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Contently: Building Your Brand the Fortune 500 Way

If you’re a journalist looking for a way to display your clips on your website, look no further. offers a “build-your-own portfolio” site tool that is quick and easy to use and that you can embed into your own website.

“We realized a lot of journalists are not great web designers, so we made a tool that makes it very easy for you to gather all your clips in one place,” says Shane Snow, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of

By linking your Contently account with your other social media accounts, your eco-analytics become visible right on your page (how many publications you’ve written for, how many clips are displayed, how many followers, shares, and comments you have).

But Contently is more than just a tool to display your clips. It’s a go-between to connect freelance journalists with clients. This is how it works: Contently employees scour the portfolios of all their journalists who chose to share their work with potential clients and grants those created by professional journalists who have written repeatedly for large publications “pro status.” Right now Contently has 13,000 journalists, 2500 of whom have pro status and another couple thousand whose portfolios are in line to be reviewed. To date, about 25% of the journalists listed as “pros” have gotten paid work through Contently. The pay scale works like this:

Rather than charging by the word, which Contently Director of Community John Hazard equates with “building a house and paying the contractor based on how many nails were used,” Contently charges by how many original interviews were conducted to write your story. In other words, the more sources you quote in your story, the more money you make.  Link-sourced blog posts pay $150-$200; stories with one unique interview pay $250-$350; 2-3-source stories pay $650-$750, and multiple-source white papers pay $2 per word.

Contently has three types of clients: your traditional media companies like Mashable, The Atlantic, and Forbes; media agencies like Weber Shandwick, Horizon, and Federated; and Fortune 500 companies. That’s right. Large companies like Coca-Cola; PepsiCo; and Bed, Bath, and Beyond are hiring high-end professional journalists (we’re talking journalists who write for Wired and the Washington Post) to write real news articles in order to increase traffic to their websites. In other words, they are building their brands by becoming publishers.

Think of it this way: When you build your author brand, you want to give away free content. You want to write articles (blog posts) about your area of expertise—whether that be 1000 ways to make sushi or how to improve your SEO (search engine optimization). If you follow the 80/20 rule, 80 percent of your posts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. will be free content (your own or links to other free content). The other 20 percent will be promotional—“Oh, by the way, my book is for sale on Amazon” or “Sign up for my webinar here.” If you follow social media guru Guy Kawasaki’s rule, you’ll spend 95% of your time posting high-quality free content and the other 5% promoting your wares.

Fortune 500 companies are doing the same thing. They’re giving away free content in the form of high-quality news stories written by professional journalists in exchange for more traffic to their sites. Take Dell for example. Its Tech Page One features articles about e-cycling, crowdfunding, and personal branding. Often these articles get picked up by traditional media organizations with a link back to the original source.  

So whether you’re a journalist looking for a tool to beautifully display your clips or to make some extra money on the side, Contently is worth checking out. And if you’re an author looking to improve your own personal brand—take a tip from the big guys and keep cranking out that free content. 

9 comments to Contently: Building Your Brand the Fortune 500 Way

  • Kristan

    Cool service. I could see it being really useful to folks. 🙂

    • meghancward

      You can use it to slurp up any of your clips into a webpage that's really well designed. Works for blog posts, too, although since my blog is on my website, I have no need to repost them to a second page.

  • annerallen

    This service sounds awesome. Wish there had been something like this when I was a working journalist.

    • meghancward

      My favorite part is the design. It's such a beautiful way to display your clips, and you can embed it into your website.

  • rebecca

    Awesome! Great Story!

  • Blake

    would you recommend this site for people who want to showcase their research papers ?

    • meghancward

      Blake, I think anyone who has articles online could benefit from Contently. I made the mistake of importing all my blog posts and then realized that I had overshadowed my other work with hundreds of posts that were already posted to my blog. So I scrapped the whole thing. Here's an example of one of my colleague's pages, though:

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