It’s Time to Rethink Content Creation Services

We interviewed EditPaste Founder, Stefan Schulz, to learn more about why he decided it was time to rethink content creation services. What did we learn? That EditPaste is really, really awesome.

How’s it going?

Good! Busy! We have a lot of projects in the queue and there is a lot to get excited about. Finding a balance of helping our clients grow while simultaneously growing our own business is challenging at times, but it’s fun and definitely rewarding, especially when all the stars align…

Where are you currently focused on growing?

Right now, our primary focus is making sure we continue to deliver for our clients. We’ve always preached that our client’s success is what fuels us as a marketing agency. And that has been true to date and I don’t foresee it really ever changing. From our client focus, we learn a lot and can make decisions on where we should grow, which is not always where we initially set out. Recently, we have been doing a lot of web design projects. Over the course of those projects, we started to pick up on a pattern: once the website was complete, our clients always asked, “What’s next?”

We played around with doing SEO and monthly web contracts for inbound marketing. It seemed like the next logical step, and it is sometimes, but only for businesses with large enough budgets. The problem is that those types of recurring arrangements rarely ever benefit, or make sense for small businesses. When you throw out a proposal for a $4,000 / month retainer, most small businesses run for the hills. This was a hard fact for us to swallow at first. We couldn’t believe that a majority of our small business clients weren’t responding, especially since the initial web design projects went so well. So, a big part of our growth has been finding and developing workable solutions to post web development for our small business clients, and the market in general.

Is that how EditPaste came into play?

Yeah, absolutely. EditPaste really was a play on “copy and paste” and intended to re-engage some of our–for a lack of a better term–sleepy clients. We wanted to make adding content, which is super important for marketing your website, simple. The idea came from us constantly banging our heads against a wall with post web development. The wall being the small business market that knows they need content, understand the value of quality content for their website, but do not want to go through the process of developing content. Basically, we found that most small businesses look at content like they look at art–as an investment. Like good art, they usually do not want to purchase content until it is tangible, something real that they can see and feel.

So, EditPaste provides custom, ready-made content for free?

Well, not exactly. Obviously, we are not in the business of giving content away (laughs). Our goal was simply to take the up-front risk in developing content out of the equation. Too many times, we heard the same sob stories…a lawyer trying to write an article in his downtime and never finishing because he was burnt out…an entrepreneur hiring a freelancer, then having to make countless edits to get the voice to fit her brand…Content is like any other investment. When it’s done right, it delivers an awesome return. When it isn’t done right, and it drags on forever, or isn’t utilized properly, it’s a waste of time and money. We provide awesome content, edited and ready to go to work. It doesn’t cost anything to start receiving the content, but when someone wants to use a piece, they purchase the exclusive rights, download it immediately, and use it any way they want.

What happens if someone doesn’t like the content you develop?

Well, that’s a bummer on our end (laughs). EditPaste subscribers are not obligated to purchase the content we develop. Our big selling point is “Buy content that you want, when you want it.” Our strategy is to develop quality content that sells though, not just for us, but for the small business, or business owner that buys our content. We are really putting our money where our mouth is, but we are willing to bank on ourselves. If we can’t prove what we say we are going to do, how could we expect anyone to pay us hourly, or keep us on retainer?

To offset the costs, do you have to price your content high?

That’s a good question. We weighed on this internally quite a bit. One question we asked ourselves was “Do we want to sell content? Or do we want to sell a content marketing solution to small businesses?” What we agreed on was the latter of the two. If we wanted to just sell content, we would have to sell a ton of it, or mark up our work like crazy, to be profitable. Neither of which would work. For one, there are plenty of content repositories out there–we call them content mills. They just pump out content like crazy, but there’s no real rhyme or reason to most of it. A lot of it is spun content too and not really unique, so there’s no real value, especially when SEO is the end goal. Also, there’s zero follow up. What happens to that busy lawyer who purchases an article? He’s probably not a WordPress expert, or a social media guru, or a PR pro. He has content now, but no way of getting it posted to his website and distributed to channels that deliver the return of investment he’s looking for.

Marking the work up doesn’t make sense either because it would then drive away the small business market that we were hoping to attract. To answer your question directly, we price our content at a fair rate. Every piece is a little different and is based on total development time. We track our time thoroughly. By providing awesome content, and posting and distribution services, we are hoping to demonstrate our abilities while helping scale the customer’s business. As an EditPaste user begins to implement their content, we can evaluate the performance and provide insights on what it is delivering. Not only does this give us an advantage against other content delivery services, but it puts us in a position where we can look to expand our involvement and develop custom offerings.

Give us a ballpark. What does an article cost?

If we’re talking strictly ballpark figures, our standard, text based articles are anywhere from $80-150, which is really at cost. Remember, this is for strategy, keyword and industry research, writing and editing, and all management. Again, we’re not looking to sell just articles, we’re selling a content marketing solution. EditPaste is not A to B, it’s A to Z.

We also do more than just written articles. White papers, infographics and explainer videos are in high-demand more than ever. When it makes sense, we’ll invest in these resources as well and price them the same way as our custom articles to account for our development costs.

What type of feedback have you received so far?

It’s all been extremely positive. I’m really excited for the future. We did a slow roll out to our existing clients to get feedback before going live and everyone was full gung-ho. It was actually a little overwhelming at first. We were kind of thinking, “Oh crap, how are we going to develop all of this content?” That’s not a bad problem to have!

From that initial roll out, we’ve stayed busy and have been refining our process to better suit the needs of our clients. One of our hot buttons has been on-boarding. We want to get as much info as we can before starting without being overly intrusive. It’s important to set expectations. We don’t want to assume anything. Another hot button has been visual representation of our strategies. In other words, why did we choose to develop a certain article. What keyword volumes and expected impressions can be expected if the content is utilized properly? To date, nobody has said this is stupid, Orpical, stop. I’ll take that as a good sign.

Quite possibly the best feedback we’ve received has been indirect from organic traffic. With zero marketing budget, other than a landing page and some spontaneous social sharing, we’ve had a natural flow of subscribers. The interest is international. I’ve spoken to people in the States, but also Australia, the United Kingdom, and parts of Asia. The industries are equally diverse. We’re in development for cloud hosting companies, travel agencies, educational institutions, and mixed martial arts. It’s pretty crazy!

What’s next on the docket? Where do you see EditPaste next year?

In a year, I see EditPaste as a self-sufficient component of the Orpical Flywheel. From how we on-board, to conceptualization, to content distribution, to defining when and where we involve our senior business consulting team members. I’m not going to be the only one developing this content (laughs). That would do us no good, and also be doing our client’s a disservice. We need a multitude of fresh voices with wide perspectives. That’s what people want and that’s what Google wants.

One thing I am really looking forward to is the development program that we are incorporating into our model. Kids that just come out of school, or those that still are in school, are battling the experience conundrum, where employers and hiring managers are looking for backgrounds that frankly do not exist. How do you get work experience if that’s a job requirement? I see EditPaste as a fun, but intensive training program that exposes aspiring marketing professionals to an entire ad agency work cycle. We’re not looking to help people become better writers–there are a lot of those out there. We’re looking to develop executives from the ground up.