Paying Talent Upon Submission: A New Weapon in the Brand Publishing Arms Race

There’s a battle for storytelling talent coming. Today Contently announces a new initiative to fortify such talent: From now forward, freelancers who work with clients on Contently will be paid immediately when they submit their work — a huge departure from the industry standard of paying freelancers weeks or months after work is approved.

This move is part of the escalating brand publishing arms race that Contently Co-Founder Shane Snow wrote about last week. If brands want to win, they’ll need the best journalists and multimedia storytellers on their side. To do that, brands need to trust their talent and take care of their needs — from cash flow to ethics and empowerment.

In the past year, we’ve seen that start to happen. Wired Magazine editors are flocking to brand pubs. Elon Musk convinced Hamish McKenzie to leave PandoDaily for Tesla. And in joining Yahoo, Katie Couric might have secretly become the biggest brand journalist since Kurt Vonnegut.

Why Brands Need to Pay Upon Submission

But one person does not make a media company, and brands need many quality storytellers if they want to compete. Brands can attract the best freelance storytellers by not only paying quality rates, but by also paying them the right way.

Think about it — would your boss at a full-time job withhold payment until they’d approved your work? Freelancers shouldn’t have to play by a separate set of rules, and they should be trusted to make revisions after they’ve been paid.

According to research by Freelancers Union, there are some 42 million people in America who work as part-or full-time freelancers in some capacity. Reports indicate that about a third of creative workers — including journalists and writers — are freelancers, while many more are un- or under-employed. Part of Contently’s founding mission is to empower freelance journalists to do what they love; solving their cash flow woes is one more step toward fulfilling that mission.

We believe that this change will give the brands we work with a key advantage in attracting the best storytelling talent on earth and winning the brand-publishing arms race. And we hope that all brand publishers will follow suit — not just because it’s right, but because it’s the smart thing to do.

What’s the deal with the Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

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