From Details to Strategy: The Road to a Bigger Copywriting Agency


Growth. Recognition. Scale. These form consistent objectives for most businesses—and achieving them isn’t easy.

Our visionary founder Jean Tang knows a bit about that. In particular, copywriters like us can be attached to our work and our clients, and to each creative word or instinct. But control like that hampers growth. This month, Jean was invited to discuss just that on business lawyer Nina Kaufman’s Business Breakthrough podcast, which features scaling entrepreneurs like Jean.

The Journey to Zero

For MarketSmiths’ first two years, Jean wrote 90% of our deliverables: more glorified freelancer and less copywriting agency. But as we scaled up, so did our business model, and the need for a dedicated workforce became apparent. Jean began to collect writers who believed in and could deliver her mission—copywriting for humans. Project by project, MarketSmiths grew into a thriving team of writers, both full-time and freelance, and prepped, primed, and powerful.

Jean once had a mentor whose driving force and mantra is to “be a zero” in his business: to remove himself completely from the daily grind. While Jean admits she’s far from zero, she prides herself on how much closer she’s gotten over the past few years. She attributes that to a few key elements: systematic quality control, rich employee investment, and effective delegation.

The Creativity Metric

In an effort to maintain quality control, MarketSmiths has done something pretty novel in the world of copywriting: we have created a metric system that centers around 35 executable points.

These points go far beyond accounting for typos and grammatical errors. They build in strategic elements (is this copy repetitive? Does it align with the client’s brand? Does it pack velocity and momentum?) that result in actionable, urgent, and lead generating copy. It allows us to sell and deliver a service that’s subjective in terms of quality. And it also allows Jean to relax in the assurance of excellence.

From Copywriter to Strategist

You can’t place your work in someone else’s hands without ensuring they have the tools to execute. That’s why Jean invests her time in seasoning her staff copywriters well beyond their years. In dedicated training sessions, Jean shares bites of wisdom and a growing list of techniques. This frees up her time to act as the company’s lead strategist—keeping a big-picture stake in all company projects while delegating the details.

With dedicated and mission-driven writers on-board, Jean has more time to take on crucial business roles like sales, account management, and development. And with gratitude, she can steal an hour to practice yoga or take a weekend away with her boyfriend.

One thing Jean’s learned from entrepreneurship? Stepping back could be the key to helping your business thrive.

Alison Weissbrot

Alison Weissbrot

Alison is an editor and blogger of all trades. She began her career by writing restaurant reviews and recipes as well as opinion pieces on college student life. After months exploring her wanderlust as a digital editorial and production intern at an award-winning travel journalism site, her creative mind and precise editing skills led her to become a master of short, snappy copy. She’s all about tone, and her honest and witty writing style can infuse personality into the dullest of topics.

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