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Startup: Shortcut Blogging Turns Spoken Word Podcasts Into Written Words

A startup that truly hails from everywhere else is turning spoken word and audio podcasts into written word blogs, case studies, course materials and other written forms of communication. They’re much more than just a transcription service they make sure that the context from the source audio is turned into understandable, useable written works with the context in tact.

Co-founders Dave Young and Paul Boomer have backgrounds in advertising, radio and as marketing consultants, so an idea like Shortcut Blogging was natural for them.

We got a chance to catch up with Dave Young to talk about this innovative startup that hails from Nebraska, Arizona and Missouri. Yes, Shortcut Blogging is truly a startup from “everywhere else”.

What is Shortcutblogging?
Shorcut Blogging is a production company that turns spoken-word interviews (podcasts) into written-word content for blog posts, case studies, course materials, web content and more. We use professional broadcasters to conduct focused interviews with CEOs and other experts who want to produce content without writing. We transcribe the interviews and then our team of proofreaders and editors re-write the transcriptions into written content in the writing “voice” of the expert. A professionally produced audio podcast is a by-product that most clients also post with their written content.
Some of our clients use us for regular blogging, some use us for batch-produced content for product launches, courses and to promote events.
We also offer the services of our interviewers for people who want to do web video and need the help of an interviewer instead of just being a “talking head.”
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Dave Young and Paul Boomer are advertising and marketing consultants associated with Roy H. Williams’ Wizard of Ads group. Both of them have prior careers in radio broadcasting.
As consultants, they mostly work with local owner-operated businesses in retail and service sectors. Services include marketing strategy, media buying, web design, copywriting and more.
More after the break


Where are you located (based out of)? 
Shortcut Blogging is a virtual company. Paul is Missouri. Dave splits his time between Nebraska and Arizona.
How did you come up with the idea?
We have been teaching a blogging class at Wizard Academy (a non-profit business school) in Austin, TX for almost 10 years. We found that many business owners start blogging with passion and fizzle after 6 months or a year. With our client base, we also found that there were business owners who simply didn’t have the time to blog. We started having them help us to develop content by a more traditional process very much like ghostwriting. The problem was that it was almost as time consuming as writing.
What is the problem that shortcutblogging solves?
The 3 problems keeping most CEOs and Business Owners from blogging are:
1. Lack of time
2. Lack of confidence in writing skills (Charles Schwab and Richard Branson are dyslexic, for example)
3. Lack of ideas for content
We solve problem #3 by offering a free idea generation tool that will pull 64 topics out of the mind of an expert in 37 minutes. (opt-in required…www.shortcutblogging.com/brainstorming)
Problem 2 is solved by using a podcast model for creating the content…our interviewer simply conducts interviews on the topics generated in the exercise.
Problem 3 is solved by batching the production in a single monthly recording session that takes about an hour. Our CEO clients spend 1-hour per month to “write” weekly blog posts of 1,000 to 1,500 words. We take the “podcasts” and transcribe them and then re-write them to read like the CEO wrote them.
We’re a boot-strapping startup, but our very first client just passed 30,000 words for the year. By the end of the year, he’ll have more than enough outlined content to produce a book. He’s thrilled…and he hasn’t spent 5 minutes writing in 2012.
CEOs want to be talked about. They don’t want to fade into the background because they won’t be in line for the next big opportunity. They are afraid of mis-stepping. By only using their own words, and not placing their fate into the hands of their marketing minions, we become their trusted ally.
What are your differentiators from other like minded services (secret sauce)
Most “out-sourced” content writers follow a ghost-writing model. By using experienced radio announcers to pull our source content out of the mouths of our clients, we save them a lot of time.
In addition, we use a very talented group of writers for our transcription editing. Our clients tell us that the written words we give back to them read just as if they had written them themselves. Because our writers don’t do any research, they only resources they can put in the content are the words that came out of the mouths of our clients. We really don’t have a problem with them getting the content wrong.
What’s your plan to build scale?
There are 11,000 radio stations in the U.S. with lots of talented and underpaid announcers. We’ve never had an announcer tell us “no” to new work.
We have 200 proofreaders and professional English-language editors at our disposal and we can produce content for any style of English…US, Canada, UK or Australian.
We’re working with some content management firms for tools to help us manage workflow.
Our goal has always been to build this so that we are not doing the heavy lifting. And when the traffic-cop function gets too big, we’ll either hire someone or outsource it.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned in the startup process?
That our clients see our process as useful in other content-production tasks such as teaching materials and case studies. We’re producing the text for 4 customer case-studies for one of our original clients as a test product and we’ve been hired by a Rabbi to produce a 15-part “Intro to Judaism” series targeted to non-jews. We’re providing him with a midwestern non-jewish announcer who will be able to ask a lot of questions that a jewish interviewer might take for granted. It’s going to be interesting.
(this is solely going on your areacode) What’s your startup scene in Colorado like?
One of the things we wish we had was access to a community of other startups. We like the idea of having some shared access to office space and other resources. Unfortunately we just are not in a position to network this way. It’s been helpful finding web spaces like Nibletz to get some ideas!
What’s next for shortcutblogging?
Well, we’ve only been operating for about 6 months. We’re learning and networking. We’re closing in on a quarter of a million words written for our clients and we’re getting better all the time!
Where can people find out more about you?
Follow us on twitter or linkedin or come to our web site at www.shortcutblogging.com.
@shortcutbloggin @daveyoung @paulboomer
Linkage:
Check out Shortcut Blogging here
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