A new platform to help freelance journalists aggregate their work will be launched on Thursday. Contently aims to help journalists to build their personal brand online and connect them with publishers looking for writers.
The site was conceived by Shane Snow, a 2010 graduate of Columbia Journalism School and writer for Wired. He told CJR that Contently is modelled on other cross-platform sites like Behance, which allows those in the creative industry to aggregate their work, and About.me, which acts as a portal to a user’s social networking pages. But he says that this is the first service dedicated exclusively to journalists and publishers.
“Originally we started because I was a frustrated freelancer seeing friends of mine who were better writers than me having a hard time getting work, and I had a friend who was a frustrated publisher trying to find talented freelancers on Craigslist,” Snow said. “We thought if we could connect good professionals who are now out of work with publishers who care about professional quality work, not SEO, content-farm stuff, then we could create a business out of that.”
Snow and two friends, Joe Coleman and Dave Goldberg, who handle business and tech, respectively, already have big publishers like Mashable, The Atlantic, and Forbes signed up on the publishing side, and 5,000 journalists have been testing the invite-only beta version since the site first went live. As of Thursday, anyone will be able to sign up for Contently. Those who decide to check the “available for work” box on their profiles will then be vetted to make sure they have already had work published professionally.
Eventually, Snow hopes that publishers will start using Contently for many of their operations, including workflow and payments (which Contently streamlines through PayPal). Journalists will soon be able to sort their taxes through Contently’s invoicing system and track their work’s reach online, down to pageviews, click-throughs and whether work is being excessively quoted elsewhere.
“We want to empower journalists,” Snow said. “That means helping to ease the main pain points: getting work, getting paid, and building a personal brand.”