It’s not a million dollar round on the first day of class, but Contently.com, which just joined the second class of TechStars NY, has raised a $335,000 debt round from Founder Collective.
The start-up has positioned itself as the anti-content farm, helping freelance journalists to manage their careers and big brands to produce editorial content that stands out, all while avoiding the SEO optimized schlock pumped out by Demand Media and others.
Speaking from personal experience, there isn’t much money in making freelance journalists your clients. But connecting professional writers with big brands looking for some high class advertorial could be a strong play. A corporation can afford to pay premium freelance rates, since they are chasing pageviews and online engagement, not a return on their dollars via advertising.
“Contently is something that literally every one of our portfolio companies could use,” Founder Collective Managing Partner Eric Paley told TechCrunch. “Contently makes content marketing turnkey for it’s growing base of clients.”
The danger here is that what makes for really effective content marketing, take the wildly popular OkCupid Trends blog, is an authentic voice and a deep engagement with the subject. Yes, Contently is finding experienced writers to help create great posts. But a freelancer is never going to have the voice and insight of a person who actually works at the company, the path taken by blogging stars like Robert Scoble and Marco Arment.