
We definitely don't have enough jobs for everyone, but we’re doing our best to market it as aggressively as we can. We’re literally putting all of our gross profit goals into the marketing effort, and the other thing that is worth sharing with you and that is that my personal philosophy of full disclosure of price rates goes very, very deeply back to 1992, when I started Freelance Access. We’re on a program, the same program ironically, that I started at Freelance Access, where writers are always making 70 percent and $.70 for every dollar we are. We’re making $.30 on every dollar, in exchange obviously, for the marketing services we provide; the payroll services we provide, the guarantee for clients which often put us in situations where we’ll pay the writer anyway and part ways or move on because of lack of performance, but we feel that this service is a great one.
Our mantra is “great writers, great content, great results.” All of our writers are US-based professionals and we've now expanded our services to have editor’s picks of our writers in a variety of topic areas, which help guide people to the active writers who are hungry for assignments. We have a lot of really cool features to WriterAccess like creating a love list, and lots of neat stuff like that where you can go in and start searching for writers if you want. You can create a love list of writers that you think are qualified for your project, and then push your project out to that one person, or the five people, or however many people you've added to a love list for a particular type of assignment. We think that this is innovative, and cutting-edge, and helps get the right project out to the right writers that will quickly pick them up.
I’m going to share some statistics with you as well. The whole point has been to make the search for writers fast and easy to give great information about each writer, and to really do as quick and concise of a job at marketing this talent as we possibly can. Let’s share a couple of factoids with you that I think you’ll find interesting. First of all, the average amount of time to complete an assignment is 31 hours. We’re very proud that; we can probably work on that. Our writers are actually completing assignments ahead of schedule; typically, even if a client puts it in and needs it three days, the average completion time is 31 hours, which I think is fantastic.
The average article word count is 361 words, average article delivered word count is 453 and the number of love lists per writer is 1.75. The flipside of that is the average number of writers per love list is 3.5, so most of our writers are getting added to love lists. That's the big news there and the average payment to all of our paid writers is $274, which doesn't seem like that much, but remember, we’ve only been around for four months now, so there isn’t a lot of history to work with there.
Here are some more factoids about WriterAccess. One single writer has been added to 35 love lists, which I just think is fantastic. The most assignments for a single writer is 339. Let's see; the most popular writer level our clients selected is four, payments to a single writer for WriterAccess is $7,000, but payments to all writers if you include our ideaLaunch and Content Six and some of our higher-end writing services we do, one writer earned $74,000. We’ve got some interesting stats as far as where orders are coming from; California number one, Massachusetts, New York. You can see some interesting stats there correlating with population size, I guess.
Let's talk about the number one challenge we have, and that is screening. We had a lot of writers, remember, that had performed for us. We had some history, we had some data. What we've done that’s a little bit different from anybody else out there in the industry is we asked for a lot of data; we don't just allow writers to say what industry they have experience in. We actually make them document the number of paid assignments they’ve completed, and give us an original summary within that industry. Now, if a writer really doesn’t fill out their data, someone named Kaitlin here is going to be all over them. We're going to be really demanding, particularly as we move forward and it gets more competitive amongst writers.
We want great profiles, we want you to tell your story and we’re going to be introducing some interesting new methodology that I can't quite talk about right now, with creative ways for you to tell your story, but the screening aspect of what we do is an all-important one. I've been involved in screening and recruiting now, as I mentioned, for 25 years, so it’s near and dear to our hearts to find the right information, and document that, and make that accessible for clients.
It might be both good news and bad news for the writers who are on the line, but we’re adding the final stages of deploying some actual test validation for each of the levels of proficiency. It’s going to be a combined multiple-choice questionnaire that will at least validate that your starting point should be at XYZ level, but what we've really done that’s unique and different is that we have an algorithm that actually rewards clients and gives them higher levels of rating when they successfully complete projects, so you earn your ranks at WriterAccess. We tend to drop you down one level below what you are probably qualified for; we’re making that decision right now mostly subjectively, based on a review of your profile, your resume and some other validation that we use that helps us confirm a level, and that that's really how we’re doing it. Our algorithm is a big help to you in moving up and becoming eligible for higher-paid projects.
The next thing we needed to do to make WriterAccess work smoothly and well is to change the way people place orders. We have what we call an order wizard now; we just launched it a few weeks ago. I’m very excited about it and the feedback has been fantastic so far. We look forward to any new feedback you have, but the net of it is, you can be a group order where you place 20 articles, or blog posts, or whatever it is. You then select a star level and the complexity of the project, and you go through a six-step process to place an order. I don’t want to focus on all six steps and make this too much of a how-to presentation, but what I did want to do is just talk with you about some of the new features, namely, complexity and star level.
Let’s dig into that a little bit, if that's okay. Pricing is the big subject; we wanted to be competitive, particularly when we first launched our model, but we are positioning ourselves as a place where you can access great writers who really produce great content. I believe we've done that in an extraordinarily creative way, if I say so myself, by having our clients talk with us; not just about word counts and star level, but also enter projects with what we call the newest and latest grade of complexity; project complexity. The star level, as you can imagine, is one that is algorithmically supported, and based upon placing somebody initially in a particular star level, and then letting them earn their way up.
From the marketing promotional perspective, a 2-star writer might be a student who has more consumer writing experience but not much of it. At the other extreme is a five-star writer who has monstrous amounts of experience and is even potentially a published professional who can handle tech writing assignments and advanced keyword strategy, not to mention keyword optimization, and is a proven professional who is capable of handling a multitude of assignments, especially copywriting assignments.
No major surprises on the star levels probably; the higher the star, the higher the rate. This is how some of our competitors operate; it’s a price per word, star level is the guide. We’ve said, “You know, I think we can do better than that. I think we can really change the way people think about pricing and, for all of these wonderful talented US-based writers, let's face it; some of these writers should be billed at $100 an hour for high-end copywriting projects or for white papers that involve interviewing a technician at Google or some major company. We wanted to look not just at the experience and the pricing level that’s algorithmically supported; we wanted to look at project complexity.
For starters, this was very ambitious. I've gotten wonderfully positive feedback on this as well as, “What are you doing, this is crazy. Byron, have you lost your mind? Your model was so great, it was just guaranteed cheap and it was fabulous.” Well, here’s the good news; you can still get whatever you want to pay for. We still have our same core low-complexity assignment that has not altered or changed our prices at all. What we want everyone to be able to access is higher-level writing by great writers who can produce great content for you well beyond SEO articles or informational articles.
I'm standing behind this, and we feel very good about we’re doing. This is the first of its kind in this industry, frankly; particularly, when you look at Odesk and Elance and some of the other competitors we have out there. We are bringing this to the market first because we think it’s the right way to go. What can happen now is a client who needs a very sophisticated white paper created or copy that will be seen by thousands and thousands of people; we wanted a way for you to access writers with that talent. We think this is going to attract more great writers to WriterAccess and be something that is a win-win for all parties concerned.
The next thing I wanted to go over with you is just an assignment checklist of what should be in your assignment. What are the assignments going through our system that are really getting picked up and applauded by our writers, where there is an incredible high-delivery rate, pick-up rate and satisfaction rate? What we’re seeing is assignments that certainly have a topic title in describing the asset that’s going to be created, that have resources listed, maybe other sites to look at for reference, or maybe references within the customer site that point to a particular article or asset to give a writer indication of what's going on.
Obviously, some information about your company, the more the merrier, including the most popular pages on your website or keywords that are the most conversive, or any of the other assets that I described in this presentation. The more you can deliver to a prospect writer, the better. By the way, we’ve set this up so once you create your company profile where all this information, including your style guides can be loaded into it, the one-up assignments can get back on the overall style guide featured, along with your company descriptions etc.
What's the purpose of the asset, what's its goal, what are the keyword instructions? Are there particular keyword densities that you're looking for? Is there a style guide attached to the overall document talking about whether you want a conversational style, an authoritative style? What’s the tone, what are goals with regards to content style? Who is the target audience? What are the details? Who’s the persona? Are there any government specifications from your legal department or your editors of what they're looking for and some additional notes.
Regarding this checklist to give you some insight into where we're headed, we believe that the human voice is an important communication element. No surprise there. We've been working diligently on some actual technology that will allow you to physically call a number, punch in your assignment number and actually make a voice recording for the writer along with that assignment. When we initially launch this, we’ll probably watch it more on a broader scale so your company information, or overall specifications, or what you looking for could be tagged to all of the assignments as a resource for what you're looking for; an overall holistic voice recording that the writer could listen to. We think this is going to be revolutionary and very exciting, and I would look for the end of April for that to be up and launched and ready.
Why do writers reject assignments; not that they reject them, they just look at them and they don't pick them up; this happens, this is reality and it's very, very rare in our world that the writer doesn't pick it up. So hats off to all the writers who are picking up assignments that might be too complex, but here's a checklist: first, it’s just the lack of information and/or clarity on the instructions. Writers are concerned that they’re going to waste their time and fail in delivering their final product that will be paid for; that's the number one concern. So, we’ve got to look closely at the word count, being perhaps too small for the scope of the assignment, is the star level that you selected appropriate for the assignment, is the pay just in general too low, is the project too complex, is there a reasonable deadline? All of this needs to be considered when you're entering jobs, so I just wanted to go over that.
There ends this presentation. I wanted to make it tight enough so that people can actually listen to this without having to endure too much time. The net of it is, there's a $10 bonus trial offer if you want to go to that page to try our system out. I’m now going to dive in and hopefully answer some questions. So, without any further ado, let's go take a look at some questions that have come in here. Give me one second.
Okay, so the first question I have here is, “Will you have PR possibilities for us as experts in this field, for interviews, web TV, web shows etc.? Is there a database for us to submit our credentials, names, for such possibilities? Wow, cool question. At this moment, WriterAccess is looking to do a better job of promoting writers by allowing writers to have a voice-recorded opportunity attached to their profile as an option, which clients can listen to; that's our strategy as we move forward.
Let's see; I was dropped from a level 4 to a level 3, due to lack of assignment fulfillment. I found it difficult to get assignments because they’re taken by the time I check the board. Why are new assignments broadcast so early, 5 AM to my inbox on the East Coast? Excellent question; we broadcast assignments first thing every day as a structured pattern. We’re changing our methodology a little bit with content distribution to alter that pattern a little bit based upon some new things we’re learning about how our clients want to distribute their assignments. Most of the assignments you’re referring to are where a client has gone in and said, “Okay, let's just send this out to any or all level-three writers.” We’re writing our clients to get more narrowly focused, which means they'll be better matched with particular writers.
If we go down that road, I think that writers are going to have a better opportunity to not have a massive competitive nature for assignments being picked up, and that's where we see a better filtering device. What we’re also starting to do now is to actually review all assignments as quickly as we can to fuel those out to writers who might have specialties within those areas. We’re working on it; it’s tough. We like the first-come, first-served mentality, so we’re trying our best, but an excellent question and thanks for asking it.
Let's see; here’s another one. Is there any chance that we’ll start adding video and photos in our tips blog post? Can we do that now and I just don't know how? I think that's probably from a Life Tips writer, I’m thinking; all of our Life Tips writers were invited to this presentation. Hosting video on Life Tips is probably going to be a challenge; I think that we’ll cross that bridge when we can. I do like the concept of video on Life Tips; I just worry that it might be too overwhelming for people to do recordings, but let’s keep the bridge of discussion open.
Let’s see; I created an account a couple days ago. Can I still use the extra $10? Yeah, go for it. If you have a problem with that, just send me an e-mail at byron@ idealaunch.com, and I’ll double up your $10 and make that work for you.
How long does it take an average article to be produced so that we could estimate the total cost of the assignment? One of the stats I read in the presentation was that it takes an average of 31 hours for the completion time of the project. Hopefully, that answers your question so that we could estimate the total cost of the assignment. Oh, I think you mean it how long does it take the average article to be produced. I think this is a writer asking, “How long does it take to complete an assignment?” Gosh, I wouldn't even know that based upon what intelligence we have with how writers create content. I think a lot of that depends on the complexity of the project, the amount time researched, whether it’s a BTB or BTC assignment.
Whoever asked that question, just know that my invention of the complexity chart was aimed at exactly that. Things just take longer to produce, and I’m working as hard and fast as I can to try to analyze that and say, “Look, clients should be paying a fair market value price and at the same time, clients should be getting exactly what they pay for, which is high-quality if they’re going to pay the price. We again remain the bridge in the middle protecting that and making sure that writers can handle the assignments and complete them successfully, making sure that clients are compensating our writers for the work. Hopefully, I answered that question, and it was a great one.
Please confirm that you will send a link for this webinar. Now, that must mean this is a good presentation; absolutely, I will send that link and, again, reach out to me anytime with any request, but know that this presentation will be available as a download on ideaLaunch.com at our resource center, but we will send a link out to everybody as well.
Let’s see; can you allow writers to give feedback on why they do not pick up an assignment; price, complexity? That is a great idea and that will be implemented. I would love that feedback; we love every feedback and I believe that there's feedback both on the client side and the writer side, but I love that. That's very interesting that you should note that, and I’m going to make that happen. I think that would be a really, really cool piece of data.
Let's see; why are assignments sent to me that are above my writing level? That’s interesting. Is it okay to accept these assignments? Fascinating; well, you’re the judge of whether you accept an assignment, but I think that you’re gracious in maybe not taking an assignment that is perhaps over your head. I would reach out to either me or our editor, which you can do just by clicking on the "contact us" to say, “Hey, stop wasting my time with assignments that are over my head, change my level, or whatever it is.” Thanks so much for doing that, by the way, and let us rectify that.
Let's see, do you think it’s better to specialize in one area with different tones of voice and delivery methods, or be more of a generalist? Excellent question from Ann, there. What I'm seeing clients gravitate towards, is wanting to hire industry experts in particular topic areas. I believe that when you focus on a particular topic area, you raise your level of knowledge and proficiency and, frankly, value from a sheer dollar value perspective. What I like so much about adding this new complexity, is that I believe it takes a lot of time and energy and effort to learn about the intricacies of a particular business, and you should be compensated for that knowledge that you ascertain in achieving that. That's why I believe project complexity is the right move for us, for writers and for clients. So my vote, if I could have one, would be become an expert in a particular topic area and learn to express different tones and styles and delivery methods within that topic area.
Let's see; if someone has created several assignments, I would love to get feedback from writers to find out what information they need. Perhaps your system should solicit feedback and forward to us. Another fabulous idea and we're seeing that a little bit, just so you know, with the actual communication board between writers and clients. Remember that, you as a client, once you log on to post an assignment, you can actually send e-mail requests out to writers and communicate with them directly, but I think it's a good point that you raised; namely, feedback is welcome. An optional tag for you say, “Hey, I want you, the writer, to look over this assignment,” but feedback is welcome. Please tell me if there's anything else you need to know. Great idea; look for that being implemented, added to the list,
I'm actually interested in hiring writers to produce articles, but I just wanted to have an idea or reference of how much an article would actually cost; I do understand that may vary tremendously. A couple of pieces of good news for you; one, you can go to WriterAccess.com and look at pricing in the navigation and actually look over and start playing with the complexity of the assignment, the writer level and the word count, and you'll see actual per price on numbers on the articles. That is in tune and our prices are public, not to mention our disclosure of how much the writers are paid versus how much we’re paid; it’s all right there. Hopefully, that answers your question.
What do you think about writers rating client instructions for feedback? I think I answered that, but if I didn't, right on Keith, good idea. The rating is interesting; maybe you mean a rebuttal saying, “This is too complex, I think this is a higher level, but I'll do anyway.” Maybe there's an independent idea there; someone named Alan asked that, maybe there's a way to have a writer say, “I’m going to that this assignment, great; I’m going take this on, I’m invested in it. By the way, I know how much time I spent on it now; I think it should've been rated this level.” That would be an interesting option to help us fine tune the pricing complexity to see if we can make that work.
Let's see; let me go up to the top here and see if any new questions came in. We’re kind of reaching the end of the hour, so I wanted to give us time to probably have some closure here. I want to thank everybody for attending this session today. We had a great audience, and I really appreciate both your interest in content marketing, and what we do, and joining the content marketing revolution here at ideaLaunch. I also want to thank everybody for their interest and WriterAccess, and the way we believe that we’re helping writers connect directly with clients and likewise, the other way around and its fair market value pricing.
Thanks for listening in everybody; feel free to reach out to me anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org and/or byronwhite on my Twitter account. Thanks very much everyone, we’ll look forward to being in touch and more future webinars. Look for next month’s webinar, which by the way, a plug there; next month’s webinar is going to be with the CEO of Code Baby, and we’re also going to be running special writer webinars beginning in April. We just reach out and help coach and train writers on how to advance their career, how to get ahead of the pack and take advantage of things like free tools and other things. I hope you enjoyed this opportunity to get to know us, and get to know what we do, and how we do it. Thanks again for listening everyone; Byron White here, signing off. Thanks.