Welcome to Presto Media! Before you start claiming assignments, this guide will explain how to use the Presto Media platform. Presto’s management team started off as content writers just like you, so they wanted to put together a content creation system that is both easy to learn and easy to use.
We like to say that the Presto platform is like Wordpress without the fat. This means that if you know how to use Wordpress (or similar blogging tools), you already know how to use Presto. If you’re unfamiliar with blogging tools like Wordpress, the learning curve is so smooth that you’ll become a pro in no time.
Within the Presto platform, a writer can easily claim and keep track of assignments and due dates. Additionally, we offer absolute transparency regarding what you can expect to be paid per assignment and each pay period. Lastly, the platform provides writers with editorial feedback on every assignment to help you actually improve as a writer in general, as well as an overall score based on a 5-star rating system that allows you to unlock higher-paying assignments as you progress.
The Home Screen
Once you log in with the credentials provided by Presto’s management team, you’ll be brought to your home screen.
On the left-hand side, you’ll see: My Work Desk, Assignments, Past Work, Earnings, and Scorecard. When you log in, My Work Desk is shown automatically. Let’s define each section individually.
My Work Desk
This section shows you the active assignments that you are currently working on. Each entry shows what kind of assignment it is, how long it should be, the suggested title/topic, the due date and how much you get paid for writing it. The “status” field on the far left shows you where the article is in development.
- Revisions Requested (this means either the editor or publisher needs you to make changes on an article you’ve submitted)
- Active (this means you haven’t completed/submitted the article yet)
- Submitted (this means you’ve sent it to the editor, but it hasn’t been approved yet)
- In Review (this means the editor/publisher is looking at it)
- Writer Auto Unassigned (this means that you claimed the article, but didn’t submit it before the due date 24 hours from when you claimed it -- more details on what this means in the next section)
This section is where you can claim new assignments to work on. Every active Presto writer has access to this screen, and any unclaimed article shows up here. Check back often, as assignments are added frequently throughout the day.
Here, you will see the length of the assignment, the title (topic), a few details on how to complete the assignment, when it is due and how much it pays. If an article looks good to you, you can claim it by clicking the blue + button.
When you click the button, this screen will appear:
This is your “are you sure” page. Click “Claim Article” to add it to your Work Desk, or “X” if you changed your mind. If you claim the article, you can click on “My Work Desk” in order to find and begin working on the article.
Presto writers may claim one article at a time. If your article quality is high and consistency is good, the editor may choose to allow you to claim more than one article at a time, up to 3.
DO NOT claim an article if you don’t think you can complete it within 24 hours*.
We get that things come up sometimes -- WiFi, weather, personal emergencies, etc. -- so if you claimed an article and don’t think you can finish it in time, please let the editorial team know so that you can both work something out.
“Camping” on an article for more than 24 hours will result in an auto-unassign, reflects poorly on the writer, and could result in termination.
*NOTE: If you’re still working on the article and about to pass the deadline, the assignment won’t auto-unassign. It will stay in your browser as long as you continue to work on it. If you stop working on it for an hour, it will then auto-unassign, you will lose all your work, and you won’t be able to claim the assignment again.
This field shows you all of the articles that have been approved by the publisher. This means that the editor and publisher have both agreed the article is good, and you will no longer be asked to make any changes to it.
The screen also shows whether or not you have been paid for a specific article you wrote, the star rating given by the editor and publisher, and feedback given by the editor.
At Presto, we want to help you become a better writer, so we encourage editors to leave constructive feedback even for 5-star articles. Make sure to check your notifications often!
Additionally, if you ever receive a low rating on an article, the feedback section will explain why.
This section is simple. How much are you getting paid? The Earnings tab is Presto’s way of being as transparent as possible with the payment process. Here, you can look at all of the assignments you’ve written and how much you should be paid each pay period.
It also provides an opportunity for you to keep us in check -- if anything is missing from a pay period, this is where you would check. If that happens, let us know so we can make it right! Click “View” under “Details” to get a closer look at each pay period:
This is a quick snapshot of where you’re at as a writer for Presto Media. You star rating is determined by a combination of editor and publisher scores per article. This screen shows you your overall rating, your highest rating and your lowest rating to date.
Please see the end of this guide for more information about the scoring system.
Writing An Assignment
Each assignment will have different requirements and a different format. The good news is that the Presto platform was designed to take care of format for you, which means the only thing you have to worry about is writing good content and finding good photos.
Let’s look at a General News/Breaking News assignment first.
When you click on an Active assignment, you will be brought to this screen. The first things you should note are the Title, Client Notes, Content Requirements and Client Style Guide.
- Title: A suggestion for the topic - it is your responsibility to propose a new title.
- Client Notes: These will contain specific directions from the client. It will also sometimes contain links to sources for the assignment.
- Content Requirements: This governs tone, words to avoid, and image directions
- Style Guide: This opens to a separate page that gives specific content needs per-client that MUST be followed.
The Client Style Guide should be the first thing you check when you open a new assignment. When you click it, a screen like this will pop up.
Make sure you review the style guide closely. As you work with clients over time, you will become more familiar with their individual requirements.
If this field is empty, the client did not provide a style guide, so you are free to write the content at your discretion (so long as you follow whatever Content Requirements and Client Notes they left for you).
As a rule, always follow this pecking order:
- Presto’s House Style Guide for all assignments
- Client Style Guide (defer to this if it contradicts anything in the House Style Guide)
- Client Notes (defer to this if it contradicts House Style Guide and Client Style Guide)
Be sure to add a featured image and any other images the client requires before submitting. To add an image, click the “Insert Image” button from the toolbar:
You will be brought to this pop-up screen. Here, click “upload.”
So long as you have followed the client’s Content Requirements regarding image size, you can drag the photos you have found into the uploader.
The image will process, and then bring you to a screen where you can enter the source name and link. Click “Insert” when finished.
You will also need to set a featured image. The field for setting a featured image is below the Client Style Guide. Follow the same steps for uploading an image.
The Word Count checker is located at the bottom left of every article field.
Please note that you will not be able to submit an article draft unless you meet or exceed the required word count located in “Assignment Details.”
It’s okay if you go over the word count. Try to not overshoot the word count by a mile, but at the same time, don’t think you have to go back through your article and spend a lot of time trimming the content to the exact word limit.
The Difference With Listicles
There are a few key differences between General News and Listicle assignments.
The first is that the Assignment Details section will differ.
It will show how many items expected in the listicle, how many words the intro and outro will be (if applicable) and how many words per item the publisher wants.
The draft field will also be split up into Intro (if applicable), each entry and then Outro (if applicable).
Like we said earlier -- we wanted to take the format issue out of the equation to save you time on writing these kinds of articles.
Each listicle will require a title for each item and then a paragraph explaining the item. The word count for each item will be located in the bottom left of the field.
Each listicle item also requires a photo.
Click “Choose Image” under each Listicle Item to add a photo to that entry. Follow the same photo upload process explained above. You’ll know you were successful when you see a thumbnail of your photo next to “Choose Image.”
Note that the platform will not allow you to submit a listicle that doesn’t have photos for each item uploaded to the specifications requested by the client.
Once you are finished writing and are happy with your article, you may click the red “Send for Review” button.
If the editor and publish approve of the article, you’ll never see it again. If they send it back asking for adjustments, it will appear again in your Work Desk with notes on what needs to be fixed. Make the necessary changes and then “Send for Review” again.
The Presto Media platform comes with a plagiarism checker that looks for similarities between written content and content found all over the internet.
It’s always possible that a clever line from a source will stick in your head and innocently find its way into your article. However, Presto Media practices a strict zero tolerance policy for plagiarism, meaning that as a writer, you must make every effort possible to prevent it from happening. Writer termination based on instances of plagiarism is solely at the discretion of the editorial team.
Be careful when you write. We want to keep you around!
We also encourage all writers to download the grammarly browser app. This plugin acts like a “spell checker,” and catches most errors. Downloading and using Grammarly will increase the quality of your articles, decrease editing time, and thus increase your overall star rating and ability to claim more lucrative assignments.
How editors evaluate each assignment (or, why each article gets the rating it does) --
Presto Media’s editorial team works closely with writers to help them earn higher scores on each article and increase their overall writer rating. Basically, our goal is to help you become a better writer so that you can both meet our quality standards consistently, and move on to higher-paying assignments, increased article claiming ability, and even a guaranteed quota.
Quick overview of the rating system:
- 5 (Amazing) = Can claim higher paying assignments, more assignments at a time.
- 4 (Great) = Can claim some higher paying assignments, 3 assignments at a time.
- 3 (Okay) = Can claim general news and listicle assignments only, and only 1 at a time.
- 2 (Poor) = Must work with editorial team to improve writing before claiming assignments.
- 1 (Terrible) = An overall 1-star rating will result in termination.
The good news is, one bad rating is not going to make your overall rating plummet, and our editorial team works with writers one-on-one to help them improve to the level of a 4 or 5 star writer if they look like they’re stuck at the 3-star level or below.
The rating system is why it’s important to take editorial feedback seriously and to improve as a writer. If you ignore editorial feedback in the “Past Work” section, it’s likely you won’t be able to address your weaknesses and will not move up to a higher rating. Additionally, lower-rated writers frequently have to make changes to articles submitted and re-write sections that the editor or publisher rejects.
This is why at Presto, our goal is to get all of our writers to write well so they only have to write once.
While 3 and 4-star writers are able to claim general news and listicle assignments (which pay $20 - $50 on average), 4-star writers can also claim advertorial assignments (which pay $60 - $80 on average) and 5-star writers can also claim news release assignments (which pay $100 on average).
Just imagine writing 2-3 news releases per day and then being done with work!
While 3-star writers may be able to complete 9+ articles in a day, some fall into a trap of rushing through each article so that they can do more assignments and increase their pay. The problem is, the quality of writing suffers, and editors and/or publishers send their articles back asking for revisions, which writers are not compensated for.
All of this means that writing each and every article well ultimately decreases the time you spend revising and editing and increasing your ability to claim higher paying assignments.
As former writers ourselves, we wanted to create a content marketplace that allows writers to move up quickly based on quality, and to be paid amazing rates for good work. Because we have similar experience to yours, we know that freelance writing assignments can often be unclear and ambiguous, and that there’s usually no one to turn to for help on a particular assignment or to improve as a writer overall. We’re invested in high-quality work that hits deadlines, but we’re also invested in you and your skill as a writer in general.
If you have any questions about how to use the Presto platform or specific questions about an assignment, please reach out to the editorial team on Slack.