WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Lessons Learned from 90,000 Orders
Thursday, November 29, 2012 – 1:00 PM ET
This month's content marketing webinar is an exclusive presentation for WriterAccess clients, writers and fans, offering insights learned in delivering 90,000 orders to 3,000+ clients using the WriterAccess platform.
In this webinar, you'll get the answers you need:
- How are 3,000+ clients using WriterAccess?
- What can we learn from the orders and activity?
- How can the data help us all create better content?
You'll dive into a pool of data and surface with answers that will surprise and enlighten you. You'll see trends on order instruction details, word counts, SEO requirements, prices, order types and more. Clients will learn how to better onboard writers to save lots of time. And writers will learn how to foster client relationships to clarify goals.
Best of all, attendees will get a special invitation to beta-test a new content performance software that we've been working on for a few years.
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron: Hi, everyone, Byron White here, one o'clock. Time to start the webinar, I'm going to give everyone a few more minutes to chime in. Hopefully everyone's hearing me now, and if not, please use the questions or the chat functionality to let me know if you're having problems hearing this. You will need to dial-in, I don't believe you'll be able to listen to the system, but certainly want to welcome everybody. Someone's telling me that they cannot hear me, so let me explore that a little bit. I'll put you on hold and see if one of my colleagues is telling me if they can hear me or not. All right, one more little test here, and we'll make sure everyone can hear me, like I said. Oh, look, someone's telling me they can hear me. Thank you, all right, thank you, Beth for that.
So, this is going to be a really wonderful opportunity to share some data, some comprehensive information that we've learned in scouting out almost a hundred thousand orders. One shy, that's a sort of a teaser there headline, we did look at, well, more than a hundred thousand since I sent the original invitation of 90,000. So, we're really cranking the content out here, we've had an opportunity to study what people are doing, how they're using the platform, we've learned a ton and I'm happy to share that with you. So, couple of rules for the road. This is a monthly webinar that I've been running now for quite a few issues, as you can tell from the headline here, and the 35th edition of this particular monthly content marketing webinar.
All these webinars are recorded, so you can have access to them after the webinar. I'm going to be sending people a link to the actual recording as well as a link to where you can download the deck and a link to download "101 Content Marketing Tips" book that I've published. Some of you may have already found that on the web, but if you haven't, I'll be sending you a link. Most importantly you're going to get access to some proprietary technology that we've built that I'm going to be discussing today, which is a new version of some software that's been around for a while that we've been using privately with about 50 companies over the last three or four years.
But we've opened the technology platform up, allowing WriterAccess customers to have a go at this and develop some interest in what we're calling the content planning and performance software, which we're going to be offering for free, for up to 500 keywords for anybody that wants to dive in and track how their website is performing. And if you want to pay a little bit of money, then you get access to more keywords and more tracking and multiuser capability, so we're still working on it. It's definitely in beta; we have to make a lot of changes to the platform, but I'm going to be showing you a sneak peek of that at the end of our presentation today.
So, we've got a lot to cover here. I want to encourage you to ask questions throughout the presentation I'll take a stop after I go through the deck and invite anyone to ask questions on what they're seeing and what they're learning throughout the presentation, It's a pretty big deck hopefully I'll spare about 10 or 15 minutes to go look up at WordVision platform in the end, and I'll also open up to some questions after I go through the deck. So, the first we're going to do is go through 10 main lessons that we learned and some stats for you from all these orders that we surveyed. Then I'm going to share with you another 10 creative ideas for content creation betterment and then finally, we're going to look at three new tools, WordVision being one of them that I think will be exciting for you take a look at. The other two are wizards actually we call them. They're very interesting as well and are designed to help both writers and customers get on the same page with regards to content specifications and requirements.
So, a lot of fun stuff, let's dive right in. For starters, we have about 3,300 customers using the platform and over 6,000 writers. We discovered that 40 to 44 percent of the orders being placed on the platform are for blog posts. Twenty-seven percent articles, 26 percent copywriting, quite interesting and very small percentages for white papers, and press releases and some other items that people are ordering through the platform. So, that's what people are currently ordering through the platform right now and I wanted everybody to know that, so that's what we've surveyed the first observation, and this is quite surprising to us is that content being ordered is in fact a lot of it is, almost a third of it is premium content and what this means, to put some relevance to this that basically customers can order in three or four different ways when they're ordering content from us.
They can put a crowd order in, which offers a 10 percent discount those orders are sent out to a crowd of writers you select at star level and then the writer picks it up first-come first-served this a very innovative way that we can get orders out to newer writers particularly, that don't have… that they're dying to prove themselves to our customer base and are willing to work for a 10 percent discount to get some exposure, to also help their algorithmic star-rating scores, and also help their profile so, writers don't look at them and say, wait a second, I'm not going to choose you for a project, you haven't completed a new project. So, that's what crowd orders are all about.
Just to refresh your memory, about 16 percent of orders going through are crowd orders. The other order form that we have is the standard order form and that's the paid per word order form, and those are the standard pricings you see on the home page of our website and, you know, as you can see, the bulk of the orders, almost 60 percent of the orders, 55 percent 60 percent of the orders are going through with that fixed rate price per word. But we are really excited to have everyone notice the fact that almost a third of our orders are premium orders. This is very exciting; we're really the only platform at least that we know about that's offering an across-the-board opportunity to work with a writer at any level, typically five-star writers, to perform higher quality work and we feel that we've really done some pioneering there and have a great opportunity for writers to negotiate rates with customers directly, have solo orders placed to them and have the client basically add an additional compensation dollar value.
In this case, a white paper that was 2,000 to 2,500 words was priced out for $2,300, 2,350, to be exact. So, this is how we want our writers and our customers to work together. We want them to negotiate rates, but we want to see… We're trying to create an online platform and marketplace where you can get higher-quality content delivered to your specifications and requirements, all backed by our 100 percent guarantee policy. But we were really shocked when we learned that almost a third of the orders coming through fit in that premium category. The next thing to notice is revision requests and how few orders really have a revision request. This is also quite shocking to us.
I really thought that we were seeing more revision requests but overall, you know, almost 88 percent of the orders do not have any revision requests whatsoever and that's pretty remarkable and then you can see how it trickles down, 11 percent and then one percent. So, you know, almost 93 percent of success rate with one round of revisions really help you understand how the process works and what we're seeing revision requests for is certainly reviewing the content and you can see this what the actual form looks like where you go in and approve the content, In this case, these words are highlighted because they are required keywords for SEO purposes, which I'll talk about later, but essentially, the customer has the opportunity to approve the content or request revisions and unlimited number of revisions.
What I was found quite interesting, that we have about only 12 or 13 chats per day. These are for typically prospect customers I might add when you go to the homepage of WriterAccess from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Standard Time. We see a lot of customer support and, surprisingly, not a lot of activity is happening there, only about 12 average a day, although on Mondays and Tuesdays we tend to have more activity from maybe newer customers that are getting accustomed to the platform and have seen that previous box and want immediate attention. But we're trying to service our customers with exceptionally… and but it's pretty interesting that we're… I thought that would be much busier that it is. We spend a lot of money on pay-per-click to drive traffic to our site, so I thought you would find that interesting.
Help desk tickets, are also interesting, only about 22 percent of our help desk tickets are coming from customers. A majority of them are actually coming from writers who have questions for us, are somewhere in the review process, they're profile development, questions for customers, questions on orders, how to handle something. So, we're finding some interesting service, both on the writer and on the customer end. And what that looks like from a customer's perspective when you log on to your administrative area you see a help desk ticket on the left side and a headshot of one of our support specialists that you can either call or submit a help desk ticket and we're able to support quickly and efficiently using that methodology.
Casting calls are an innovation that we brought to the marketplace about a year and a half, two years ago. It has since been copied by similar competitors. However, we just released a new version of casting call, which we think is really amazing and we're finding both the reception from our writers and our customers is overwhelming. People really love the new service and here's why. We expanded the number of sections of the form, which I'll talk about. But when you run a casting call you can now, free of charge, get a recommendation from an account manager that's been assigned to your account for actual writers that we are recommending for the project.
Another thing we did differently is, rather than just blasting this out literally to level 3, 4 or 5-star writers, we've changed methodologies so you can send a casting call out now just to your group of writers to find out who might have interest and experience that you're looking for. We also… If you're sending it out to the group, we've increased the tags both for I want writer that has knowledge in, you know, these five or 10 different industries. We're then taking that knowledge and sending it out to writers that we have screened and approved and have knowledge in those industries. So, if you're a writer, and you get an invitation for a casting call, it means that you qualified for the job in a much more comprehensive way, and it's matching your skills and background.
We've also enabled writers to apply for a casting call right inside the e-mail that they get, making it much faster and easier for them to apply for casting calls and be considered for opportunity. The other thing we're done for casting calls is we wanted the writer to get a feel for the tone, and the style, and the audience and all the other variables that go in to a particular order. Writers have commented to us that this very helpful for them to understand how complex this project might be in a quick manner by just having a customer check on these boxes.
So, SEO requirements; also quite interesting. Almost half of all the orders going through the platform do not have any SEO requirements attached to them. Customers are not using WriterAccess for these sort of down-and-dirty SEO assignments that are somewhere out there on the web but not necessarily attached to the customer's brand. Customers are using WriterAccess instead for quality writing, which we're very proud and excited about. The SEO requirements themselves, we have custom features when you place an order to… Just everyone can understand what we're talking about, some of the folks on the line may not understand that, but when you fill in order out, you list what the title of the order will be based on instructions and you can put in SEO-required keywords as well as optional keywords and even some SEO instructions.
And that helps the writer understand what options they have, even potentially for brainstorming, which I love; a lot of good keywords to help out with as well. And we're also doing with SEO requirements is first of all, a writer can't submit an article back to you unless they've used the keywords that you've told them are required. But, what we're also doing, and a lot of customers don't realize this, we're tracking the keyword density, we're also the scoring the content for language, a language rating, if you will, with three different methods. So, that's something you can explore later, and I'm looking to run a webinar on that actually, on that whole very topic, so it's quite fascinating. A lot of customers have asked us, what are the trends for blog posts, what's an average order for blog posts these days? So, we went back and looked at the average word count for all of the blog posts that have run throughout 2012 and found some pretty good data here which says it's trending, you know, 450 to 500 words on average.
For some reason, at the beginning of last year, probably closer to when Panda and Penguin hit, that the trend was perhaps a little bit higher. Regarding blog posts, we have the ability to have blog posts published directly to WordPress. Here is the field where you do that; once an order is completed, you can push an order work directly from WriterAccess over to WordPress. What's surprising to us is how few customers have set up their WordPress APIs; instead, they just go with traditional export features in the CSV file or HTML, Word or RSS or whatever the case may be. E-mail communication, also a pretty good interesting statistic here; within the WriterAccess platform, we have the ability for you a customer to communicate directly with you a writer.
I'm talking to both audiences here; and about 34 percent of the orders placed have communication in them. Particularly interesting for writers that might want to understand whether it's copacetic to ask the customer a question. For the most part, the trend seems to be moving upwards and most of the data here is revealing that. Here's a typical correspondence, you know, a writer picks the order, an editor might have some comments, the writers leaving some comments as a thank you for the order, a chance to prove themselves. This is very common, the communication happening inside the platform. We really do welcome the opportunity and have seen great benefit from writers and customers communicating directly together.
Star ratings on our platform, always an interesting subject. Here's a breakdown of our portfolio, if you will, of talent and couple things about star rating. For starters, we have intricate algorithms that are basically ranking and rating, and changing the rankings and ratings of writers on an ongoing basis based upon their performance on the platform. Someone may take our initial screening tests and be only granted a 3-star level. Their performance and their customer reviews will help them improve their star ratings. So what we wanted to take a look at for this presentation was the average star rating that a customer is requesting when they place an order in a particular industry.
And what was quite fascinating to us is that staffing companies, governments. transportation, nonprofit were actually demanding the higher-quality content, whereas, you know, hobbies, agriculture, gaming, you know, some of these lower tiers on the far right of the screen were comfortable and happy getting three-star or less, you know, overall ranking. So, what we looked at here again was the average star rating for the writers completing these projects with industry specifications. So, kind of interesting stat for you there. Instructions; so, we place an order for content. Obviously, you have to enter instructions. Here's the form, master instructions, it's a blank template. And the average word count, surprisingly, is not a lot of words in my opinion, 282 words.
This, to me, was a bit of a surprise when I thought about the intensity of some of the orders going through the platform, but there is one notation on that and that that is namely that a customer can upload files. You can see that on this form right here, their master instructions may in fact be brief but they may accompany the master instructions with a document, style guide, specifications, some other documentation their writers require looking over. Here is an example of some master instructions that we have as a template guide which will exceed 250-word average, but this is basically what master instructions look like.
What's interesting about this is that a lot of writers looking at this will quickly pick up on the fact that they're seeing a lot of instructions that look like this. The reason is because customers are obviously copying and pasting messages, revising it to their own style and specifications, and making some tweaks on it. But, we're doing a lot with that data the more we see customers using this as a template. Our eventual goal is to bring on custom templates for the type of content assets our customers are ordering, customizing a little bit more for that particular asset. The other thing we've done with regards to master instructions is just…basically, a couple months ago we launched this new quick checkbox methodology where customers can provide more detailed instructions by simply checking boxes; tone and style and voice are now easy to quickly document for a writer. And, of course, tone and style, you know, the audience, rather and what to avoid and sample instructions are very important for writers to take a look at.
So, this has really become an important element for an order and we hope our customers are using this functionality as they place orders. So, what did we learn from all this? I want to take a look, now, at the 10 most important things that I want to talk with everybody about in this presentation to try to ascertain how to use this data and how we can do something with it. The first thing to look at is finding writers and, you know, we obviously have several different ways that a customer can find a writer, and with regards to casting calls, it's critical to really explain a project and the requirements to a writer, and that is an important element if you're going to be matched with, and excite, and find the perfect writer that will apply for your position. So, I wanted just make that as clear as possible. I think the improvements we made on a casting call form are going to have an impact as well on the application as well as the whole process.
So, we think casting calls are getting better, bottom line, and we hope you think the same, and we look forward to your feedback on how them better, both from the client and the writer perspective. The next thing to look at is advanced search; surprisingly, not a lot of our customers are using advanced search. A lot of them rely upon casting calls, we think that's because a lot of our service onboarding methodology has been to try to, sort of, run a casting call, you know you're going to get at least 10 applicants that are excited, you know, based upon the averages that we looked at a few minutes ago. So, casting calls have been a go-to, but I really think that advanced search works particularly for the higher-end projects; they're a great way to go. And, you know, it also gives you an opportunity to not only find a writer, but to communicate with them through the e-mail system with specific questions you might have about their background, giving them a chance to perform, to introduce themselves and even ask questions to you about projects that you may have. So, that's a tip for you there.
We also have launched elite writers, a new criterion that we're rolling out in the next few months. We'll be greatly expanding that, but the net of it is, elite writers allow you to quickly arrived at what we have viewed as our best-performing writers of the platform that we're handpicking, based on writer feedback, on customer feedback, rather; of course, the volume of work they're completing, but in many cases, new writers that we believe are really going to be fantastic performers in the marketplace. So, we're taking our list and finding what we believe to be the best writers after working with them ourselves, and going through the screening process, and having some back-and-forth with them. We feel that elite writers are to be a big part of our future, and helping to guide our customers to the right talent.
Finally, we launched the ability for you to request help from an account manager and get recommendations for writers as a free service; with every casting call that you have, you have the ability now to quickly request a recommendation which comes separately from your applicants, so that's exciting. Next, placing orders; so, I think that everyone owes it to themselves to try these different order types; crowd orders are a great way to test, and try out new writers, and to build an army of writers that you have finally attached your love list. I'm going to talk about some science there as well, with onboarding new writers. Standard orders, of course, have been around forever, and so everyone will continue using those. I'm going to makes some announcements today on our premium order form, which I hope people will understand and try out as we roll that out in the next few months. Editing orders are also quite interesting, and you can submit content; maybe you need a white paper revamped or revised, maybe you need some content, not necessarily created from the ground zero up, but some existing editing done; we hope people try those out.
And idea-sourcing orders; for the life of us, we can't figure out why customers aren't enamored and excited as we are about idea orders. Many customers are bottlenecked every month with developing all the titles, and the strategy, and all the thinking that has to go into what you want to write about this month, you know, how would it support your SEO? We've developed this tool called idea orders, where you can literally go in, and tell the writer—or a group of writers, maybe writers on your love list—hey team, I need some ideas this month, I need 30 ideas this month for a blog post, I didn't have to time to put the ideas together. Can you guys recommend some ideas, I'll pay you three dollars or five dollars for every idea that I approve, and not only that, I'll instantly turn that idea, if I like it and approve it, into an order with you, that writer that submitted it.
So, that gives you a chance to get your writers working for you, to come up with the ideas that you need to engage your customers, and keep them coming back for more. We hope people use this more, and we're wondering why people aren't using it, and it might just be because of education and what it's all about. So, the third thing I wanted to mention is onboarding writers, and I think there's an art and a science to that. In my humble opinion, the best way to work with a platform like ours when you're not shaking someone's hand and going through a detailed interview, is to very simply, select three writers either through a casting call, advanced search or elite writing, place, literally, the same order to all three of them and then force yourself to request revisions from all three of them, steering that content in a slightly different direction to see how they respond to the revision request.
And finally, selecting the winners based on the style, and the feel, and the tone you get from the work that they create, and to then repeat the process to build your pool up. I think that's the safest and the smartest way to build a pool of writers that can earn their way into building confidence and trust with you. The fourth thing to mention is motivating writers; and naturally, you know, money is a motivator. Our writers are here to earn dollars, but I'm not convinced that money is the only motivator; from what we hear from our writers and their enjoyment with working with particular customers, even if those customers are not paying five-star assignments on a regular, perpetual basis.
They like hearing professional and positive feedback from their customers and they like professional negotiations and recognition is a big deal; both recognition from you the client as well as peer recognition and public recognition. So, we're working very hard on that and looking here, for example, on the bottom of every order that you approve, or request revisions for, we're asking you…we're asking the customer to rate this, you know, did they meet your expectations, did they exceed them, or did they not meet your expectations. That's a critical element to our algorithmic scoring methodology and one that can really help the writers or hinder the writer's growth on the platform, but we need that to be completed.
We also have opportunities to add a bonus compensation to the order, which, of course, a writer will be wonderfully motivated with, as well as an opportunity to send a message to the writer. What we're going to be working on is a more of a public message as well as a private message to then help that writer with your credentials. Angie's List wouldn't exist right now without public reviews from customers and we feel the same way; the same methodology needs to happen. We're going to really, hopefully, possibly mandate writers write at least one review for every new writer that they work with, which will help other customers be alerted to the quality of the writing being delivered and potentially motivate and help that writer to do better and great work for you.
So, the next thing to talk about is premium orders. And premium orders are, as I mentioned, about 28 percent of the orders going through our platforms are premium orders. The problem and challenge with premium orders and, believe me, I understand this, running our content marketing agency business for about three years, you know, premium orders are complicated, you know, there are various elements to a premium order and sometimes it's hard to communicate all of those elements. What we also learned is difficult is customers understanding what a premium order should be priced at. I spent several months developing a pricing guide, which is now available on our website, and also is a resource for all of our customers and writers and an unbiased methodology to understand what's happening in the marketplace; what trends are we seeing, what are the hourly rates and market value for the work being completed by professional writers.
We've exhausted ourselves in trying to understand that and, basically, I've personally been in the staffing business in the graphic arts business in the graphic arts community now for almost 25 years and, you know, pricing is difficult but we think we've figured it out and the pricing guide is a good gauge to understand pricing. What I really want to is right here and I believe that we need to price all premium orders differently and I am going to be beta testing this with some of our existing customers and writers to get some feedback on what I am going to propose moving forward in 2013.
I'm basically suggesting that you can solo a writer a premium order to anybody you want, but you need to determine what type of level that article, that content, that white paper falls in, and that level will determine the price per word rate for that particular content asset you're asking someone to deliver. So, for example, you know, level 1 might be $.10 per word. Remember that our current five-star rate for any asset that you click through, the standard order is about 6.7 cents per word. So, level 1 would bump that up to $.10 per word, so a 30 percent increase. And this might be your about page, for example, or a slightly more premium blog post that requires more attention. Maybe your CEO has sketched some blog post, but it needs polishing or some uplift; that would be example level I. So, there's some light research that needs to be involved, a little bit more time that needs to be involved, and a higher level of quality expectation that you might have for the order being completed or editor created. In the opposite extreme is a level 4, which would charge a dollar per word, and this is where a white paper would come in. We've produced literally, probably over 100 white papers that were two to 3,000 word white papers for a couple thousand words. A dollar per word tends to be the standard rate these days, even higher than that I can argue, depending on the turnaround time and the complexity of the white paper. But, it's time to get a level 4 opportunity for customers to a) start the communication process and the negotiation process with writers and b) to get everyone on the same playing field with regards to negotiation.
So, this is just the grid that I'm proposing and working with various team members here on, internally. I think you'll see this rolled out possibly not at this exact price per word basis, but something close to it, partly because the problem with premium pricing is it's very nebulous right now. Customers are asked to raise the premium rate for a subjective level, which makes sense if you know what you're doing, if you understand the price negotiation game. The problem is there are a lot of customers that don't understand that a premium article needs to price out more than just a regular five-star, or they don't understand what a white paper should be priced out at.
So, we're trying to lead the way and help the effort for both parties concerned. So, some things to mention is deciding the target audience, and we have done a couple things to try to help that effort, but for the most part it is very difficult to do. I would argue that our clients have a hard time understanding their customer base; what their needs are, what their wants are. Too many customers are lumping the features, and benefits, and services they provide, products into one big lump sum, and requesting, you know, copywriting to center around those features and benefits; whereas in reality, I think the target audience doesn't want to hear just your features of minutes, they want personalization, they want things in a hurry, they want information, they want relevant content, not just features and benefits.
So, developing your target audience into various personas is something that everybody needs to do, and we're working on some creative things that I'll show you in a second that will help with that. Next on the line is encouraging storytelling; the art of storytelling is really a critical element to all content. We see very few orders being placed with a type of storytelling component to it. Some of the exceed expectations ratings we are seeing on that content, however, when we review it, is absolutely in line with content that does tend to tell a story, that talks about what happens next and offers some surprise or delight. That is going to be the most engaging content you can create, and we want to see more of that created in the platform.
You know, and there's a whole bunch of reasons why but, you know, take a look at Sisomo, you can learn lots of great… wonderful book that I highly recommend by Kevin Roberts, the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. So, you know, another storytelling component; very few companies are helping a writer understand their position, you know, what is their mantra, I like calling it, to use Guy Kawasaki's wonderful book, The Art of the Start. You know, rather than coming up coming up with a mission statement for your company, and letting a customer, a writer be bored with that, you know, typical, we want to increase sales and double our goals, you know, typical mission statement, you know; instead, what is your DNA, what is your company all about, tell a writer that and acclimate them, because that becomes part of the storytelling element that can be reflected in all the content they're creating.
Next, diversify your content asset portfolio. I was shocked to learn that only three types of content assets are basically about 93 percent of the content assets being put through our platform in 2012. We're all out there, especially me, preaching the content marketing methodology and strategy deployment for all of us across the board. I wrote the book 101 Content Marketing Tips, you know about it. Lots of other assets through our parent company ideaLaunch, which you can go explore, and check out, but the net of it is, it's time to diversify your content asset portfolio, particularly because your goal is to catch readers that are orbiting at high speeds.
And to do this, you really have to diversify your portfolio, make it easy to pass around, and share, and just get your brand out there in a variety of ways that leave really great informational content. The final thing I want to leave you with, which ties into the next segment here, is reward for content performance goals and, you know, naturally most all clients and customers online have goals for their content. They want their content to perform, they want to drive more traffic to their website typically, they want to improve their conversion rates. All the wonderful fun things that I believe, you owe it to get your writers involved, and get them in tune with those performance goals. And I believe, especially through some of the technology you're about to take a look in a few minutes, you can do that; there is a way to do that, to almost reward customers or writers based upon the performance of adhering to, and exceeding your content performance goals.
But, if you analyze a goal, if you analyze what great content it is, it certainly has different components; usability, motivational, incentive, you know, friction, anxiety, you know, how do you know a great content is that great? What is your metric? Perhaps it's different, but educating and acclimating your writers to what your goals are for great content, and not only what subjectively you think that content should contain, but how you're expecting that content to perform, becomes really the goal of content marketing in general. And we're getting better and better at that, and I'm going to talk about that.
So, a couple of new tools for you, three to be exact, and then I'm going to scoot into a demonstration. And so, let's see here. First of all, I've created something called the style guide wizard that you all have access to; you can see the link down below there. This is a wonderful tool that will create a PDF for all of the answers that you fill out on this six-step form. And you're going to fill in some information that's related to your brand, of course, and what your company does, and your brand description. You're also going to dive into the target audience, that the tone and style elements. This becomes a wonderful document that you can upload with your assignments at WriterAccess, or just in general, working with freelance writers on your own.
I highly recommend you take a look at the style guide; including writers that should be looking at the style guide to see what types of questions are potentially answered if the customer doesn't answer a question that actually doesn't appear on the form. So, next I've created something a little bit more abstract, I'm not thrilled with this; I think it's a little too much for the average blog post being ordered. but this reverts back my Hill Holiday days many years ago, when I was working on various accounts, larger accounts, and before we began any creative assignments, we had to fill out a creative brief for the customer.
And I sort of adapted some of the methodology that I learned after grad school, and carried that over into what I call a creative brief. Take a look at it if you're struggling to find out what is the DNA of your company, what are your goals creatively, who are you, what do you want to be when you grow up? This form will really help you and I believe can also help a writer greatly understand where you're coming from, from a creative perspective. And the final thing we're going to look at is this content planning and performance software called WordVision, which again has been perfected in the next week or so. I'm going to send everybody a link along with free access to it; probably early next week thanking everybody for attending and taking a look at this. I'd love your feedback on this technology, I think it's breakthrough with regard to getting writers and SEO specialists on the same page to achieve performance goals for content.
So, without any questions, I'm just going to quickly put up my Twitter address. I love getting Twitter feedback, thank you very much, if you can help me with that for this presentation. You can also send me an e-mail with some feedback; I would love to get your feedback on some of the ideas and concepts that I've discussed here, particularly the premium pricing concept and some other things related to what I've discussed. And here's a link to my book, which you can go to immediately and also, you'll see the slideshow presentation by tomorrow; Glen will pop that up for us, so we'll be good to go. So, hopefully everybody is going to be able stay with me here for a couple minutes, and then I'm just going to give you a quick tour of the WordVision technology that you see here in front of you, hopefully. Let me just do a quick refresh of this, here we go.
So, hopefully everybody's taking a look at this, and then I'm going to stop this tour in about five or so minutes, either about I've presented or this presentation, and then I'm going to fire through all the questions. I promise that hopefully… but I'd love some questions from everyone listening in, so… Okay so… WordVision; we've had WordVision in operation for about three years now; this was a fairly advanced tool that required a lot of intense setup, typically by an SEO specialist that would be assigned to one of our customer's accounts. And, you know, when we grew from 50 customers a year, we were servicing for content marketing strategy and content to the WriterAccess platform, we moved from 50 customers to 3,300 customers we have right now.
This was a major shift obviously, in how we operated and how we did business. But this software has been on the back of my mind to bring this into the flow here, and essentially what you do is when you log on, you can quickly see how much content you've published; in this case, in the last year, and how your traffic is performing; This pulled directly from Google analytics, and also what our technology does, it tracks your listing positions every month to basically showcase how you improved in your listing positions. Obviously, we feel correlated and connected to how much content you been published. So, right from the opening screen, you can quickly sort of see how you're doing, how you're performing.
And I'm going to quickly walk through what I hope is how easy it is to set up this technology. First, you put in your account information, and then you put in all your competitors. Pretty easy, just their domain names; you can then quickly add in your keywords just by literally dragging and dropping them in, or you can go in and scrape domain name which will pull out the top 1,000 keywords for that domain name. It could be a competitor, it could be something else or you can go into your Google analytics account and pull out your analytics data from your keywords from your Google analytics. So, pretty fast and easy alternative ways to add keywords in. The next fun you're going to have is building out we call keyword silos.
And keyword silos are something that we've been talking about for five years. Not everybody understands what a keyword silo is. The net of it is, you've created your keyword silos… You need to create keyword silos that are groups of keywords that all share some characteristic that makes them want to be part of that silo, a group. An example of that would be all of these. These are some unmatched, uncategorized keywords. Article directories, okay, that's going to relate to my article silo. Article spinning service, article submission service; these are all keywords, for one reason or another, that we wanted to include in our SEO strategy. These are not exactly… I wouldn't want spinning service there, but we've scraped a bunch of keywords and brought them in, and now you have to decide how to allocate your keywords.
And you do that by dragging and dropping those into your silos. So, what you do is split up all of your keywords into various silos, and then you can sort of… and you can see all of your keywords in each silo, either by double-clicking on that silo, so you can see all of the keywords that relate to that particular silo. And if you wanted to, you could pick a keyword out of that silo and drag it into another silo. So, you sort of get the feel for it, what you're doing is getting… The silos are meant to help writers create content around the silos, and that's basically the purpose and the goal is to sort of group your keywords together, so writers can use keywords that make sense for that particular topic they may be writing about. So, that's how silos work and, as quickly as I can explain it. The other set up is of course, you know, trying to end your… In this case, I'm already setup with my Google analytics profile information; otherwise, you just plug it in.
This also just taps right in to your WordPress blog, which allows you to bring in and suck in all of the content assets into your editorial calendar, which I'll show you in a second, and of course, you can add multi users. Now, we've purposely set this up so a customer of ours could actually have a writer login to WordVision and use WordVision to create topic ideas and other things, and actually see how a site is performing. We'll get to that later, you know, in like a month, but the net of it is we built this for both writers and customers to use; that's our goal, that's our hope. So, that's really the setup, it's as simple as that. And hopefully, everybody followed that pretty closely. I know I'm talking very quickly, but I want to leave time for questions.
So, let's see, the next thing we can do is work on content maps. So, this is basically what your goal and objective is in how you are going to use WordVision and our general feeling is, you know, every month, we know we've got all these keywords and we need to use our keywords when we create content; but what we need to do when we work with our writers is, we need to be able to grab our keywords very quickly that we want to use this particular month, and we need to create a content map. And a content map is the very orders that you would be placing over at WriterAccess.
They would have a title, and you can see the title is right here, my first title map, here's some notes, here's the four articles, here's the four keywords rather, that we've added, here I'm going to add a fifth… quick sale… Wanted to add that shift article. Well, it looks like it didn't do it yet, but you get the idea. I've added another article, I probably have to refresh the page, so I've added… Here, l'll do it right here, so…that becomes three, so let's do this one, I'm going to do this one down here, two, that became three, so then I go down here, here's my three keywords that I want to use, and here are some notes about that article. So, what this enables me to do is to create the titles for all the assets I want created this month, and drag my keywords that I want the writer to use into this content.
That's basically what's happening, and you can then export that content map and actually, in a CSV file, and upload it right into WriterAccess. So, we've created a tool that we think is going to save you a lot of time, get SEO specialists and writers on the same page and really be something that's potentially revolutionizing for the industry. The next thing to show you is just how the editorial calendar plays into things and so, here you can you can quickly now see all of the previous content assets that we've published on our block, And this gets sucked in, well I shouldn't say that word, but it's pulled in directly from WordPress. So, I can open up on each of these individuals and actually see the blog post that's been posted. And I can do lots of things here, but I won't get into that now.
We basically just wanted to show you what a calendar looks like. There's going to be some tweaks in here, but for the most part, this is what we are hoping, you know, our customers will take a look at, is how I map out my content, you know, for the month. You know, how can I create a content map quickly, and you know, what keywords should I be using each month, very quickly, in my titles. And then how can I quickly see all the previous content that I created, and then this open space on the right here is where my whole editorial calendar will drop in a single item format like this right here. So, you'll be able to see all of the previous blog posts that you've created, what the date is that that published, what type of asset it was, and you'll see that all from this particular map layout. So, you can see what you've published in the past, you can map out what you've published in the future, line it all up, get the keywords loaded in, create instructions, export very quickly a map, which can be uploaded into a template over at WriterAccess. We hope this really going to help expedite both placing orders, developing ideas and supporting SEO strategy.
So, that's what we're up to, that's what's going on, is this should be ready to roll out to you at a little bit tighter mode than it is right now, although… Thanks Karen for pulling practically an all-nighter to get this stuff done. But that's kind of where we're going and where we're headed. Now, what do you do with all of this is a great question. So, what a customer can do is to quickly go in and look, for example, at a trend report. How am I performing in the search engines, you know, what are my highest volume keyword phrases and, you know, wow. WriterAccess is… This is copywriter four, interesting, you know, has… We've bumped up 79 positions, we're now 21 at Google in November for that keyword phrase, Content service is 135,000, we're now in position for you. We've moved up a couple spots, so you can see these are trend reports that could be customized if you wanted to, for particular keyword silos. If I wanted look at only one of my sites, I could do that and if I wanted to download all of this information very quickly in a CSV and export it, I could do that as well.
So, lots of amazing and wonderful reporting capability and so we hope people will find that interesting. You can also see how my keyword silos are performing, am I beating my competition? Right now, I only have five percent of the market share for the article silo; so that might indicate that I should create more content around that silo to help capture more market share. It also gives me a breakdown of my listing positions for the keywords in that silo, and you can see, you know, I'm doing better and worse in some silos than others. So, we have other reports in here, I won't go into them all, this a fun position history report. WordVision is basically tracking your listing positions every month for your domain name. And as mentioned, you can load in 500 keywords to the platform, for free, and we'll track the listing positions every month and give you a tool that you can use with a category maps and other things, so we're very excited about that. So, there's a lot of other reports I can let everybody sort of play with this on your own, once you get in, and set it up, and load in your keywords. So, overall, there's one other report, which is kind of fun, it's a market share report which shows, in this case, how WriterAccess is doing versus our competition.
So, without further ado, I hope you enjoyed the presentation today, and I'm now going to try to field some questions. So, fire away and talking either about the previous presentation, or whatever you'd like. I'm here to answer questions. So, let me start at the top and work my way down. Let's see, has the webinar begun? Yes, it has, okay, let me see…okay, keep firing your questions at me. How can writers figure out whether companies for which they have successfully written idea orders have begun placing orders? I am surprised that I have not yet received a…let me scroll down…received orders from some of these clients. Not a question, a comment; good feedback is important for many of…from my point of view as a writer…that probably goes to another person.
Okay, so clients are really paying you with the idea orders for the idea; they're not obligated to turn that into an order with you; they may just be seeking ideas. We have an internal debate in our office, whether or not the writer should own that idea. What if two writers submit the same idea twice, who would get it? Flip a coin; we think it's better that are given the customer is paying for the idea to own the idea, and hopefully, like the idea along with your pitch of the idea and then choose to turn that idea into an order. So, a lot of it is, I think if we told writers…yeah, it's a good point, and that's my quick take on it, so let me leave it with that, but send me some feedback if you have a better way to do it. So, somebody has a comment here, not a question, a comment. Good feedback is all-important from my view as a writer. I love kind words as well, with good direction. Why do you think your average…oh, here's another question.
Why do you think your average words per blog is declining over the year? I'm not sure, Fred; I think it's a good question and I don't have a good answer for it. So, I'll defer that to perhaps someone else. I hinted with my original thought on that Panda and Penguin are coming off of January and a tough year for a lot of websites, companies were very concerned about content and the quality of the content and the length of the content, so we saw, in general, particularly around October, November, December the previous year, we saw a spike in the quantity of orders, of quantity word counts across the board, so that's perhaps a hint. The other thing is it might frankly be writers delivering…customers may be ordering blog posts 400 to 500 words with a range there, and writers may have just been delivering, like, only 420 words as part of that order. So, that might be another guess, but no good answers for you there. So, not a question a comment, Aaron rocks. Thank you for that; and somebody says, definitely a premium worker and a kind guy; okay, thanks for that, I'll be sure to pass that along.
What would WordVision pricing be? Thanks for that question; so right now, we are looking at some fairly low average cost of like $25 a month for… We're actually going to… It's complicated, but what we think we may do is to charge either a three-month price or six-month price or 12 month price. We'd like to get one credit card payment from somebody, rather than having to manage monthly recurring payments. So, we were thinking in terms of, if you want to upgrade to 5,000 keywords or 10,000 keywords, you know, we were thinking like $500 a year, you know, something like that. So, you know, that gives you some ballpark pricing, you know, so, thanks for asking the question; certainly give your feedback. There is a cost to go scrape all this technology, so just keep that in mind; we're keeping tracking of listing positions and it's taken us, you know, quite a bit of exhaustion to get the platforms to where it is, but we want be fair. Most importantly, we want people to use it, and we think it's going to help writers and customers. We want to start tracking performance, we want to show the ROI measurement so, as Mick Jagger says, we're open for offers, but we're not up for grabs. We're looking to price it out in the next couple months, frankly, with some feedback from all of you that will be testing. If somebody needs to have more keywords loaded into WordVision to test it out, when I send you guys a link, just give me a ping back, and I'll happily open it up for some of you to get a couple thousand keywords, or just send me some information on what you need it, and I'll try to open it up for everyone, thanks.
So, on 28 percent of the premium orders, who sets the price? For example, a client pays less than a hundred dollars for a 2,000-word, very complex white paper. How do we get clients to the recommended levels? An excellent question and precisely why I'm proposing not having any subjective, you know, scalability, which is what customers have right now. You know, in my opinion, we have fixed our pricing per word for the standard orders to go through the system. I think it's time to fix our pricing for the premium orders to go through the system. So, I'm proposing that you won't even see a star level on a premium order that you choose to place; instead, you'll see…is this a level 1, 2, 3 or 4 order; and if so, that determines what the price point is. A customer could pay more above that if the work exceeds expectations, just like they do with a standard order now. Likewise, the customer, you know, could try to put up a complex premium order through the standard order pricing, but we think it's time to be more definitive and help customers with pricing. So, that's what my proposal is on the table right now, and I think that's the best way to go, so thanks for the question.
Will the new public feedback comment idea contain both positive and negative comments, or just the positive ones? That is an excellent question, and I think that the public feedback is only going to be applicable if the writer exceeded the expectations; therefore, a positive comment. You know, I think that's really… What needs to happen is this is a promotional opportunity, not a negative opportunity. If the customer has a negative opportunity, we want to hear it; we want them to tell us what went wrong, but that is designed for our internal editorial team members here that review content and make assessments on writers' performance and often get involved with mediating or negotiating, or making decisions on whether or not a writer should receive a penalty for an order that went along because of reasons outside of their control. So, I'm with you who asked that question. Public comments are meant to be positive, negative feedback is meant to be managed and handled internally, within the structure of our company. Namely, three strikes and you're out is typically our policy. If we see patterns of behavior in delivery of unacceptable content, we very simply have to protect our entire platform and let a writer go. So, that's sort of how we handle that.
What is the difference between level 1 premium writer and a five-star order? Okay so, the actual math on the chart that I presented was simple; the maximum price per word rate that you could get for a five-star standard order is 6.7 cents per word, I believe is the exact amount. The level I premium orders starts at seven, at $.10 per word; level 2 scales to $.25 per word, level 3 to $.50 per word, and level 4 at a dollar per word. So, we're increasing the levels dramatically, you know, based upon making the case for the amount of research, time and energy and effort that needs to go into creating the content asset. And it's not so much the focus with premium content on the word count, it's the focus on the skill, the experience, the aptitude, you know, the proficiency required to complete the order in addition to the time, the research, you know, possibly conference calling, that needs to go back and forth, which by the way, is a whole other subject I could talk about forever, but I thought I'd… I'll save that for another time.
Are there any plans to allow the IM chat function between writers and customers? The e-mail function is often too slow and clunky. It's an excellent point, thank you for the question, Susan. Yeah, right now, IM is delivered through the platform with alerts going out to writers. Likewise, alerts going out to clients, and there may be a way to get IM back and forth. So, let me digest that a little bit. The problem is, it would require you being logged in and the customer logging in and catching you, but I think it's an excellent question, and it's sparking some good spinning of the CD-ROM in my head to calculate that, and maybe work closely on that. A lot of good things could come from that, I'm with you, and I also think it would be pretty cool. The downside is if writers aren't available with the instant chat, then it's not going to work, but if some writers are, we just have to gauge it and maybe experiment with it.
So, thanks for the great question. I'm a level 2 writer but I believe that I am better than that. Can a writer petition to be upgraded, or does it only depend on your automatic rating system? Excellent question. Unfortunately, the algorithmic system that we have is really how writers have got to propel upward in terms of star levels. We think our screening test is difficult, we know it is, not many people do that well on the test across the board. Very few people ace that, so most of our writers start out at the 3- and 4-star level. What we're hoping is that you can complete particularly, the crowd orders that go out, to prove yourself, and to get higher ratings. The trick that I want to add to the table as we adjust the algorithm, which we will definitely be doing in January, and we'll be sending out some alerts that explain our new methodology. I believe a couple of things need to happen with our new ratings of exceeding expectations. I think writers need to exceed the expectations on content assets delivered to customers in order to move up the ranks, from one star level to the next. If that's done successfully, I think that it could bypass the typical hurdle you have to pass with the quantity game that you're now playing. So, in other words, exceeding expectations on fewer orders could move your star rankings up. But without a doubt, we need to keep the algorithm in place because it helps understand… And likewise, if you under deliver performance and you don't meet the expectations; likewise, it should go against you and penalize you with your scoring and ranking. So, that's perhaps not the answer you wanted to hear but it's just how we work, and how we have to level the playing field. Thanks for the question.
Panda and Penguin would cause words per blog to rise to avoid spamming sure content. That's correct, thanks for the comment; at least in opinion. Should we use different keywords or the same for similar articles that will be placed on different web pages? Another excellent question from Wayne, thanks. So, yeah, the debate that I would have with you if we're sitting across the table together Wayne, would be what is your overall, you know, SEO strategy? How are you performing in the search engines currently? What is the driver for the success you've been having? You know, lots of questions I would ask you. I'd also look to say, are you supporting any of these keywords that you're putting in your content with links; either internal links within your own website which you can control, or links that you're getting from external sources. Obviously, links still continue to be a driver for improving your listing positions and achieving top listings in the search engines.
Having said that and gotten all those answers from you, then we would look to answer your question, which was, should you use different keywords or the same keywords for a similar article that you're running different webpages. Well, I think you need to optimize each individual article differently. I might treat those keywords differently with how you're using them. If you are looking to get a top listing for a long-tail keyword phrase, yeah, I would use that long-term keyword phrase in the title of the article on one of the pages and then on another page, I would use that keyword phrase inside the content linking over to the page where you used that phrase in the title. In other words, supporting that page with link strategy, you know, geared towards an H1 tag that you're truly telling Google, I want a top listing and because this long-tail keyword phrase really answers questions, and I deserve to be number one, and I'm going to support that with not only one link but five links from my website because I really believe I should get a top 10 listing in Google for that position.
So, you know, that's the kind of methodology that we've been practicing for, you know, 10 years now; maybe it's helpful maybe it's not. Okay, let's do another one. Will there be more direct contact between writers and specific clients? As a writer, it will certainly make my life easier to have more direct avenue of communication… I'm sure that says communication to help me provide what the client wants as far as content is concerned. Thank you so much for that question, and I'm going to offer some interesting answers to that. We've spent a lot of time, money and effort, and Aaron greatness in building voice communication as a platform, by which we were hoping that customers could communicate more effectively and efficiently with writers.
We have two approaches for that; one is a customer goes in and can pay $.25 per minute to chat with the writer. What we realized though, was we did not set that up right way. What we need to do instead, is to charge the client $.50 per minute, and what we then need to do is pay the writer 70 percent of that $.50 per minute, encouraging the writer to want to have a call with a customer. We think that that's a wonderful way to go and something that is going to be helpful and efficient. The problem is that not all writers in my opinion are well-trained and well-rehearsed in running and managing a call with a customer. And, you know, I'm brazenly saying that to everybody. But, running a good call is an art and science, particularly at the level that we're talking about here. And we need to be sure that the right writers with the right skill sets are on the phones with our customers, because that's not the forte of every writer out there right now.
We have wonderful writers that create incredible content and they don't want to talk to customers. They don't have interest in that, it's not their forte. They haven't been trained in a commercial environment to listen to all the wants and needs of a company, telling them the features and benefits of their products and services, which customers want to tend to tell you about, and there's often not a lot that a writer can do with that. So, it's wasting some time—these are difficult matchmaking opportunities. But having said that, we built the technology; it's available, it's there now. We're going to modify the way the writers are compensated for their time on those calls, hopefully encouraging them to use those calls, but my general feeling is a lead writer should be the only writers that we've screened, and approved, and make available that direct communication service. And that's probably the way we're going to go, because we just want to make sure that we are putting the best product forward and not turning a client off with the writer that is being forced into a call they really don't want to make, and are not well-rehearsed in how to run that call. So, that's my quick take on that problem; hopefully that helps. Okay, so let's see, we'll go to…more support for Aaron, thank you.
What is the average time number of orders it takes to go through from a four-star to a five-star if you're consistently getting great exceeds expectations feedback? Well, hang on, because that's going to change and I mentioned that, but believe it or not, there is an algorithm. You can actually reverse engineer it, Leslie. We don't have time to go over it on the phone, but every order that you place, you'll see your star level increases a small, incremental amount. What you're going to see when we alter the algorithm is you're going to get more bonus points for exceeding expectations. So, hang on, because that answer will change. Oh, that's interesting. I'm a level 2 writer and I would be more than willing to pay for service here that is something like an advanced writing course that is graded and where I receive either WriterAccess certification or an auto upgrade in star rating if I passed. Are there any plans to introduce service like that? Yes, so I can't go into all the details on it, but we're very interested in several things. One, acknowledging coursework that you've taken in the past and developing course material here at our own company that could help you become certified in some areas. Those are very hard things to figure out, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with several people that I'm in discussions with right now to try to sort that out. Thanks for the question; coming at you, coming to the theater near you soon, hopefully.
Is there a way for writers to find out how our content is performing? Do we glean this from more repeat business with clients or is there a way to have solid numbers? Well, I'm hoping that that is something that's possible with the fabulous WordVision technology that I displayed for us today. Hopefully we become a company that's in tune with the performance of our clients websites. When we do, I think the sky's the limit with our ability to grow our business to a very large and big level. We have the technology; we think we can do it, we hope we can do it, and that's kind of where we are going. So, thanks for the question.
Good stuff Byron, I have to go. Okay, you know what? We should all probably go. Let me see if I can get… These are great questions, everybody that are coming in.
The problem with the exceeds expectations rating is that some clients just click through and do not change the "met my expectations"... It's a really good point, thank you for that. I totally agree. I know I get comments with met my expectations that tell me the client should have rated exceeded. Yes, we're going to revamp that whole section down there when the new algorithm comes out and look for that before the end of the year. This is top-of-mind for us, so we're on top of that challenge. Thanks for the comment.
I think I covered most of the questions. I want to thank everybody for attending and also bearing with this additional time on the phone here. I hope this information that I provided today was helpful. I'd love to get your feedback, please, please, please. Thanks if you're able to send me an e-mail, send me a tweet, and I'll be getting some information out to everybody, including a recording of this whole presentation. So, hopefully that was helpful, everyone. Until next month then, there will be a webinar, I believe in December, so I'll be excited to get together with everybody again. Thanks for listening in, I appreciate it. Thanks again.