What does it take to go from freelance copywriting to growing a content marketing agency?

We caught up with Kathryn Strachan who did exactly that to found Copy House in Edinburgh. As usual, we asked about what she needs to succeed, from tech tools to strategy, and what her average day looks like.

Please describe your job: What do you do?

I’m the Head of Content and Managing Director at Copy House, a content marketing agency specialising in financial and fintech content. As the MD, I’m in charge of bringing Copy House’s vision to life and keeping the ship on course.

Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?

I’m the sole owner of Copy House, so I’m my own boss. I manage a small team consisting of two copywriters, an account manager and social media strategist.

Together, we create some awesome campaigns to boost brand awareness and improve search results.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

I’ve built Copy House from the ground up and originally started as a freelance copywriter. So, my main skill set lies within content creation and strategy.

However, as we’ve grown, I’ve needed to take on new challenges and expand my skill set to cover business development, account management, finances, HR and everything in-between.

Tell us about a typical working day…

I usually work quite long hours, starting somewhere around 8 am and finishing around 6/7.

I tend to spend the beginning of my day writing or creating content strategies before diving into meetings with current & potential clients.

I spend most days focused on Copy House’s growth and development, which might include speaking to potential clients, marketing our brand and expanding our network.

What do you love about your job?

I love steering Copy House’s growth and development. Winning a new client, securing a new speaking opportunity or unlocking another door always feels amazing. I see our vision so clearly and have spent many, many hours bringing it to life. So, I feel incredibly proud of how far we’ve come over the last ten months and am beyond excited for our future.

What sucks?

Working long hours can be difficult on my personal life. I have a two-year-old daughter and sometimes miss bedtimes when I’m travelling to see clients or attending events.

It’s also hard to leave stress at work and sometimes I end up bringing home my woes. Thankfully, my husband only works four days a week, so he’s a very hands-on parent and makes up for much of my slack.

What kind of goals do you have?

World domination?!

In all seriousness, I’m focused on continuing to grow Copy House by adding to our team, connecting with more awesome clients and finding new ways to support existing clients.

At Copy House, we’re on a mission to help financial service brands empower clients/customers with informative and transparent content.

Last year, Copy House grew by over 300% and I aim to achieve the same level of growth this year by expanding our revenue streams and diversifying our service offerings. We’re already on track to launch a new social media service, run SEO & content marketing workshops and take on new clients.

What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?

When it comes to our success, we’re focused on customer satisfaction. We strive to create copy that people love so are always asking for client feedback and making amends to get the content absolutely perfect.

When it comes to clients’ success, we’re always tracking site views, time on page and SERP results as these are excellent metrics for measuring engagement.

What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?

We use, in no particular order:

  • SEMRush for all-things SEO
  • Grammarly for fine-tuning and editing content
  • Google Analytics for monitoring clients’ progress
  • Qwilr to create professional proposals
  • Asana for scheduling work and managing deadlines

How did you end up running Copy House, and where might you go from here?

By accident?!

I started working as a freelance copywriter several years ago. I began to expand my client base and the demand outgrew current resources, so I hired my first Junior Copywriter, Angus Rogers.

Along the way, I met some brilliant people who helped me think about the business more strategically. As my identity shifted from freelancer to agency owner, I started to pitch for bigger projects and land more awesome clients with our speciality sectors.

Today, we work with many well-known brands like Travelex, Scottish Widows and Cigna and 50% of our clients are within the fintech and financial service field.

I’ve always loved breaking down industry jargon and making complex topics simple, a skill that lends itself particularly well to financial services and fintech.

So, long story short, it’s been a very natural progression and one that feels almost inevitable.

We’re now focused on expanding our team by recruiting three new roles and continuing our evolution into a more comprehensive content marketing agency. I’m excited to see how we continue to grow over the next year.

Which copy or content has impressed you lately?

I’m always a big fan of Transferwise’s content.

To me, they represent the very essence of fintech. Fintech brands challenge the status quo by doing things differently and empowering customers to make smarter financial decisions.

I really admire how Transferwise breaks down barriers and helps customers understand the world of FX.

What advice would you give a marketer starting out?

It’s all about relationships and building trust with people. You should be able to talk with anyone and quickly establish mutual ground.

Accessing new career opportunities or growing your business often depends on your ability to build relationships through conversations. After all, it’s not what you know but who you know.

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