Adfero DirectNews

For those of you who wonder what I've been doing for the past five years, I was a DirectNews Correspondent, Lead Correspondent, Desk Head, News Feed Editor and/or Article Marketing team member at Adfero DirectNews.

I worked at Adfero from September 2006 until June 2011 and it gave me an excellent insight into agency-side online news production. It's easy to forget that unique web content has to be written from scratch to work properly - it may look like a service, but it's really a manufacturing industry.

As a freelancer I'm still a part of that same industry, although it's a much less structured role. At Adfero - which you may also know as DirectNews, ContentPlus or NewsReach - there was the necessary structure that it takes to keep a large-scale and professional full-service news agency running smoothly.

DirectNews was the largest part of my Adfero career - and everything else I did was really just a variation on the same service, but under a different name. Bespoke news content, written to Adfero's own style guide or a custom one set out by the client, delivered via XML directly on to the client's web site.

There's plenty of discussion out there about the Adfero service, but I want to steer clear of hearsay and opinion, and instead just cover the basics.

For those of you interested in my personal experience - I estimate I wrote roughly 25,000 news articles of 150-200 words each over my almost-five years at Adfero. For a time I was on performance-related pay, so my output was higher than the typical employee.

At one point, in a managerial role, I held personal responsibility for the delivery of probably around 50 clients' monthly quotas of news. With quite a few new team members who had not been fully trained, I had to pick up a fair bit of slack - if I remember correctly, I single-handedly produced 101 news articles in the space of a 31-hour shift, during which time I slept twice, for an hour each time, with my laptop switched on and resting on my chest as I slept.

For those of you interested in Adfero's various services, I would say consider whether it's right for you, and if so, go for it. The best success I had was with clients who were either totally hands-off and trusted us to do our job, or those who were hands-on in terms of tweaking what they asked for, but still remained realistic.

You're never going to get headline news 60 times a month if you're in an incredibly obscure niche market, but equally you don't need it. The brilliance of the Adfero service is that it's scalable to whatever market you are in - mainstream sectors face more competition but have more news to choose from, while niche markets might be less legitimate news, but are also vying with fewer competitors for the front page of Google results.

And that's all I really want to say about Adfero - it's a chapter that's come to an end in my life, but it taught me lots of things. Like how to manage 750 different Google Reader press release subscriptions. And where to find up-to-date news for all sorts of different sectors.

I don't want to directly compete with my former employer, but if the Adfero service isn't right for you - if your order is too small for a sizeable agency, or you need a more personal service, or you can't work with a long-term contract - get in touch. I'd be happy to help you if they can't.

More about Adfero's brands:

Examples of my work can be found at: (Google search for my articles)

Rightmove Overseas (overseas property features)

Naturally most of what I wrote was without a byline, due to the agency setting - these are just a couple of examples.