This is the first “annual report” I’ve published in the history of WriterAccess, or any company I’ve started for that matter. But I thought it made sense for a bunch of reasons. Feedback welcome, from any and all.
Another record year of growth.
Content marketing continues to grow as an industry and WriterAccess is once again on the radar, making the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the US for the second year in a row. Revenue grew 33% in 2015. But our biggest growth occurred with strategy, staff, talent, community and technology enhancements that position us well for growth in 2016.
2015 Results & Highlights
- Grew 33% in 2015
- Doubled staff size to 20 and moved to new corporate office
- Launched WriterAccess 4.0 new interface for customers and talent
- Rolled out Strategic Plan to employees defining our vision and roles
- Make Experience Design the top priority for all staff and departments
- Grow with referrals, retention and word of mouth marketing
- Bring surprise and delight to customers and talent, daily
- Measure KPI’s weekly and exceed goals and expectations
- Keep having fun and growing organically—the content marketing way
- Perpetually make the business better and better than that
Strategy: The new era of experience.
The idea that brands should focus on customer experience is not new. But we’ve entered a new era with experience design, and WriterAccess is leading the charge. Businesses that don’t learn to exceed customer expectations and craft exceptional experiences at every stage of the life cycle are likely to lose.
Customer experience is now the centerpiece of our business model and has been for some time, which explains how we zoomed from 100 to 18,000 customers organically in five years, without venture funding or private banking support. Our transformative approach to customer experience in 2016 will take shape. Every touch point with our product, service, and communication has been analyzed by a consultant we hired to help us achieve betterment.
Staff: Results reflect on our employees and management team.
Great experience design requires great team members that know how to define what the experience is and should be. Empathy plays a key role in that process: the ability to understand the customer’s feelings at any given time. Our staff size doubled by the end of 2015, helping us learn more and reach more customers. We rolled out a Strategic Plan to all employees in January, sharing the vision, defining our process and clarifying roles and goals. The management team was formed at the end of the year, assigned with responsibility to execute the growth plans.
Our biggest breakthrough in 2015 was the development of KPI’s for individual, department and corporate goals, and aligning the big goals with individual goals and tasks of each team member. Our staff is excited about the vision and our mission.
Technology: Think big and go big.
Our technology leaped in 2015 with the launch of WriterAccess 4.0. The new user interface was received well by both customers and writers. Prior to launch, we reviewed thousands of Help Desk tickets to not only better understand and satisfy customers’ wants and needs, but to use that information to anticipate them at various stages of the cycle.
This type of analysis is called proactive experience design, and it’s quickly becoming the new standard for SaaS and PaaS models like ours. Google’s Nest Home thermostat is a good example, a product that learns human behavior of how you move around your house, proactively setting room temperature and more. Our tech plans for 2016 are wonderfully ambitious, and rooted in pro-active solutions. WriterAccess 5.0 will launch mid-summer, offering new features, products and benefits, but only if and when customers need them to avoid the noise and clutter.
Talent: Our shareholders and partners.
WriterAccess success depends on the delivery of quality content to customers that consistently exceeds expectations. To help meet this demand, we view our talent at WriterAccess as shareholders, and look to design an exceptional experience for all our talent, just like our customers. Our pay rates did not change in 2015; 70% to talent, 30% to us. This important methodology will continue in 2016, helping us continue to attract the best talent. Rewards for performance and loyalty for all talent will be enhanced as we learn more about what motivates our writers to be the best they can be.
Our talent pool will expand in 2016 as we address a critical issue in many industries — the need for translators. Content marketing is booming in the US, but many companies struggle to find and hire dependable and professional translators. To meet this growing demand, we’re adding translators and content strategists to our offerings in Q1. More on this exciting new offering soon!
Community. Understanding and learning in action.
We rolled out Content Marketing Conference in May 2015, a milestone for the business and a stake in the ground for our community development. More than 150 customers, writers, marketers, influencers and thought leaders gathered for three days in Vegas to learn what’s new and what’s next. The conference proved to be a major success, in just about every way. We’re hosting it again this year on May 17-19. I hope to see you there!
In 2015, major speakers with track records a mile long joined our movement, shared their insights, and offered ideas for betterment. We put our community strength to the test, with a live experience for all to share. Our online community also advanced, with more shares, comments, likes and followers.
This year, we’ll continue to listen to our customers and learn from them. We’ll partner with our writers to help companies and agencies of all sizes and industries meet their content marketing wants and needs. And together, we’ll keep growing and improving.
WriterAccess Founder and CEO Byron White is a serial entrepreneur, with a track record of proven success a mile long. He’s also a published author, popular speaker, content marketing revolutionary and great storyteller.