For Wordy, to build a large, returning customer base is key to keeping all 130+ UK and US English copy-editors on the platform busy. And though it might sound self-evident, the irregular needs of most customers to use professional copy-editing simply demands a well-sized customer base. So, launching an online copy-editing service that works (and works really well) is one thing. Another is distributing Wordy through as many outlets as possible, making professional copy-editing one-click-easy to obtain. Here are some thoughts on distributing Wordy.
Technical integration is pretty much where the story begins. Technical integration is a great way to integrate Wordy into all publishing platforms and workflows by providing third party developers with a simple-to-use API. The challenge here is to cater for a lot of different scenarios while at the same time keeping the code as easy to use and understandable as possible. Here, there is a need to cater both for individual customers who run a subscription account on Wordy, and for platforms that integrate Wordy as part of their service, along with a need to manage a set number of words with each subscriber on that platform.
White-labelling Wordy is a nice way of saying: integrating the platform without customers actually knowing who’s doing the job (in this case, Wordy’s great copy-editors). This is not my dream solution, since it doesn’t assist any brand-building for Wordy, and simply implements an anonymous service on a third-party platform that end-customers can’t relate to. Actually, it’s not the hiding away of Wordy’s brand that concerns me the most, but I would really like to expose who’s doing the job, since (at least in my view) it’s fairer to give customers one point of reference to who’s providing the editing service, and where to go for support. On the other hand, this model works very well in the production industry where customers really don’t care about who’s assembling their shoes, electronic devices or pots and pans. In this case we put our faith in the supplier to provide us with the support we need if our shoes or devices turn out bad.
Integrating Wordy as brand is the optimum solution. It means that customers are exposed to the Wordy brand when using the service through a third party developer or platform. It makes for a lower entry barrier if the customer decides to check out Wordy.com, and it ultimately gives Wordy the credibility and trust relationship we are looking to build with all our customers – whether they are using our copy-editing service directly or indirectly. When using a highly professional, very well planned service such as Wordy, I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to know who’s delivering that service and where it comes from. And again, using the Wordy brand in any ordering process, and observing that the service actually works as promised, that the pricing is just right, and that jobs are returned in perfect shape and on time, is a great brand-builder – even if the customer is only exposed to the Wordy brand through a 20×20 pixel logo in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Making reseller and agent deals means having a local or regional presence through an existing reseller or even affiliate network. With Wordy being a bootstrapping company, we cannot possibly be everywhere at any time, and so having local agents and resellers doing the selling and approaching the customers for us is like adding a new branch to Wordy in a lesser sense of the word than actually having to hire people. As in all other cases, revenue sharing of Wordy’s net profits without taking anything from editors’ earnings is the way to go. This in turns means that agents and resellers have to be able to deliver a pretty nice volume of jobs before the deal is interesting to anyone. Acquiring professional copy-editors is not an easy task, and holding on to the best of the best is, in my view, done by offering translucent terms and really nice compensation.
Never lose sight of the product – when everything is said and done about distributing Wordy, we are a professional copy-editing service with a pretty simple promise to everyone: Wordy is the fastest, most reliable way of adding professional copy-editing to your writing process and publishing with confidence. This is our core-product and, whatever we do to distribute Wordy into as many publishing workflows as possible, we should never lose sight of this. In fact, the more workflows Wordy is present in, the more we should focus on optimising our internal workflows to make it as easy and rewarding to take on editing jobs on the platform as possible. This will ensure the quality of our service by facilitating editors to focus on what they do best.
Constantly improving the copy-editing service is really a continuation of not losing sight of the product, so anything we can do to improve the Wordy platform should be done; and done as quickly, smoothly and transparently as possible. There are so many ways to offer our great service that maintaining a well-managed backlog of all ideas for improvements of Wordy.com, our API and our ordering structure is of vital importance to keeping us as far ahead of the game as possible. So please look out for a relevant implementation of Wordy on a publishing platform near you in the near future.