Witty Pen puts content creators centre stage in the race for online influence

Updated on Apr 07, 2018 03:42 PM IST

The platform brings businesses and writers together, while ensuring that content creators are paid well for their work.

Anshul and his colleagues at Witty Pen pose for a picture on Thursday.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Anshul and his colleagues at Witty Pen pose for a picture on Thursday.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, Pune | ByNamita Shibad, Pune

When Anshul Motwani and his friend were writing for different platforms such as Scoopwhoop and Story Pick he found that there was a constant gap that needed to be filled. “Writers are not paid well and they are not given the proper support that they need. If they need to know more about a topic, they often have to find a way to figure it out themselves or chase the clients to get the required information. This made the whole process very tedious.” It is with this in mind that Anshul set out to make Witty Pen in September 2016 - an innovative content marketing brand that sought to bring businesses and writers together, while eliminating the constraints that writers face throughout the country.

Making a difference

Though the concept may seem simple, there were various issues that needed to be ironed out. “A 2018 report states that India has the largest number of freelance writers, around 15 million. But not all of them are well-paid work. A lot of this freelance workforce comprises of women. Women often choose to become freelance writers because they want to set their own work hours, they want flexibility and are not interested in a nine to five job. But they want to work and be compensated fairly for that work,” said Anshul. It is no surprise then, that 75 per cent of the writers registered on the platform are women

So, what are the benefits to writers of Witty Pen? “Most importantly, writers do not have to follow up for payment like they have to on other platforms. They also do not have to follow up with clients for data. We provide them all the necessary data. They can see the projects that are looking for content writers and choose where they want to work and hence, they can free to choose their work hours. If a company wants a story in two days and writers are unable to work during the time, they can forgo the project and work on another one depending on their topics of interest. We pay them anywhere between Re 1 per word up to 3 per word and most of our writers put in a 1000 words a day on average.”

Luckily for Anshul, starting out and letting writers know about the new platform was easier than expected. Most writers were approached and recruited through online platforms, which functioned as an effective advertising tool.

“We explained the concept behind our platform and its benefits, and initially recruited 25 writers. In the beginning, I did all of this on my own. Later I hired two people who helped with the development.

“Today I have a team of nine developers who work at our office. We started small, but we have now grown to over 200 writers across India. We have about 150 customers, many of whom are repeat customers.”

Reaching out for business

Anshul knew that businesses needed content to stay relevant and to market themselves better. “All companies are present online and they look to drive some business and advertise using their online presence. Say, Cover Fox an insurance company expects to do business from its website. In order to achieve that, it has to ensure it has good content. Good content will ensure that it receives a positive response on all social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, linkedin and so on. Even to engage with their customers, companies need good, creative content.This is where we come in,” says Anshul.

According to Anshul, getting customers is a science. “There are three levels of conversion of a customer. First, we create awareness about content and how it drives media presence. If a company realises that it is not getting the traction it needs organically on social media, it may look at generating content that is more effective. Quality content has a huge impact on social media influence. So, in order to spread the word and create awareness, we write blogs about the importance of content in driving online engagement. The second level is when the client gets reaches the consideration mode. When the customer begins to think about using content to market their product, it is at this stage that we present them with white papers and case studies to explain the effectiveness of good content. And the last stage is when the customer makes a decision to use content as a tool for business. This is when we do webinars to make them cross over.”

Looking forward

In the last year Witty Pen grew three times as large and generated a revenue of 30 lakhs. “Because our expenses were minimal, I spent next to nothing and did not need to borrow money. I used my own funds. I had writers on board but they had to be paid only when I got work and they submitted their pieces and I got paid whenever I got a client. There was no period of time where I needed extra funds. Except now of course when I have to pay salaries to the staff. But my business is funding itself,” said Anshul.

Anshul now hopes to expand the service to other languages, especially considering the linguistic diversity in the country.

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