Welcome to my inaugural post on Content Runner! It’s been quite a journey since December of 2012 when we came up with the idea to where we are now.

Why did we create Content Runner? We were having trouble managing writer relationships using emails and spreadsheets and thought: why not build something to make the pain go away? From those early conversations we came up with the concept of Content Runner to help us come up with topics, assign tasks to writers, edit and publish content, pay writers, collect W-9’s, use Copyscape and do status tracking.

Timeline

  • March 2012 – Ryan Devereux and I founded Words For Less
  • December 2012 – We were struggling to find enough writers and manage them all for Words For Less and the idea for Content Runner was conceived.
  • October 2013 – We are proud to announce that we are accepting a limited number of users on Content Runner. From May to October 2013, Words For Less was the only user of Content Runner.

Idea Generation – At the very top of the food chain in the content creation process is idea generation. Coming up with new ideas about topics to write about each and every month is a pain in the ass! We know that’s a big barrier to getting started and anyone that signs up as a new user in 2013, we will give you 3 ideas for articles for any category (within reason) you send us.

Set Your Own Price – I have used other marketplaces and the 1-5 star rating system never worked for me. I found many 5 star writers that gave me 2 star quality and vice versa so fair payment was continuously out of sync. The only way to pay writers what they deserve is to set your own prices. If you have a 500 word article you think is worth $10 because it requires very little research that’s your prerogative and if you have a 700 word article that will require a lot of research, price that at $40, either way as a user you get the opportunity to choose the pricing you want.

Find New Writers – Finding new writers is relatively easy, put an ad on Craigslist and you can expect to get 20-50 emails in 24 hours. However the quality of the writers will vary dramatically and once you find writers you like, you need to manage the content as well as the relationship and that requires tools. We wanted a fully transparent writer directory that anyone can view, check out writer profiles, bios, and message writers to work directly with the writers they choose.

Manage Writer Relationships – managing more than a handful of writers is very difficult! Working with writers over email and Dropbox is doable when you have 10-20 articles, but once you need to manage content for 20-30 clients, you need lots of writers and email just doesn’t scale well. Because of this issue, we allow people to load up orders as projects – name your project, add notes and track the status of the project in your dashboard.

Manage Writing Projects – there wasn’t anything we could find that allowed us to connect with writers and manage writing projects at the same time. We have used many of the other content marketplaces and within their walled confines we have writer relationships, but that caused us problems when we tried to manage everything in one place. With Content Runner you’ve got one interface to track all of your projects, no reason to use another 3rd party tool to find out where you are at with each piece of content in progress. 

Clean and Easy to Use Interface – we are very picky when it comes to style and that (hopefully) shines through with Content Runner. The order entry window took us 20-30 hours to design and perfect, the user/writer interface was a fun process and throughout the site we took a lot pains to make features obvious and available for both users and writers.

Messaging System with Bacn because who doesn’t like Bacon? – getting alerts from software that you use regularly is extremely valuable and many of the systems we were using weren’t giving us enough or the proper email alerts we needed to run the business.

Exporting Content to Word Docs – we found that many of our customers wanted to edit their content in Word and we are able to convert Tiny MCE (WordPress’s  content dashboard) to RTF documents and if you have many documents in one order you can zip it all up in one batch!

Exporting Content to WordPress – 75% of our clients are taking the articles we write and copying and pasting it into WordPress, what a waste of time! We knew that the process had to be smoother so we created a WordPress plugin (agencies can white label it for their clients) to seamlessly transfer content from Content Runner to any WordPress site.