The Contently Manifesto (2011)

Quality is king.
Freelance is the future.
Anyone can be a publisher.

The future of content on the web – content that gets discovered, creates value, and builds audiences – is not cheap text cranked out by content farms. It’s high quality, editorial and entertainment created by experienced journalists and passionate bloggers. The future is a social media world, where humans are the arbiters of quality, and search algorithms reward sharing and human readability.

The Internet means publishers should no longer be confined to the limits of in-office staff, nor should they be forced to burn fuel to put reporters on the ground around the world. Creative talent lives everywhere; it can and should work from wherever it lives. And any quality publisher should have access to it. Though we may live far apart, the web can bring freelancers together into a community whose value far exceeds the sum of its members. This is the freelance revolution.

The delineation between “media company” and any other enterprise is no longer relevant; we embrace the notion that any entity – brand, nonprofit, news organization, or individual – can be a quality publisher. We believe the business model that “saves journalism” is myriad: Commerce, sponsorship, paid content, and philanthropy will sustain the craft and maintain journalistic integrity, so long as motives and authors are transparent.

Not long from now, exploitative media like content farms will be dead. But content will not. We endeavor to support the rise of quality content, in a freelance Internet, commissioned by brands that care about transparency and social good, and by media companies that believe that great creative work is worth paying for.

Contently 2011

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