There's no doubt anymore that content marketing is here for the long haul. According to the Content Marketing Institute, most marketers (92 percent) are using content, and 58 percent and 60 percent of enterprise and consumer companies, respectively, plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. Yet only 42 percent consider themselves effective at it.
"More and more companies and brands are investing in content and making it an increasing part of their marketing mix, but they are finding that building an audience for that content, and having it reach the customers that will find it most valuable, is increasingly difficult," says Josh Kerr, co-founder and CEO of Written.com, a startup with a new approach to content marketing. "At the same time, there is already a lot of great, relevant content out there that bloggers are writing that already has an audience."
Written.com connects marketers with bloggers' existing content and audiences-a win-win situation for both brands and bloggers. For brands, Written.com drives engaged users by licensing high-quality content that is already proven to resonate with the audience they are trying to reach. For bloggers, the startup helps them monetize content they have already written, giving new life to their archives with increased reach and payment that far exceeds typical blog network ads.
"We help marketers find readers already engaged with content relevant to their brand, and bring them into a brand's content efforts," Kerr says about the startup founded in January 2013 and launched in January 2014. "From the blogger side, we are their super-agent-the ones who will not only get them the most value for their content, but we will connect them with top brands and get them exposure to new audiences."
Although the content marketing space is very active right now, Written.com stands out. Kerr says they flip the entire model on its head. Instead of creating content and then trying to build an audience for it, the startup finds relevant, high-quality content and brings the brand to it. "We can predictably drive engaged users, and there is a clear ROI in using Written.com, as opposed to many of our competitors."
Written's clients range from small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprises, including: Computer Associates, HomeAway, Vast, and SolarWinds. "In all cases, Written discovers awesome, relevant content, with a pre-baked engaged audience, licenses said content, deploys it to our respective brand, and immediately our brands see an impact," Kerr says.
In every instance (for both SMBs and large enterprises), Kerr says customers see an immediate boost not just in traffic but more important brand KPIs such as signups, time on site, pages per visit, visits per searcher, click-through to other pages, social shares, and comments-all leading to increased engagement with their target audience. "In specific cases, we have seen revenue double year over year tied directly to Written content."
Pricing varies from the type of campaign a company may want to run and the type of licensing a blogger wants to allow. It also depends heavily on the value of the keyword(s) that an article ranks for, the amount of traffic that it gets, and the virality of it.
"We really want bloggers to just keep doing what they are already doing, which is creating meaningful, relevant, and smart content that is useful," says Kerr. "In fact, we want to help empower them to do that even more by helping them monetize their content. So really, the most 'valuable' content for bloggers is the content they are already writing-which is authentic, informative, and expert. That of course isn't related just to business bloggers, but expert bloggers concerned with any area of interest they may have."
Written is working to make the platform more self-serve so both bloggers and brands can more easily connect and set deals within its marketplace. "We feel it will provide even more control for bloggers in how they can license their content, and for brands to experiment with new writers and content that could uncover new valuable audiences for them."
In the coming months, you will also see Written.com launch its service with at least one internationally recognized brand a month.