Gordana Sretenovic is a co-founder of Workello, a pre-hire assessment platform designed to help companies hire the top 1% of writers. Previously, she worked as the Head of Content at ContentDistribution, where she led a team of 45 writers and editors. She is dedicated to developing content operations systems, helping her customers grow their organic traffic, and publishing high-quality content at scale.
I was a content writer for seven years and worked on many, many projects before joining ContentDistribution as an editor in 2019. My then-boss and now-cofounder Nick and I got a few clients and started hiring freelance writers to produce content for them.
As an editor that quickly became a content manager, I got overwhelmed with the hiring process. Everything was manual, and I had to go back and forth between apps, job boards, Facebook groups, subreddits, LinkedIn, and more! Just hiring took over 30 hours each week because I wanted to make sure I could assess my candidates’ skills, interview them, and then onboard them properly. This means I had little time to edit and manage content.
I built Workello V1 with various apps and automations so I could free up some time. I was a Director of Operations at that time, and our agency had grown to 45 writers and editors. So again, I had little time to do my actual job because I was also responsible for sourcing, testing, and interviewing new team members.
Then in 2021, my wonderful co-founders, Bojan Maric and Nick Jordan, suggested that we build an app to solve this issue, and we did! We rented an apartment in Barcelona and spent a month building Workello and making a proper version 1.
Workello solves one of the biggest problems businesses have with hiring writers — it gives them back their time and allows them to quickly source, evaluate, and hire the top 1% of writers and start producing content quickly. But on the other hand, it also gives the writers a pleasant experience with applying for jobs because every piece of candidate communication is automated. If they get rejected, they get a very polite email. If they are invited for an assessment or interview, they get another email with links to Workello, where they can write their test articles and book interviews easily.
Everyone should be creating content. Every single company can and will benefit from a comprehensive blog, social media presence, or even YouTube videos if they publish consistently.
Startups, in particular, should focus their marketing efforts on content that ranks, so they can have a consistent stream of qualified leads and future customers that are informed about their products and services. There’s no better way to sell your product than to clearly show that you know what you’re talking about and that you are an authority in your space.
Throughout the years, but primarily since launching Workello, I have worked with many startups that didn’t publish content at all. Since we started working together, they ramped up their content production and grew their organic traffic immensely. One recent example is a B2B SaaS startup in the HR space that published about 200 pages of content and grew its traffic from 0 to 50k in just under eight months. About 90% of their signups and conversions come from organic, which is an incredible feat considering that they had only a few visitors not too long ago.
Creating content should be a core competency for 95% of startups. Even though it sounds complicated, the entire process is quite simple.
The most crucial step is to figure out what you want to publish in the first place. This process boils down to a few components:
While that’s all spinning up, I would recommend that companies spend some time crafting their processes for content production. This includes writing documentation, creating guidelines for writers and editors, and starting the hiring process.
When it comes to hiring people that will be in the midst of the content creation adventure, writers will probably be at the top of the list. Every word is a liability and an opportunity to miscommunicate something to the audience and, in some cases, even create a scandal (cough cough Elon Musk Twitter cough cough).
Hiring a writer willing and able to jump in and start creating content more valuable than anything else Google can show is certainly not easy, but it’s also not rocket science. Here’s my entire process:
Of course, frequent candidate communication and providing updates are a must because we want to be respectful of everyone’s time and not leave anyone hanging. So, a bit of work, but it definitely pays off in the long run, as hiring someone great is the first pre-requisite to amazing content!
Every company is different, so I don’t think a unified strategy can work for them all. Some will benefit more from written content, and some from videos.
However, there is one thing that will bring good results, no matter the type of content they publish, and that is content velocity. Content velocity is a term that entered the mainstream around 2021, but we have lived it ever since 2019. It basically means — publish as much content as you can.
Of course, we shouldn’t think that quantity beats quality. But, in this case, both are essential if content velocity is to work. Publishing regularly and publishing high-quality, helpful content to the audience is what I believe any company can rely on for fantastic results, no matter their niche.
Whenever we start a new project, our first step is to research the target market and audience and figure out what resonates with them. In some cases, it’s as easy as figuring out if the primary audience is Gen Z or Boomers.
In most cases, however, the research will boil down to pain points. Which problem are we helping our audience solve, and how do we solve it as frictionless as possible? Who is my reader, and what do they need to know next?
For example, if a person is searching for a solution for their dog’s upset stomach, apart from the medicine, maybe better quality food will help. And if my client is a dog food brand focusing on high-quality ingredients, I know exactly what my reader needs to know. So I would probably list various reasons for the dog’s upset stomach, potential causes, as well as solutions that the reader can apply immediately and ones they can work on long-term.
Absolutely. The startup world is harsh and unforgiving for white American men, so you can imagine what it’s like for a woman from a developing country. You have to work thrice as hard to be considered one-third as good as a man from the US, especially in the wealthier parts of the country.
When I started putting myself out there, I got a lot of misogynistic comments, rude remarks, and backhanded compliments. People didn’t want to talk to me — they wanted to speak with my co-founders. They didn’t consider my advice valuable — they wanted my co-founder’s advice. They considered me less intelligent because I am not from an English-speaking country and considered me an intern instead of someone running the entire operation.
It was incredibly discouraging, and I thought about quitting a million times. But, I found a fantastic community of women and girls in their entrepreneurial journey and saw that many of them struggle with the same issues. I found solace in the fact that I was not alone and decided that I had to do my part to change the environment. Instead of changing myself, I want to change the world, and I’m incredibly grateful to live in a time when feminism is taken seriously (more than before, at least) and women are actively fighting for their place in this world.
Don’t be afraid to do it. It took me way too long to take my own advice as well.
You know how valuable your knowledge is. You know your worth. You know that you can do whatever you set your mind to. You know that you know more and that your expertise is more valuable than most mediocre business owners.
We need more women entrepreneurs. We need more women from developed countries to start their businesses. Imagine how easy our experience in this world would be if most of the things we consume were designed by a woman. Imagine how much more pleasant our jobs would be.
Please, if you take away anything, take this — you know what you’re talking about, so say it loudly!