I’d definitely be interested in something like this. For me one thing that would really help is some kind of assurance. I’ve been burned a million times outsourcing writing, pretty much every time. So, $2K/month is a lot of dough to be out if the writing ends up sucking. Also, just in general I believe in products having a money back guarantee.
So, that’d be my 2 cents. I know that productized consulting is a bit different as you have more cash outlay, but then again it does say ‘product’ in there and if you know you’re producing a good product it shouldn’t be an issue.
You could also approach it from another angle. Something like pay for 6 months and you get the first 2 months free. If you cancel before the 2 months is up pay nothing. I don’t know, but the idea being there’s some sort of trial period.
At some point soon I’ll add some case studies and results, which should help with the proof aspect. I’d consider some kind of money back guarantee, but it would have to be pretty limited because of the cost to run the service.
A lot of the value / quality comes in the first month when we do deep customer research (interviews with founders, team, and customers) and we’ll create the editorial calendar. So the client will see where things are headed in terms of topics and a game plan before we actually start publishing anything.
I am offering 10% off when you pay quarterly instead of monthly. Still working out the pricing details and so far all signs are pointing to increasing.
I completely agree. I think it’s important who the writer is and if they understand or can learn my domain. If I’m running a business where generic content could be used then it makes it easier but if I’m running a technical business where the content isn’t necessarily simple then I would be concerned.
Brian, if you were the writer for my web development agency vs. someone who is just a freelance writer with only broad knowledge, then I think it makes a difference. I’d pay more for your skills.
Our focus is first and foremost on who your target customers are. Even if your company does technical work, your target customers may not be technical. Typically, they’d be businesses with a certain problem that your technology solves. So we’d create content that speaks to that customer and educates them about topics they’re actively seeking answers to.
We’re also going to focus on a certain type of client. So far, early interest has come from my network, which have been mostly B2B SaaS and web shops. Still figuring out the ideal target customer. But for now, I’m turning away clients in other spaces like lawyers, healthcare, and others.
Part of the value Audience Ops will offer is our process and team. For example, I’ll be involved in a lot of the up-front research and strategy (and so will the writers), but every piece will be handled by a lead writer + another writer’s input + a copy editor + an assistant to format and publish the post. The goal is to provide a dedicated content marketing team without hiring a FT person to do it in-house.
Thanks for this! Really helpful to hear these objections at this stage.
Don’t think of my comments as objections, these are just concerns. I plan to use this service but who is going to be writing my copy came first to my mind. Maybe others who view the service will think the same, maybe not. Maybe everyone will expect you to be the main crafter of copy. Maybe some will think you are handing work off to Textbroker.com.
It’s a great idea and I think this could help many small businesses who need content but have little time to create it, so they either write bad copy or none at all.
To answer your question, the lead writer on your account (a US-based teammate of Audience Ops) would join me and you (and/or your team) in the early discussions when we interview you as part of our research. So you’d be in touch with the people who working on your content.
I have to second this. Even with as much as I’ve learned, and being capable of putting together a basic marketing stack, actually writing the content the marketing stack would rely on is a lot of work (at least, it’s a lot of work to do correctly). So, no question about whether or not you’re filling a need/meeting a pain point.
Yikes. If I had to guess, I’d predict that you’ll mostly attract people who already have a going concern with at least some level of revenue, looking to level up. I can’t imagine too many pre-revenue founders being able to stomach those prices. Do you have any research on that? If so, can you tell me if my crystal ball is working or not?
I have to echo Ian’s sentiments about getting burned, too.
I’ve purchased articles from Supremacy SEO, Textbroker, and one other service whose name escapes me, and not one of those articles has seen light-of-day on my blog; they flat-out weren’t usable. I could have written better articles, myself; hell, I have written better articles myself! I also could have re-written them in my own voice, and I considered doing that, but that would have defeated the entire purpose of the exercise, which was to get usable content without having to put my personal time into doing so.
This is tricky, though. To some degree, this is an issue of taste, and to another degree, an issue of data. In either case, speaking as a potential customer, I agree that some sort of assurance is in order. This is going to be a difficult guarantee/assurance to come up with, I know.
I do see what you’re saying about how the research phase should make the direction of the project evident to the client, but the rubber doesn’t really hit the road until the client has an article in-hand to review. That - again speaking as a potential customer - is a little scary.
All that said, I’m halfway tempted to sign up for your “$1,500 for an Evergreen Lead Magnet” deal right now, despite what I said before about pre-revenue types balking at those prices.
The short answer is, so far, most of the leads I’ve been speaking to are established companies with revenue, and that’s who this is designed for.
But I’ve also been speaking to a few early stage startups who are looking to build up content ahead of their launch, and they’re too busy with everything else involved in getting to launch that they can’t manage content themselves.
The audience research piece also has the side benefit of helping startups know their customers better.
I’ve heard this a lot and seen it myself. Outsourcing just the writing to a Textbroker, etc. is one way to go. But it requires you to still come up with the topics, edit and revise, handle the promotion, email strategy, etc.
I found that quality tends to increase when the writing team is involved in the customer research and coming up with topics.
Yep - that’s our next step. I plan to add case studies to the site, and more info about our process and methodology.