The rules of content marketing are relatively simple. You create content—blogs, articles, white papers, videos, etc.—that’s targeted at the people whom you want to buy your products or services. You include specific keywords that those potential customers are likely to be searching for and build your content around them, so that the next time they search for those keywords, your website will appear in the results, and you can draw people to your site.
These are the basics, and if you’ve done any content marketing at all, you’re at least somewhat familiar with them. But now, a site called Written.com has set out to turn those rules around and create a whole new approach to content marketing. Rather than creating content and using it to build up a following, their strategy is to find content that’s already popular and connect the creators with companies who will pay to use it to promote their brand.
One constant concern of content marketing is that it’s difficult to gauge what people will respond to. There are a number of tools you can use to see what people are interested in and what would be relevant to them, but you never really know what the reception will be for your specific content until you post it.
So Written.com maintains a database of bloggers whose content has a significant following. Their posts are the ones people are already looking for. So when a brand comes along wanting content on a specific topic, they find a popular blog post on that topic within their database for which the brand can purchase one of several different kinds of licenses. They can put their branding on the page the post is on. They can move the post to their own site and redirect future viewers of that post to the new link. Or they can simply publish it again on their own site. The bloggers get paid for their work, and the brands get targeted content with a built-in following.
At the moment, Written.com supports exclusively WordPress blogs, for both writers and brands. But they have plans to expand to other platforms in the near future. If this venture is successful, they or another company could even conceivably expand to include other types of content, such as articles or videos.
But will it be successful? Is this a viable model for content marketing? The company is still relatively new. But they have just received $1 million in seed money from several venture capital groups and angel investors. So someone obviously thinks that this is a concept worth looking into. Only time will tell if it pays off.