NewsCred Turns Brands And Marketers Into Publishers With NewsRoom

NewsCred, a startup that's trying to disrupt online media syndication, is paying top dollar for its own stable of content creators.

Although big media brands like The New York Times and The Economist aren't going away anytime soon, the online publishing industry increasingly includes brands, marketers, and independent journalists. With the launch of a new content network, the tech startup NewsCred wants to be the liaison between content-hungry brands and the creatives who make it.

NewsCred's core business is in software subscriptions, which it sells to brands and marketers looking to syndicate published stories from thousands of media partners, including brands like the Times and Reuters. (Disclosure: Fast Company is a NewsCred partner.) Starting today, NewsCred will begin offering brands access to original content through an initiative called the NewsRoom, which refers to NewsCred's carefully cultivated stable of about 500 freelance writers, photographers, videographers, and designers who will be creating custom content for brands like Dell, Qualcomm, Pepsi, and Visa.

"We realized original content is usually the entry point for a lot of marketers who are just starting out in content marketing," NewsCred CEO Shafqat Islam tells Fast Company. "In order to capture that market, we felt we needed to have this offering."

And to ensure it can continue to corral the best creative talent, the NewsRoom isn't skimping on paying its creators: A NewsRoom writer can expect to pull in $500 and up for a basic blog post, while full articles will be "in the thousands," Islam says.

What's more, NewsRoom journalists keep 100% of profits. Islam sees the initiative as a loss leader for the company—he says he "fully expects" the NewsRoom network to result in more sales on the software side of NewsCred's business, which sells subscriptions that start roughly $5,000 a month to about 200 current customers.

[Image: Flickr user followtheseinstructions]

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4 Comments

  • ass

    I would rather go to an agency. Why would I read an article from Reuters in Pepsi website.

  • Ant Miles

    A quote from the NewsCred site - 'Replacing Zurich’s custom content with premium content from internationally recognized sources like The Economist, Bloomberg and Reuters helps establish Zurich as a credible thought leader and go-to resource.'

    Can someone explain to me how a company becomes a 'thought leader' by porting content from third-party news sites into their own app? How does this provide a unique viewpoint on a given issue? What are all of those thousands of experts at Zurich thinking?

    If I just sent a few links to interesting news stories to some potential clients would I be a thought leader?

  • Anthony Reardon

    Awesome point Ant. It's not a statement for critical thought, lol! You are absolutely right. They are just saying thought leader because it sounds nice and works as a selling point with decision-makers.

    You have to dive into the thought world of the industry. One of the big ideas out there today is "content marketing" and it essentially refers to how feeding published articles on a site creates greater discovery during search, including a higher degree of relevance to current issues & events, and thus results in significant increases in traffic. There's also a basis for engagement I won't get into, but the point is it is a marketing strategy that has gained a lot of traction in the corporate world and technology development sector.

    The semantics of "social leadership" or "thought leadership" are implicit in the association. So, where do people go for the best insights on such and such topics. Say Zurich sells financial products tied to insurance, so they want to be an online destination of choice for corporate decision makers and investors, and having a syndicated feed of content from publishers who specialize in those topics and audiences can make them a "go-to-resource".

    I personally have fundamental disagreements with this strategy, but wouldn't argue that it isn't statistically effective. Actual thought leadership is a qualitative strategy, and if you really have that to offer it's hard to beat. It does require a commitment of resources, but today's increasingly sophisticated and discretionary audiences will ultimately choose authentic thought leaders as their go to resource- seeing the content marketing strategy for what it is.

    Curation has its benefits, but not for thought leadership. However, what you curate can provide some communication about your tastes and values. That's about as close as it gets. It can be more cost effective than publishing your own media, and if you engage with audiences on it, the hard part is done for you and you can focus on added-value activities demonstrating your positions, connecting with market, and creating business opportunities.

    You can take it a step further by hiring professional journalists who specialize in your industry subject matter, providing creative direction, and incorporating your brand into the presentation. In that sense, I think you may be able to justify yourself as a thought leader, and it's pretty smart to hire a professional to do a job that you might otherwise be lacking production quality capacities in.

    However, I think you hit the mark they are trying to blur the lines between custom content and curation to suggest a company that doesn't have the time for quality content production can just pipe it in from a third party and still claim to be a thought leader. Brands, marketers, and publishers might never raise the point, lol!

    I stand by my earlier comment that it is impressive they are suggesting to liason between brands and journalist and pass through the profits to writers. The majority of social technology companies out there intend to leverage their audiences for advertisement- profiting at the expense of our participation, and never thinking to compensate for the content we produce, the traffic we attract, and the engagement we drive.

    When they talk to brands, they'll point out it is a content marketing strategy where they do all the hard work to be an online destination of choice and the brands need only pay to advertise in order to increase their exposure. If you want to bust NewsCred for hokum, you could say it just amounts to flipping things around and putting the content within the advertisement container.

    Best, Anthony

  • Anthony Reardon

    This is a pretty big deal. Just the notion of actually paying for content is significant, where a lot of technology companies are banking on end-users to publish for free to drive their own interests on a platform, and then leveraging captive audiences to brands.