Shout Outs & Reflections for RedShift Writers' 10 Year Anniversary
You’ve probably heard it before: most businesses fail within the first five years. But in 2022, RedShift Writers officially crossed the rubicon where so many other businesses have faltered. On December 10th of last year, our content strategy and writing agency officially turned ten years old.
How were we able to survive when others haven’t? Reasons for success (or failure) vary by industry, and some things are outside of our control. Some folks have a great idea and plenty of demand, but lack the capital to realize their goals. Other companies struggle because of unforeseen circumstances or misfortune such as weather events or the pandemic.
For companies that do manage to succeed, you’ll notice one nearly universal quality: a clear, defined, unique presence in the market. A brand position is hardly a magic bullet (this is business, so nothing is), yet the more specific you are in what you do, the more you stand out, and the better positioned you will be to last for years to come.
A Strong Position in a Rapidly Changing Market
At RedShift Writers, we focus solely on content strategy and content writing to help companies secure a leading position in their market. That’s it. Whereas many firms offer a dozen service offerings, we focus specifically on a service that companies need and want, and consistently research and deliver the best ways of strategizing and producing market-winning content.
That position has allowed us to survive tremendous tumult and mass disruption of our industry. When we first got started, smartphones were just becoming ubiquitous. Social media was in its Wild West phase: Facebook was less than ten years old, and Twitter was still in kindergarten. Google AdWords was on its way up, but for our first seven years, print advertising was still a bigger line item than digital ad spending. Slowly, the blogosphere started to scoop traditional news sources and chew up the revenues of traditional mainstream media companies.
As for search engine optimization, practically nothing is the same. From the day we started to the present, SEO has evolved from stuffing keywords into paragraphs into a far more complex strategy of meeting user needs, building community, establishing relationships with partner sites, and producing the most helpful content possible.
These changing conditions led to a world where target consumers in every market became inundated with more noise than ever before. The 24-hour news cycle filled up every second of the day, and smartphones crammed with apps began to vibrate nonstop in our pockets, creating a world where only the most impactful messaging stands out while the rest fades away, doomed to the dustbin of your browser’s search history.
At the time of our launch, companies saw the need for high quality content, but their options were limited. Some hired in-house staff writers and content strategists, but bringing on employees can be expensive, and a lot of people weren’t sure what to look for in a content strategist. Freelancers were easier to hire and less risky than taking on employees, but freelancers could be hit or miss. When companies hire a freelancer who can’t get the job done, they end up right back where they started with less time, less money, and the same old problem.
Another option was full service marketing firms. These firms could often get the job done, but they tended to be more expensive, and stretched across a wide variety of clients and service offerings. Some clients of full service firms find themselves waiting for their requests to move through a week-long queue, which isn’t tenable for the standard marketing cycle. Full service firms were expensive, too, often paying overhead for an office, account reps, and a wide variety of tools to bring their service offerings to life—and then passing those costs on to their clients.
For years before I started our writing agency, I was an employed content strategist by day, and a freelancer for a full service firm by night, so I had a chance to see the strengths and weaknesses of all of these options, which birthed a novel idea: a firm with a reliable method of producing content, a stable of writers who could match the capacity of a growing business, and more competitive pricing than a full service firm.
That vision became RedShift Writers.
Early Wins & Recent Accomplishments
Because we had more than one writer at any time, we could ensure that every piece of content we produced was viewed by two sets of eyes, strengthening our quality assurance beyond that of a lone freelance writer. And because we only focused on content, we could develop a stronger content strategy, honing in on a unique selling proposition that truly separated our clients from their competitors and drove measurable ROI.
Early wins included building out a PR and marketing function for a test prep company, which led to thousands of dollars in earned media and customer referrals. We provided support to some of the same full service marketing firms that served hundreds of different clients, successfully filling in gaps to produce robust strategy, content campaigns, and website content that ranked at the top of Google.
We also saw the power of content to support businesses beyond just their external campaigns. Our writing helped land companies on the Inc. 500 and NASDAQ Milestone Makers, and make lists such as the 40 Under 40. Our clients have also leveraged stronger written communications to hone in on their position and create more alignment between their product, sales, marketing, and leadership teams. Particularly in the SaaS space, our customers have been able to grow from startups into thought leaders, thanks in part to our support. The numbers stand on their own: the web traffic of our largest client in 2022 eclipsed the web traffic of its next four competitors combined.
The Next Ten Years
In 2023, we are proud to say that we have a growing team with deep content knowledge and an unending curiosity to innovate what we do. We have expanded our content offerings while fortifying our position as a leader in our market, adding content workshops, positioning briefs, and content roadmaps that bolster the efforts of entrepreneurs, CEOs, CMOs, web developers, and other key business visionaries.
Our research and development efforts consistently scan for the latest competitive advantage, whether it means updating our processes, adjusting existing templates, or exploring trending, experimental tools such as Jasper, Copy.AI, and Chat GPT. At every turn, RedShift Writers follows our own advice to our clients: to position, innovate, and stay first in the mind of our market.
We have the utmost appreciation for all of the people who have helped us and supported us along the way: our clients, mentors, vendors, and of course, our dedicated team of writers.
Cheers to all of them, to you, the reader, and to many more years of producing high-quality content so that companies can achieve their mission.
Daniel J. Cohen
Reflections from a Few of Our Writers
I’ve been lucky to be a part of RedShift Writers since 2020. Over my time with the team, I’ve written content for Hospitality Health ER, John Moore, Tekmetric, and Ampersand, as well as helped out on internal RedShift Writers projects. I’ve drafted SEO blogs, optimizing keywords to drive website traffic, creating website content, and producing timely campaign projects. No matter the project, the companies’ story is always at the forefront. I love learning and capturing their stories through the content we write, getting to know their audiences, and producing content that helps businesses reach their short and long term goals.
I can’t wait to continue to grow with RedShift Writers’ skilled leadership team and my talented co-writers.
Happy 10th birthday to RedShift Writers! Here’s to more learning and growing in the next 10.Morgan Acree
One of the biggest things I’ve learned at RedShift is that there’s a balance between creativity and consistency, and when you strike the right balance between the two, that’s where writing magic happens. I appreciate how RedShift has created a supportive environment that helps writers grow as professionals and take care of themselves after they put down the pen (well, more like stop typing on the keyboard). Thank you for everything, and I’m excited to kick off 2023 with everyone.Tina Nazerian
I am proudest—aside from coming on board to this wonderful staff—to have played a role in the rigorous revamps of client websites, where I learned how to generate matchless content tied to a more focused position. My time with the company has taught me more than I thought I could ever know about copywriting, deepened my appreciation for grammar and the optics of building a sentence, and enriched my writing experiences inside and outside of work. One major milestone I remember fondly was completing training and feeling legitimately confident that I could grow and succeed here. I am looking forward to reaching the one-year mark and beyond! Happy writing to all my writers!Matt Casas
I remember meeting Daniel about 8 years ago in the backyard space of Poison Girl, a bar here in Houston. Having just finished a class on Milton’s polemical tracts during my second-to-last semester of college, my mind was hyper-fixated on the subject of rhetoric that night. I’m not sure if it was fate or pure chance that the only available seats were the ones next to Daniel’s party, but when I sat next to him and he asked what I studied, it immediately opened the floodgates to a conversation about language and persuasion that has continued between us to this day—and that I imagine will stretch far into the future.
When I look back at all the clients we’ve worked with, the number of pages we’ve drafted, the strategies we’ve come up with, and the challenges that we’ve been able to overcome, I feel invigorated. I have to thank Daniel for being an excellent mentor during my first year. But more so, I’m thankful for what our relationship has become, one in which we share a creative tension (dare I say, synergy) that has led to the company we are today.
What makes RedShift Writers truly special is our team. Tina, Morgan, and Matt have each blown me away with their keen ability to think critically about the words on a page while also having a good time. This sense of play and wonder permeates everything we do at RedShift, and I believe that it makes its mark on the content that we write for our clients. We help position companies with great strategy and content, but more subliminally, we’ve become a company that can create worlds and stories that people want to be a part of.Alex Oriani