CopyPress Turns 2, Now What?

In July of 2011, CopyPress officially became its own company.

It had lived within a few other entities, but had always been a side project of sorts (Second Step Search, BlueGlass).  In the summer of 2011 it joined SteelCast and became its own legal entity.

That first month of being a business our losses were almost equal to our revenue, meaning it was costing us twice as much to build the company as we were actually making. We had almost no marketing presence, and had a total of 6 employees.

CopyPress.holiday.party2011As the year progressed in 2011 our losses declined, and our revenue increased, but the business model of a closed marketplace content company simply didn’t have the legs it once did. We had to make a fast transition.

In Spring of 2012, we made the tough decision to move all of our resources from other projects within SteelCast to CopyPress, merge the project with some outreach tools we were building in Hua Marketing, and refine our business plan and approach.

At this point in our growth, most of what we had done had been patchwork. We took two different companies, pushed all of the IP, employees, and clients into one entity, and began the work of building something new. The CopyPress we would begin to build in July of 2012 would be completely different from what we had done in the past.

CopyPress.team.October.2012Here is what we did:

1. Marketing

We had never really done much marketing for CopyPress. We had a blog, we did a conference or two, but there was no real strategy. We rolled out an aggressive blog strategy, looking to highlight our content creation capabilities.

This is a visual representation of our organic search traffic, which only recently became our largest referral source.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 5.14.40 PMWe threw a lot of pasta against the wall to see what would stick. For us ongoing blog posting was a huge win, and had major impacts on search growth. We also found a lot of success using our interactive and design capabilities to team up with big name publishers to post unique content showing off our skills.

We are now moving into a lot of video and audio marketing for the next 12 months to see what kind of traction we can gain in this realm.

2. Community

We decided to go in a completely new direction with our community of writers. First, it wouldn’t just be writers anymore, we began actively recruiting other creatives. Next we started certification processes and built out a portal that will eventually be the foundation for an open platform. This has led to a lot of growth, and with that growing pains. Not all writers or creatives love what we are doing here, but a vast majority appreciate our path, although I’m sure they wish we could get to an open marketplace and bylines even faster.

  • 3,931 members in the community have created profiles.
  • 646 of those people have taken our sharebait multiple-choice test.

3. Curation

We have created a curation offering that allows customers to drive traffic via social advertising and organic portals at a fraction of the cost they could on their own. We also built CurationReports.com to report social sharing more easily over a historical timeline. This product is by far the most cost effective social ad and curation offering I know of that isn’t a bunch of robots or spam.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 5.38.47 PM4.  Connection Seeker

We aggressively iterated on our Connection Seeker software, which is what fuels our contributorship program. We are in contact with over 5,000 publishers, and have placed almost 6,000 pieces of high quality content with publishers to date.

5. Software Set

We developed our software set that unifies all of the software we have created to date. Code-named internally as CLC, this will become the CopyPress of the future. It will allow you to be even more awesome than you are today when it comes to tackling the content lifecycle.

6. Core Values

We created a strong employee growth and retention program based around core values and metrics for accountability.

So where are we at after all of this?

  • 718% projected growth for July 2013 since July 2011, and 109% growth in revenue since last year.
  • 57 employees today.
  • 540% increase in traffic for CopyPress from June 2011to June 2013, 420% growth June 2012 to June 2013.
  • In July of 2011 we had a total of 6 paying customers, in July we will invoice 62 total customers.

Simply put we are a wild teenager of a company. We know who we are, but we are still figuring out how to best express ourselves. We have a ton of growth to go through, and unfortunately that means we have a lot of mistakes we need to make and risks we need to take.

What is on plate for the next 12 months?

1. Rounding out our management team. A wild teenager needs a lot of parenting.

2. Moving towards 100% software based revenue and an open marketplace for our creative.

3. Finding a partner in the private equity space that can help us fulfill #1 and #2.

4. Continuing to grow our community and quality.

5. Continuing to grow our staff from the ground up.

……. 6. Never forgeting where we came from.

CopyPress.team.May.2013

About the author

Dave Snyder

Dave began his career online as a well respected Internet Marketing Consultant. He has spoken around the world on the topics of search marketing and social media, and has consulted for some of the worlds largest companies on the topics. He has also been an educator and writer in past careers.

Dave’s passion shifted from a purely marketing focus as he worked with more and more entrepreneurs to build profitable companies, to the creation, construction, and management of startups. This passion was the inspiration behind SteelCast.