You know that ClearVoice is a user-friendly and writer-friendly platform to connect companies with marketing content creators. And, you know we produce a lot of content — from ebooks to podcasts to blogs — to inform and inspire conversations around content marketing best practices.
But if you haven’t had a private walk-through of our client interface and platform, you may not know exactly how the ClearVoice app works for SMBs. For example, how many qualified writers can you connect with, and how quickly? How can you make sure they have the background and topic expertise? Who are the faces — both on the customer service side and in the writer/designer pools — of real people who will become part your team?
We decided to roll back the curtain and share how ClearVoice works for clients. To do this, customer success manager Kayla Tarantino walked me through the process that she goes through to set up a new customer for their first project once they’re signed up and ready to go. In this example, we are specifically showcasing ClearVoice’s “Account-Based Casting Call,” which allows clients who are brand new to the platform to send a content need out to a qualified, available talent pool, get back many responses, sort the best matches quickly, and greenlight in one go. If you need to ramp up a content project from 0 to 50 pages in under a month, this is how you do it.
Let’s role-play. I’m a marketing manager with 500 plates spinning. I know I need content, and I can’t build a dedicated team for it. That’s why I’ve come to ClearVoice. In this situation, would I generally know what content I want?
The people who tend to use our platform are pretty savvy. They understand content and they’re having resource problems more than content strategy problems.
So typically, they have some type of content strategy; they just don’t have the head count.
Typically, by the time customers get to the success team, they’re ready. They’ve got their goals and plan identified, and they want to get going. They want to find people who can create. And sometimes, they have a condensed timeline to execute the project.
Let’s say I’m a client from a mid-sized web hosting company with business clientele. We don’t have the brand recognition we want, and being that Google and other search engines control online visibility, we’ve decided to launch a blog with high-quality SEO informational content in five categories to improve our ratings and ranking.
We’ve worked with a number of web hosting clients in the past, so we have a ton of great talent in the network that can cover IT and hosting topics.
So does that mean a brand-new client could conceivably launch a full blog within a month?
That sounds realistic.
This is exactly the sort of quick ramp-up that companies have a really tough time executing using a traditional freelancer platform or jobs board. It’s quite hard to find dependable writers and manage the workflow, let alone on an expedited timeline. So, how do you make it easier? Take me through the steps.
You mentioned that you have five content categories you were hoping to create content around. So when you first get into your ClearVoice dashboard — which will be empty because you haven’t done anything yet — go to Manage Campaigns. You’ll open a new campaign.
This is where you can build out your brief, including the five topics you want to cover. The really important part of this step is to put some creator guidelines explaining the style and tone of content you want to create; and writer-specific guidelines that stipulate the level of expertise you’re looking for and the persona of the customer.
It’s great to start at the campaign level. It helps you stay organized on the rest of the platform when you’re building teams, doing casting calls, and assigning writers to assignments.
Can you show how to find writers that are appropriate to this campaign? I know there are hundreds in the pool, but from clicking around the main site, I’ve never been able to sort through the portfolios.
There are a number of ways you can connect with writers. First, I’ll show you how to explore our talent and cherry pick to build your bench manually.
Let’s say we want someone with experience writing about IT management. Do a search for that key word in our Talent Network [accessible by clients not the general public]. The system returns Michael Rand. Click on Michael’s CV and you can see his entire portfolio of writing, including that he’s covered certain specialized topics that we really like.
Are all the samples in a writer’s portfolio definitely something that person wrote and had published? Sometimes these days when you’re looking at a person’s samples, it’s hard to tell what portion of it they actually created.
All the pieces are either bylined and published, or ghostwritten and published. If you open up a certain sample, you can read what exactly their role was.
[Note: Freelancers can add contextual notes to any piece they upload to their CVs, regardless of their role (e.g., writer, editor, designer, strategist).]
After a quick review, Michael seems like a good writer to chat with. How do I get his availability and interest?
You can message him right through the ClearVoice network and ask him about his availability, get a sense whether he’s able to take on your project. Once you’ve saved Michael, he will show up on your Saved Talent. Then from there you can add him to Teams.
In order to fulfill my goal of launching a blog in under a month, what I would love to do is find 15 more Michaels immediately.
If you want to find 15 more people like Michael without having to go through hundreds of CVs and sending a hundred messages, we recommend doing an Account-Based Casting Call. You’re going to go to Manage Assignments and create one to send a potential assignment out to our entire network. Our algorithm is going to choose, based on each writers topic and expertise, who that assignment opportunity displays to. And it will allow qualified writers to apply to the assignment.
I only want to see writers who are available and willing to work on my project. While I want the 15 best candidates, I only want to hire three of them. And I do not want to sort through candidates one by one. Does the Account-Based Casting Call also facilitate these needs for me?
Yes. To do it, we’re going to create an Assignment within the overarching Campaign. When we fill out “Who will create?”, instead of choosing a specific writer or group of writers, we can send it out to the Talent Network — specifically to writers in the technology space.
The form that you fill out will identify what type of content you’re creating, including word count and rate per article, but it doesn’t assign a specific number of articles. It could be five ebooks or 15 blog posts. Or you could just leave it open.
We’re going to call this a “Long-Term Writing Opportunity in Web Hosting Space” and say “We’re looking for 3-5 writers to help support us in writing 10 blog posts per month on the following topic.” Include the required background for applicants, and let them know what they’re committing to. You want someone who can commit to five posts a month, starting immediately.
Also include details of turnaround time. So, input that initial posts will be due in two weeks, or even one week, if you feel that sense of urgency about your blog launch.
And I will get back the best 10-15 people from the entire database?
When you send this Account-Based Casting Call out, you may receive up to 75 qualified responses, but typically the qualified responses are in the range of 30-35.
Whether it’s 30 or 75, I still don’t want to go through them all. At this point I’m looking for 3-5 writers to jump right into this campaign. So what’s the next step to narrow down the field from 30 to 10, so I can choose my favorite five from just the best?
If you’ve got 30 or 40 applicants back, and you want to get to 10 finalists from whom you can pick three to work with right away, what I’d recommend is saving all of the 40 first. Then go to Manage Pitch Requests and put together a pitch request for all 40 of those writers.
We’ll title the pitch request “Web Hosting Topics Needed.” And then you send this request out to all 40 of your saved users.
A good thing to note here is if you start your request today, and if you end it next week, you’re giving people a 7-day window to get you back pitch requests. So in your expedited timeline, you’d put the End Request Date in 2 days.
So I’m going to request that all 40 of these people send me article ideas? Couldn’t I possibly end up with 80 article ideas that I would then feel obligated to accept?
We always recommend that you put in more people than you feel like you need. Things get crazy for writers, and it’s unlikely that all 40 writers will get back pitch requests.
The beauty of the system, though, is if you get back more good ideas than you need, you can schedule them out for future months or just save till you need them.
This makes sense. I’m pretty confident that if a writer can craft a smart pitch around this subject matter, then they probably know about it well enough to write about it. So what’s the next step to the pitch request; you just hit Send?
How many people from a customer’s team are able to access all these assignments and pitch requests that we’ve created today? Say I have two product colleagues and a content manager working remotely… Do they all get access, or do I have to pay per person?
You can give everyone access. If you go into Active Talent, add a new in-house user from any page in the platform. There’s no limit to the number of your team members allowed in the system. You do not have to pay extra for more users.
I only have one more question. You’ve been so great, how often do we get to have these calls?
You’re on the DIY customer plan (Do It Yourself), which means that you’re managing the production process on your own — running the casting calls, pitch requests and all the other functionality on your own. But that doesn’t mean you’re left completely alone. Especially in your onboarding period, we encourage that you use the chat function to talk to us as often as you need to get the answers you need to be successful. You have my email, and can absolutely email me any time.
Additionally we’ll set up monthly check-ins to start. As you get more self-sufficient in the platform it might go to quarterly. But we’re available in the onboarding period as long as you need it.