The Past, Present and Future of Copy House
The lasting effects of the pandemic have been a rollercoaster for countless people and businesses worldwide. As a result, we’ve now moved away from traditional means of working and adapted to a ‘new normal’ when it comes to our personal and professional lives.
Copy House has also done the same by introducing numerous policies, incentives and ways to conduct business over the last year. So, as the year draws to an end, we decided to look back and reflect.
Copy House Achievements in 2021
This year has been jam-packed for Copy House. During the pandemic, Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director of Copy House, and the team were incredibly busy transforming Copy House. We’ve evolved from a generalist content marketing agency to one specialing in the niche segment of technology and FinTech.
Through extensive marketing and networking, Kathryn successfully pushed the Copy House name out into the wider world. Post-pandemic, Copy House has continued to grow. In fact, due to the team’s efforts during the pandemic, Copy House went from a predicted annual growth rate of 60% to an expected annual growth rate of 280% for 20/21.
Copy House has also achieved some incredible milestones this year, including:
- Launching a content design service to complement our written copy and increase engagement.
- Expanding to Europe by launching Copy House Europe. As well as pushing recruitment efforts, the expansion has allowed Copy House to create stronger connections with existing European clients and build new connections within the European market.
- Landing 59 new clients and three major client wins, including social media giant Meta.
- Transforming the team from a team of 4 to 30 (and counting!).
- Winning numerous awards, including:
Business Elite Awards 2022 for Leading Specialists in Technology Content Marketing
Prestige Awards 2021 for the Best Content Marketing Agency of the Year
Kathryn has also won several awards for her work with Copy House. These include:
IoD Scotland Awards 2021 for Young Director of the Year
Woman Business Award UK for Employer of the Year
- Copy House was also awarded Highly Commended by The Drum Agency Awards and shortlisted for over 13 other awards — some results are still pending.
Copy House has gone above and beyond expectations, all due to the team’s hard work, dedication, and drive. Together, they have been able to make the impossible possible.
The Future of Copy House
As we move forward and welcome 2022, Copy House will continue to strive for greatness. We sat down with some of the senior leaders at Copy House to discuss the company’s growth, where they came from, where they are and where they plan to be.
Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director and Owner of Copy House
What was your vision for Copy House at the start of 2021?
At the beginning of 2021, Copy House was in a completely different position from where we are now. In the space of a year, not only have we grown, we’ve exceeded all expectations and surpassed any predictions I had made at the start of the year.
I envisioned hiring more employees and increasing the team from 4 to 7. I wanted to bring in a marketing manager to push the Copy House name out there and hire more full-time copywriters. I also planned on an annual turnover of £217,500.
Instead, the team and business rapidly grew. We went from a team of 4 to 30 and counting. Not only did we hire a marketing manager, we also hired a marketing team, numerous copywriters, several accounts managers, a business development manager & head of strategic partnerships and a client services director.
In terms of annual turnover, we have also exceeded expectations as we have almost reached the £1mil mark and we’ve had a 586% revenue growth.
How did you achieve these goals? And what was the biggest change you experienced in 2021?
During the pandemic, we went from a generalist content marketing agency to a content marketing agency specialising in technology and FinTech. Niching down to this market helped us get through the pandemic and offer our services to technology and FinTech companies that required them.
We successfully increased our client base, and due to the high demand, we hired more copywriters and watched the business flourish.
The reason why we were able to get so far incredibly quickly is because we laid down strong foundations during the COVID-19 pandemic. To get the initial word out there, we rebranded our whole website, used SEO to push organic traffic, and networked within the tech and FinTech space to show that we were leaders in the industry and ready to tackle the work.
Everything that came after was a result of this and continuous hard work.
What were the key challenges for 2021?
There have been numerous challenges we’ve faced as a start-up agency. A big challenge during the pandemic was building a remote culture.
Before remote working, we had an office in Leith, Scotland, but the pandemic changed everything and made commuting difficult for many. As a result, it made sense to embed remote working as part of the Copy House culture and work on one specific time zone instead.
So, I introduced a ‘work from anywhere’ and any time policy. This policy allows all employees to work from anywhere in the world and spend more time with their loved ones. I’ve always been against micromanagement, so giving my team the freedom and flexibility to work around their lives has proved effective.
However, it did require some adjusting. I needed to find ways to ensure that there was still sound communication between employees and clients. Therefore, we invested in platforms such as Slack, Google Drive, and ClickUp to help manage everyone and everything.
As we continue to grow, we’ve now outgrown some of these platforms, and we’re looking to implement software that is better suited to our expansion. For example, instead of using Clickup as a project management tool, we aim to move to Synergist.
Another challenge we faced in 2021 was recruitment. It became difficult to find the right talent within the UK for Copy House. We overcame recruitment issues by expanding and launching Copy House Europe. This enabled us to expand our hiring search and find well-suited candidates all over Europe.
As we have a remote working policy, hiring candidates from different geographical regions has been made simple. We can now focus on each candidate’s skill and what they bring to Copy House instead of the convenience of their location.
What is your key focus and vision for 2022?
In 2022, I aim to acquire an agency and introduce new translation and transcreation services to complement our current services.
As the Managing Director of Copy House, I’m constantly looking at long term goals. I aim to continue striving to reach the £5mil mark and beyond. However, my senior team have a yearly focus (which you can read below). My job is to support their vision and break down any obstacles in their way so they can achieve these goals.
Although they all have a different vision in mind, I’m tasked with creating one unified company vision that the senior leaders contribute towards.
Steven Smith, Head of Operations at Copy House
What was your vision for the Copy House at the start of 2021?
At the start of 2021, we were all working from Google Sheets. As we had such a small team, Google Sheets was an easy platform to manage everyone and everything. However, as the company began rapidly expanding, we needed to find a more efficient way to monitor everything. So we moved to ClickUp.
My vision for 2021 was to ensure that everyone was communicating the processes of tasks so everything could run smoothly.
For example, copywriters were timing how long it would take them to write up different content and proofread others. Gathering this information gave me a rough time scale on how long each copywriter should take on a specific task. That way, they do not have too much or too little on their plate.
We also wanted to streamline the process of each client so everything would run smoothly.
We needed to build a seamless system that aided both the client and us. This was developed through the course of 2021.
So now, if we have a new client, every team member knows what to do and when. We can better understand the time scale of a job, see if we have enough resources to carry it out to a high quality, and if it’s within our capabilities to carry out such a job.
What was the biggest change for operations in 2021?
As we rapidly grew in 2021, we had to change how we were doing things. For example, with the increase of clients, we needed a more efficient and effective method to cater to them. Therefore, we hired new account and project managers and created a pod system.
We currently have two pod systems, and we are looking to introduce a third. By having these pod systems, we can split the clients between the two and share the workload.
Having this system in place means each copywriter knows who their point of contact is, and each account or project manager is also aware of their clients. It ensures the team are not overworked, and where we feel there may be too much work, we can act on it and hire new employees or create another pod.
What were the key challenges you faced in 2021?
A key challenge was to ensure that we did not fall short on quality despite our rapid growth. We wanted to still be able to offer the same attention on each project as we have done before. Therefore, we needed to know when to reject a project or when to hire more people and expand the team.
We needed to ensure that we had the correct amount of resources at all times. That way, if there was an unprecedented hurdle, we are able to adapt and continue moving forward.
Ensuring everything went smoothly was challenging but we managed to make it work by implementing the pod system and constantly working on ways to improve overall operations.
What is your key focus and vision for 2022?
Although we have already started this transformation, the key focus for 2022 is to bring in a new system that allows us to be more transparent and have the right people in the right places at the right time.
For example, a prime focus will be implementing a new project management system. In 2021, we noticed we had outgrown ClickUp, so we decided to move to Synergist. This is a very intricate platform, so we aim to roll it out, bit by bit, over the course of the year.
As we want every team member to be on the same page and use the software comfortably, we will slowly go through it. Once everyone has understood it, we can start to look at monitoring and tailoring it to Copy House. It will help us identify what more we can do to help the team and continue creating a seamless production line whilst rapidly growing.
This will require us looking deep into what each department needs and catering for them.
Another key focus is to ensure we obtain the right certificates, such as going through the B-Corp process and putting people, profit and the planet at the forefront of all business decisions.
We’ve always wanted to create a company culture the team can be proud of and one which supports everyone. So, we need to constantly check that the team are getting whatever they need to work, and if we notice anyone juggling too much, we know to address it as soon as possible.
Stuart Cameron, Content Lead & Strategist at Copy House
What was your vision for Copy House when you were appointed as Content Lead?
I wanted to make sure that despite our growth, the quality of work we produced remained at an all-time high. Regardless of how complex or technical a topic was, I aimed to ensure our copywriters can carry out the project at a high standard.
This includes taking into consideration the target audience, capturing the tone of voice, and creating engaging content that makes our clients proud.
Another vision for 2021 was to implement training and development sessions that help upskill our content team. I wanted to create a place where our creators can grow and learn new skills. To do this, I wanted to implement fortnightly training sessions that can help boost any weak points and really get the team thinking.
What was the biggest change you noticed in 2021?
Over the course of the year, our writers’ skills improved, and they’ve become very dependable. For example, if they are tasked with a particular project, they can produce seamless work that the client is proud of without relying on senior staff.
Also, as the year went on, the relationships between junior and senior staff became stronger. A lot more responsibility can be delegated to junior employees, and it would be of second nature to them. With this comes growth: both personal growth and growth within the business.
What was a key challenge your team faced this year?
Although we are constantly communicating with one another — both within our team and with clients, sometimes we can forget that not everyone is at the same level of understanding as others.
This often comes up when we meet a new client or when we’re given a new project. Some clients know exactly what they want, whereas other clients aren’t so sure and need to be steered in the right direction.
Having these conversations with our clients has been a big help because we get to understand them on a deeper level, and help them see the bigger picture to get us all on the same page.
What do you aim to focus on in 2022?
I want to make a concrete training and development plan. As 2021 has been a year of growth, working with clients takes priority. So, starting in 2022, I hope to implement a definite training plan that can aid all of our content writers.
I hope to do this by working with The Alliance of Independent Agencies and drafting a content calendar that ensures there are weekly training sessions, whether internal or external.
I also want to slowly introduce the importance of UX with copy. We already have our content designer and copywriters working hand in hand. So my next aim is to introduce the importance of UX and have our writers include UX principles at all stages of their work.
I plan to do this by educating both the team and clients on UX principles and how it can be embedded within all stages of content creation.
Kinga Kusak, Marketing Manager at Copy House
What was your vision for the Marketing department when you first joined Copy House?
I joined Copy House in March 2021, but prior to starting, there was a short period when Copy House had no marketing manager. Essentially, I was starting from scratch.
I had numerous goals in mind for the marketing department, and my first goal was to build a broader and stronger community around Copy House’s niche: technology and FinTech.
I did this by launching a webinar series called TechTalks, where Kathryn joins other leading experts to discuss current issues in the technology, FinTech and content marketing space. This did exceptionally well as we’ve had six episodes and over 500 registrations across them.
I also wanted to build the community by creating partnerships and networking through events programmes. To do this, I planned numerous speaking events including the monthly TechTalks, and I wanted to get Kathryn to speak at external conferences or webinars to get her expert advice out there.
As well as building the community, I also wanted to push the Copy House name out there by increasing social media following and applying for awards that can showcase the level of success Copy House has had.
This has also been a success as we’ve added 700+ followers on LinkedIn and increased our Twitter presence. We have also won four awards and have been shortlisted for 13 awards. This includes the Highly Commended status for the Drum Agency for Business Awards which is a huge accomplishment and step in the right direction.
What has been the biggest change for your department in 2021?
As Copy House expanded, so did the marketing department. We now have a Content Marketing Assistant and a Content Designer who produce and create regular content for Copy House.
This has really helped us deliver thought leadership content more regularly, develop numerous campaigns for Copy House and take time to invest in external collaborations to further push Copy House’s and Kathryn’s name out there.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in 2021?
Although we have a great conversion rate, we have minor brand awareness in comparison to other agencies. Therefore, creating a stronger SEO and PPC strategy has been a challenge. Although we are currently working on it, we still have quite a way to go.
We are also looking to focus on partnership client referrals and building that community more. The marketing team must work closer with the accounts team to strengthen these relationships.
What is your key focus and vision for 2022 and how do you aim to achieve it?
Our key focus for 2022 is to improve brand awareness through senior leadership personal branding, SEO and PPC. We have already started to build next year’s content calendar and aim to continuously monitor and improve it where it needs improving. This year was about building the foundation of everything so moving forward we need to refine our content in order to strengthen brand awareness.
We hope to expand the marketing team and bring in individuals that can accelerate our SEO and PPC efforts. We also aim to bring in an individual who can support partnerships and create stronger communications within that field.
Another focus is to launch a content design eBook that helps educate our audience on the importance of content design and establish Copy House as a thought leader in this area.
As the company grows, we would like to start focusing on building the personal brand of our senior team. Currently, Kathryn’s personal brand is blooming. However, to build stronger relationships and improve partnerships as well as brand awareness, we would like to build other team members’ brands and get them noticed as thought leaders in our niche.
Suzanne Craig, Head of People and Talent Acquisition at Copy House
What was your vision for HR when you first moved into the role in 2021?
Prior to me accepting the role, Kathryn was handling recruitment as we had such a small team. However, in the space of nine months, we went from a team of 4 to 30 and counting. With such a high increase in clients, we needed a team to support each client’s needs. Therefore, when I stepped into the role my vision was to build a team which was talented and diverse.
To work as efficiently and effectively as possible, my plan was to streamline the recruitment process to make it as simple as possible for Copy House and candidates. I implemented an ATS and HRIS system to help make recruitment straightforward. With these systems, we could respond to candidates quicker, create a talent pool, and report on any campaigns.
I also wanted to ensure each candidate not only fit into the Copy House culture, but added to it and enhanced what we already have. This way, the Copy House culture can also grow.
Furthermore, as the after-effects of the pandemic impacted unemployment rates, I wanted to get Copy House onto the Kickstart Scheme to begin helping those in unemployment gain experience. We have successfully achieved this, and in 2022 we will be recruiting more employees through this scheme.
What was the biggest challenge of 2021?
It would have to be the rapid growth of the business. Although it was phenomenal that Copy House grew in such a short space of time, keeping up with the demand had its fair share of challenges. With Copy House exceeding expectations we needed the right amount of resources otherwise the team and clients would suffer.
So, the biggest challenge in 2021 was becoming extremely flexible and hiring numerous people to add to the Copy House culture.
In the last 9 months, we transformed our whole structure. We created a pod system to help distribute the client projects and ensure there were enough resources to support our team.
We also recruited for the following roles:
– Copywriters at all levels
– Content Designers
– Content Marketing Assistant
– Marketing Manager
– PA to the MD and Office Manager
– Project Managers
– Senior Account Managers
– Content Lead
– Business Development Manager & Head of Strategic Partnerships
– Head of Operations
– Client Services Director
– Finance Manager
- And more …
What is your key focus and vision for 2022?
With the increase of clients, we hope to introduce a third pod. We also aim to recruit for the marketing and HR departments.
As the business grows, we also want to constantly develop the Copy House company culture by introducing new incentives and implementing systems that encourage a healthy work-life balance.
We’ve always supported our employee’s personal growth and firmly believe that their growth reflects the growth of Copy House and vice versa. For that reason, we are looking to invest in training to upskill our team and push them further in their careers.
To help encourage growth we also focus on internal promotions. In 2021, numerous employees were promoted in a short space of time due to their excellent development. We’ve had junior copywriters move to mid-level and senior positions. We’ve also had senior copywriters become content leads. Copy House is moving quickly and our team’s rapid growth is a brilliant example of that.
In the coming year, we hope to continue growing by making these opportunities available to all employees and ensuring the company is as transparent, inclusive and diverse as possible.
We also aim to continue our B-Corp journey and put the planet, people and profit at the forefront of all business decisions.
Focusing on the Future with Copy House
Since Copy House first launched in 2019, the business has grown by over 900%. Our team has come together to develop sound goals for the future and create a forward-thinking and robust company.
As a content marketing agency specialising in technology and FinTech, we are always ready for new challenges. If you’re looking for a way to break through the noise and get your brand seen, check out our case studies and insights or book a 30-minute consultation here.