How You Can Join the Writing Revolution - Common Sense Living Newsletter
 
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How You Can Join the Writing Revolution

Entrepreneurship
May 28, 2016

How You Can Join the Writing Revolution 

In my days as a freelance writer and content developer, I got clients mostly by referral...and some from networking platforms like Linkedin. With a background in lifestyle writing and editing, jobs came easily and pay was commensurate with experience.

But I know that with the glut of writers online, getting your foot in the door and carving a niche for yourself is extremely difficult, especially if you're just starting out.

Four IIT Gandhinagar undergrads (yes, they haven't graduated yet and have already floated a venture) will soon provide a solution. White Panda, founded by Roshan Agarwal, Aditya Ganesh, Ashim Raj Konwar, and Bhaskar Saikia, is a content marketplace that connects clients to writers and writers to clients.

(What is it about the IITs that makes their students so entrepreneurial? Many IIT alumni run successful startups, some even unicorns - e.g. Sachin Bansal of Flipkart.)

In an interview with the co-founders of White Panda, a theme emerged: Entrepreneurship - and writing in particular - has no age barrier... You could be as young or as old as you want, but the world of entrepreneurship and writing will always be open to you.

Read on...

What brought you four together for the venture?

The idea for White Panda was envisioned by Roshan Agarwal, the founder, as he was interning at another startup. He realised the massive need for content in the nation today, and the shabby state of the world of content marketing - writers were denied payment despite completing the job on time and clients received sub-standard, poorly written, and un-edited content.

White Panda is on a mission to clean the world of online content - both content writing and content marketing - in India. We plan to do this by introducing products that Indian businesses have never included in their toolbox before...

The hunger for content is growing, and we're here to sate that appetite.

What does White Panda do exactly?

White Panda is a content development platform, connecting clients in need of content to freelance writers looking for work. Our aim is to simplify the process of content creation for businesses...by removing the need to screen writers, negotiate payment details and constantly monitor the writers.

White Panda's platform ensures that the most relevant writer is assigned a task after undergoing a selection process. The writers in turn get access to a huge job feed and guaranteed payment with the freedom to work from anywhere.

What quality checks does the content go through?

Every piece of content going through White Panda undergoes a rigorous quality assessment. Each blog post or article is first checked for plagiarism and then goes through a sentiment analysis and readability score assessment. It is then proofread and edited by our in-house editorial team to ensure the client receives content worthy of the premium they pay.

Every writer goes through a two-step assessment - the first step tests the writer's basic English proficiency while the second one tests their quality as a writer through samples and a subjective test. Only once the quality of writing is checked is the writer assigned a pay-grade. Assisting them are editors, who mop up any mistakes the writer may make, ensuring the end-product the client receives is flawless.

What are the main services White Panda provides?

Any business or individual looking to build or maintain an online presence will need high-quality content. We provide such entities various forms of content, like blog posts, articles, web-site content, press releases, and social media posts. We're also planning to offer editing and re-writing services in the near future.

What differentiates us from other content firms is our emphasis on providing writers with an amazing White Panda experience. Good performance and regular work is encouraged with a credit system, which rewards excellent writers with perks, pay-grade improvement, and White Panda merchandise.

We aim to build a community of freelance writers at White Panda, where they can not only get work and showcase their talent, but also pick up new resources and interact with fellow writers.

How lucrative is the writing/blogging profession today?

Content is everywhere today - from passionate bloggers publishing as a hobby, to industries maintaining top-notch blogs with tens of thousands of daily readers... The healthy culture of blogging in India just validates our idea for the need of quality content. Individuals who maintain blogs form our premium writer base, and are partners for our guest posting and ghost writing activities.

Content writing, as a profession, is gaining popularity and here's why:

  • It's never too early to start: It's a great way to earn while studying and an excellent option for college and school students looking to earn a little pocket money.
  • It's never too late to start: On the other end of the spectrum, stay-at-home mothers or people looking for a change of career can easily shift to content writing, with an aptitude for writing and language proficiency being the only pre-requisites.
  • Opportunities to freelance or pursue a part-time job are immense: content writing can be done from anywhere and at any time.

What skills do you look for in writers?

More than content writers, we're looking for skilled storytellers; people who can spin a yarn, keep their readers hooked to their content. Above all, the writers and editors we associate with must have an impeccable grasp of the English language.

We at White Panda are also committed to helping people become content writers and editors by providing resources, organising events and overall, cleaning up the world of content in India.

How successful has the website been so far?

We already have around 500 writers signed up on the platform, and have catered to clients from every industry; software, real estate, virtual reality, and so on. The feedback we have received from our clients and mentors has been the primary driving force for our team.

We plan to add new services that can add value to both clients and writers. We will add clients and writers steadily, and also aim to acquire long-term clients who order content in bulk.

How is content marketing useful to businesses?

With clients becoming smarter by the day, there is a need to educate clients, not throw products at their faces...and that's what content marketing does.

Content marketing is slowly gaining value, with interruptive marketing and conventional advertisement not as effective as before.

Your views on the startup scene in the country...

The Indian government and current economy are highly startup friendly. But startups lately are losing the plot, spending exorbitant amounts on marketing their products, providing unreasonable discounts and unrealistic salaries to an unnecessarily huge workforce.

Yes, it is a highly nurturing ecosystem...but startups need to get more realistic, buckle their belts, and spend wisely.

What makes the IITs so conducive to innovation and startups?

A lot of the credit goes to the students who get accepted into IITs. It's no secret they belong to the cream of the nation and are the best minds out there. The institutes, on their side, are quite liberal and supportive when it comes to students pursuing startups as a career.

Speaking from experience, IIT Gandhinagar is a shining example of this. The Institute has provided space and equipment to set up offices without us dealing with any red tape or formal procedure. Students are encouraged to take up internships, both at startups incubated on the campus and elsewhere. This helps us gain real-world experience and understand the responsibility of running a company.

Your three tips to budding entrepreneurs...

  1. It's never too early to start up. We are a group of four undergraduates who, despite hectic semesters, have worked together to build White Panda.
  2. Plan before executing. A solid plan for expansion and sustenance will help mitigate any hiccups that might come.
  3. Trust your team. Build a solid team that is talented and trustworthy. It helps you become amazingly efficient.

 
 

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9 Responses to "How You Can Join the Writing Revolution"

Gopalakrishnan Naduvathery

13 Jun, 2016

The writing revolution is here because the world is a platform.  Being in possession of a critical mind I can't resist my temptation to express that most of the content writing platforms, helplines, and service providers are working with a strong objective of money-making. After all the goody goody talks they ask you to deposit some money, and your days are numbered since from the moment you made the payment. You are right, the world needs rich contents, and for a well connected person, sky is the limit, with opportunities galore.   I am a passionate writer since childhood. To get one article published in Caravan magazine in the 70s I had to do corrections and physically despatch 150 times.  Because of my engagement in career could not effectively pursue the writing profession, though personally kept the passion alive.  Now I'm retired, professionally trained in content writing, writes blogs on WordPress, speakingtree, Facebook, etc. and need a good break.  Being an old timer need some handlolding mainly in the areas of technology.  Waiting for your hand...

Like (1)

tejinder singh

03 Jun, 2016

All such type of  start-ups I think  are modern day ARTHIYAS  like in subzi-mandi.

Vijay Alexander

02 Jun, 2016

Nice piece, thanks !   And White Panda is a great idea, and a neat website... hope to sign up one day. BUT if you can, tell those guys (their Talk to Us link isn't working), they need to get their show-piece blogs on the site edited a bit -for language, style and content -they are not a good testimonial !  (they could for instance ask the writers at Common Sense Living to help a bit) 

Like (2)

Manoj R Golikeri

31 May, 2016

The article gives a wonderful insight into the world of freelance writing & content development and I shall definitely make the most of it on the way forward. Regards Manoj

Vishal

29 May, 2016

Hello,  I'm a Budding Novelist, Freelance Writer, Blogger based out of Bangalore. I would like to know if you have opportunities for content writing. I'm currently working on two full length Novels - Humor and Fiction. Apart from Writing, I have also worked as a Talent Acquisition Specialist at a Consulting Firm at Bangalore. However, I'm looking for a full time career into Writing. Kindly update me with further details.  Warm Regards,  Vishal KM

Shrinivas Moghe

29 May, 2016

The article is very nicely written, and should serve the purpose well. Writting skill can be acquired through training, but can not be necessarily made to appeal though. Making a reader go with the script writter calls for something more than just a good knowledge of the language. However experience can greatly assist in overcoming the lack of that 'something'. But yes, good knowledge of language helps you express well.

DS BANATI

29 May, 2016

Great , informative and interesting write up about 'content writing' and 'white Panda"My good wishes to the team of White Panda"I am interested in content writing and would like to register my name for an assignment as deemed fit,Thanks.DS BANATI.

Like (1)

Er C M sinha

29 May, 2016

Very commendable effort.This will bring  out  the suppresed desire and unexposed emotion of many by facilitating a plateform to become a freelance or content writer, specially for  a  new senior citizen like me who is suddenly finding  no  positive work to do. All my best wishes.

Like (1)

Krishnaswami Bhat

29 May, 2016

A startup for content-writing is a great idea, whose time has come. Having worked in Mumbai for over four decades and retired now, I think I can look forward to a nice business relationship with an entity like White Panda, if I decide to jot down my experiences in a way which is useful to the readers.

Like (2)
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