John Ashton spent his time writing for national newspapers and authoring books before coming up with an idea for a company in 2012 that put his talents to exceptionally good use.
Write Arm is a flexible writing resource for marketers. They provide companies with writers when they need them to create any type of written content – from exquisitely crafted straplines to blogs, scripts and books.
In 2020 he set up The KitchenTable Community, which is a peer-to-peer support community and marketplace for the owners and would-be owners of small creative agencies.
We spoke to John Ashton to find out more about the company, and to get his top tips on brilliant copywriting.
Hi John, thanks for chatting with Colour Me Social! What inspired you to start Write Arm?
I started the company in 2012 – I was thinking at the time, what’s my next career move? I thought about becoming a freelance writer again and I realised I wanted to build something bigger and flexible and more of the moment.
I hadn’t worked in the marketing world before then, so I knew nothing of it. I just took the plunge, with no idea whether it would float or not, but it did – much to my amazement and delight!
We started with just a small handful of writers; more and more have found us along the way, and we go out and find writers too – we’ve got scores of them now!
How do you work with businesses?
We do everything with the written word – broadly it breaks down into two types: on the one hand you’ve got content marketing such as articles, whitepapers, case studies, e-books; the other side is creative copywriting, things like static web copy, brochures and email sequences – anything that has a more overt marketing function than content marketing.
What type of businesses do you work with?
Anything from a small SME to multinational giants – we’ll work with any sizes of business, but we prefer to work with those with a marketing department. We work in numerous sectors; the ones that have been particularly strong for us have been tech, financial services and HR/recruitment.
What’s the motivation for businesses to come to you?
It’s very often the case that they just don’t have the resources internally. We work on an ad hoc basis, we don’t tend to charge retainers, which works for us because the clients don’t need us all the time. They often have people in-house who do some of the writing, but then they just get swamped.
What would you say are the main challenges you see your clients facing when it comes to content and copywriting?
The chief challenge is finding the right person to do the work. There are millions of freelancers out there but actually sourcing them and managing them is the real challenge. We’ve got where we are today by answering that need, by solving that problem.
How has your business changed in the Covid-era?
Well, we’ve always been remote. That’s the beauty of Write Arm. The staff work remotely, as do I, and all the writers work remotely. So we were geared up for it.
At the start COVID, everything went quiet for a week, but then it got very, very busy, and we’ve never been busier. I think it’s largely a legacy of working in tech – so many tech niches are buoyant at the moment, and we’re a beneficiary of that.
What’s your top tip for brilliant copywriting?
Great copywriting has to spell out the benefits of a product or service. Or if it’s not a product or service, then drive the message in a way that appeals to the heart, the head, and do so in as few words as possible.
Finally, what advice would you offer to small business owners to help them tell their story?
Invest in copy – it can make all the difference.