The ATC Update Part 2: Our Awesome New Services for 2019 – Part 1
In our last blog update, I told you about how we’d recently smashed everything down, only to build it back up again (and how!).
And that’s all great, if you like looking at the past: us lot here at ATC are a bit cross-eyed in that respect: we keep one eye on the present, with one fixed on the future.
In this post, I’ll take you through some of our uber-awesome growth plans for Qs 1 and 2 2019 (and beyond).
Watch out, world – there’s some super awesome stuff coming your way!
The ATC Overview: Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger
To borrow from the (sometimes) great Kanye West, here at ATC, Q1 and 2 19 are all about ‘bigger, better, faster, stronger’.
Ok so, maybe not faster, but better?
Yes. Bigger? Definitely.
Stronger? You gotcha.
And how! Our awesome new growth strategy involves utilizing a few different dormant areas that we’d previously never paid much attention to before.
These include –
- New target markets
- Lead generation, acquisition and nurturing
- An epic, new marketing strategy
Let’s do this.
Q1: ATC for Agencies
Many moons ago, as a lonely, young(ish) freelance content writer, I found myself with three types of client:
- Entrepreneurs, who usually needed a one-off this or that,
- Agencies, who had millions upon millions of requests, all for the same type of content, but for 100 different clients,
- Corporations, who needed a lot of the same type of thing, for a few different brands.
Of those clients, I immediately had two favorites: the agencies, and the corporations.
While the corporations’ requests needed a lot of learning and a bit of back and forth, it was working with the third-party agencies that I most enjoyed.
You see, one of my personal super-powers is that I can write high-quality content at super fast speeds. So, if I could bash out a top-notch 500-word link building article at the speed of 30 minutes per piece, with 10-minutes later to edit what I’d written, you can imagine how many I could take on in a day (actually, it’s pretty impressive: I once wrote 15 in one day. It was exhausting, but I got through it, no complaints).
Fast-forward to now, post-ATC upgrade. I started thinking about those earlier, halcyon days, and wondered where we’d gone wrong and lost those clients along the way.
And it hit me: we just don’t market ourselves as agency-friendly. Between our price points and our emphasis on quality content, there’s something that isn’t hitting the mark with agency owners, who also need to watch their margins and still ensure their clients are happy.
And that’s why I’m focusing this Q1 (and likely Q2) on building our next service: ATC for Agencies.
I’m currently in the process of interviewing as many agency owners as I can get my hands on about their needs, price points and what they expect from a collaboration with an epic content agency.
(If you’re an agency owner reading and want to give me your two cents, please feel free to do so)
Q1: Client Referral Scheme
You know the thing we love most, here at ATC? Our clients.
It stands to reason – they’re the reason we’re here, and we’re the reason they achieve their content goals.
For the longest time, I’ve been thinking of ways we can show our clients just how much we appreciate them, and although I’ve had a few ideas over the years (calling to check in with them, sending them gift baskets for the holidays etc), there’s just something else that’s worth a little bit more to them:
Cold, hard cash.
Well, not exactly – but since all of our clients also have a budget to manage and a bottom line to consider, it would make sense that they’d like receiving something extra, for no extra cost.
That’s why we’re going to be launching our ATC Referrals scheme by the end of Q1.
We’ll be emailing our clients to tell them about the cool extra free stuff they can receive when they refer friends to our business.
The way we see it is, who’s the most likely to be our biggest, raving fans? The people we work with directly and speak to pretty much every day, that’s who!
Q2: ATC for Corporations
Once I started thinking about the old days of my freelance writing career, I snowballed onto my other type of favorite client: those huge, national/international corporations.
I loved working with them as, once I’d gathered the necessary knowledge, brand terms and proved myself, in all my fast-turnaround, high-quality glory, I was the golden child.
Suddenly, anything and everything the client wanted was thrown my way and I, being the busy, ever-thinking sort I am, was running to keep up with the demand.
And LOVING it.
For Qs 2 and 3, we’ll be focusing on strengthening ties with our existing corporate clients (of which we’re lucky to have a few!) and also looking to source other contacts for corporate clients.
These clients are less concerned with budgetary constrictions, and are much more attracted by having a dedicated point of contact, someone to rely on and in whom they can trust, and – most importantly – who they know is a bonafide content expert.
Qs 1 and 2: Automation, Automation, Automation
Another feature of my freelancer days that colors pretty much every memory is the amount of time I spent on admin tasks.
We’re talking everything and anything: from marketing, to answering emails, to issuing invoices – there was just so much time eaten up by the necessary but boring daily tasks.
I’m talking –
- Lead generation: doing the research and cold emailing potential leads who might want to use my services
- Marketing: setting up and making some noise on various different platforms about the services on offer
- Generating invoices: perhaps the most important aspect of all of this – notifying clients that, indeed, it was time to pay, and then following up with them
In fact, it got to the point where I realized I needed to start hiring people just to take on the admin side, so I could focus on – my first love – writing.
Unfortunately, and even though we have team members responsible for each of the above areas, the administrative side of running ATC takes so much out of my time (answering questions, gathering documents etc), that I know there must be another way, and that this time is both wasted and precious.
Automation is something I’ve become a little bit of an expert at.
From connecting the backend of ATC with epic online tools including Zapier, Reply.io and IFTTT, I’ve managed to save countless (and I mean countless) amounts of hours, days and weeks.
But, we’re a long way away from having everything automated as much as I’d like it to be, and I know there must be a much, much quicker way to deal with several of the administrative bottlenecks we encounter daily. These are –
- Chasing up payment.
- Client communication.
- External decision makers’ signing off on work produced.
Luckily, there are some very quick, easy ways to solve at least 50% of our automation issues:
Moving all client and writer communication to Slack.
We’re currently producing a guide to give to our clients on how to work with Slack, and how to automate Slack with email, so even the least technologically savvy of our clients can benefit from improved, instant communication with us.
And that’s it for now – but stay tuned. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings us, and all of the awesome people ATC are just waiting to meet and make their content awesome.