Deals

Contently puts freelance journalists to work as marketing hacks

Contently cofounders Joe Coleman, Dave Goldberg, and Shane Snow

Above: Contently cofounders Joe Coleman, Dave Goldberg, and Shane Snow

Image Credit: Contently

The Internet has not been kind to journalism.

It has created a world where anyone with an Internet connection can fancy themselves a publisher, and where “content marketing” and “brand journalism” are on the rise.

Contently is a team of self-described journalists and nerds building tools for this new world. The NYC-based startup announced today that it has closed $9 million in funding.

As Bill Gates famously put it in 1996, “content is king,” and businesses of all sizes are realizing that publishing interesting, relevant stories is a powerful way to build a brand and attract attention.

Contently connects freelance journalists and writers with nontraditional publishers, such as brands, agencies, nonprofits, and new media companies. These organizations use Contently’s technology to commission projects, such as sponsored articles, infographics, and blog posts.

On the other side of the platform are thousands of writers looking for work.

The Pew Research Center recently reported that the total newsroom workforce in the U.S. fell by 28% since 2000. It is harder than ever to find a full-time position as a journalist. Newsrooms are stretched tight and PR firms and advertising agencies have swarmed in to fill the vacuum.  

Journalists may not be able to get a job doing actual reporting, but they can get paid to help promote someone’s else’s business.

Contently said its revenue is up 400% over last year, and it now has more than 40 enterprise clients. Clients include AT&T, Genentech, American Express, General Electric, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Weber Shandwick.

This money will serve to grow its freelance network and develop more content marketing products.

Contently competes with NewsCred, a startup that makes it easier for brands to publish third-party content, as well as Scripted, a marketplace for marketing writers, and Percolate.

Sigma Prime, Sigma West, Lightbank, Countour Ventures, and David Lerner participated in this second round of funding. Contently raised a $2 million Series A two years ago.