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Thread is a writing studio. So what, exactly, is that?

By Lily Hudson

Your brand might want to work with one instead of hiring a full-service agency, contracting a freelance copywriter, or trying to write in-house.

I’ve been a copywriter for 8 years, and here’s a constant truth of the profession: if you tell someone at a party you’re a copywriter, they will hear “copyrighter” and think you’re some kind of copyright law attorney.

No one knows the difference between “copyright” (an intellectual property law thingy) and “copywrite” (to write copy a.k.a. words for brands). Even Missy Elliot mixed them up in Get Ur Freak On, when she rapped: “Holla, ain't no stoppin' me/Copywritten, so don’t copy me.” (Missy, it would be: “Copyrighted, so don’t copy me.”)

Anyway, I digress. And I don’t blame people for being unfamiliar with the lingo. The world of branding and advertising and marketing and content creation and blah blah blah is awash in inscrutable terminology.

For example, here's a term that causes even some of our clients to squint at us in confusion:

writing studio

Let's start here: Think of it like a design studio, except for writing. (Studios tend to focus on a specific set of services, as opposed to agencies, which offer a wider range of services.) Thread is a writing studio (or “copywriting studio,” if you like), meaning we specialize in story as it’s expressed through written content. Most people think of stories as being told with words, but creative services peeps interpret “story” to be just about anything in the world of marketing or branding: the design of website or the colors of a logo or the UX of an app.

Here at Thread, we work in all the spaces where story intersects with words. It can be any kind of written content: from a social media caption or a product description on a Product Details Page to an overarching narrative that shapes your entire brand.

Why would I need a writing studio?

If your brand needs copywriting, there are four ways to get it: from a full-service agency, a freelance writer, your own in-house marketing team or a writing studio like us. (Technically, there are five, because you could also just do all the work yourself, while crying. Not recommended.)

There are pros and cons for each option. Let’s break it down:

Working with a full-service agency:

Pros: You can get the whole enchilada: copywriting and design and video and ad buys and targeting/tracking metrics and at some point you’ll probably get a MiiR travel mug or a pair of socks with their logo on it. Score. And the big agencies often have offices across the nation or globe (for 24/7 responsiveness).

Cons: You’re paying for all that stuff — and it can be expensive. Importantly, agencies are often weighted toward visual experience, so the roles of story and copy aren’t valued as highly as they should be. Agencies are often staffed with many designers and just a copywriter or two. That has consequences for the quality of both the writing and the story strategy behind it.

And speaking of quality, your project may go to a “B” or “C” team who work on it independently while the Creative Director is time zones away, focused on more lucrative or high-profile projects. That’s… not ideal.

Working with a freelancer:

Pros: In terms of cost, this is almost always your more economical option. A single freelance copywriter will run you far less than an agency, studio or in-house option. And since you’re just working with that one writer, they’re your one point of contact, which makes briefing easier.

Cons: That freelance writer won’t come with a project manager or a creative director. The reality is, not all freelancers are great at managing their projects and deadlines. And even a fantastic writer may not be strong in the strategic thinking that should inform the writing, or in reviewing and improving the copy so it’s fully dialed by the time it lands on your desk.

The biggest con may be this: when the fate of your brand voice rests in the hands of a single freelancer, your well-oiled machine will come to a screeching halt when she quits to pursue her other passion (becoming a nutritionist for dogs).

Having your own in-house marketing team do it:

Pros: Your in-house team is gonna be all about your brand, all the time. So they’re always available for brainstorming, generating new ideas and fulfilling last-minute requests.

Cons: More often than not, internal marketing teams don’t have the budget to hire a full-time in-house copywriter. Which means all the writing gets squeezed into the workloads of people already doing other full-time jobs. That isn’t a recipe for successful brand communications or non-disgruntled (“gruntled”) employees.

Perhaps more importantly, work that comes from in-house tends to lose the valuable perspective of that third party; someone who’s not steeped in the daily minutia of your company and its internal goals and politics. Over time, the writing gradually caters to the desires of internal players, rather than the thoughts, feelings and concerns of the most important person in the equation: your shopper. (See them over there? Waving in the distance?)

What a writing studio offers

We started Thread to fill this gap between the massive agency, the lone freelancer and the overstretched in-house team. We’re not for every client or project, but we might be perfect for yours. Here are some pros and cons of Thread writing studio:

Pro: We’re story and word nerds. We’re laser-focused on what we do best, and are constantly getting better at it. We love thinking about this stuff and setting high bars.

Con: We just do storytelling through writing. We don’t do graphic design or performance marketing metrics or killer photo shoots. Just writing.*

Pro: We’re small and nimble. Just 25 full-time Threadies, plus a team of contractors. High on support, expertise and experience, low on overhead. That’s on purpose.

Con: We can’t work on Tokyo time, and you’ll probably never get a Thread-branded stress ball in a holiday swag bag.

Pro: Project managers and creative directors? We’ve got those. Thread’s account and project managers do the heavy lifting of tracking deadlines, details, accountability and feedback. Our creative director oversees the creative services team to keep your project on track.

Con: We have no on-staff dog nutritionists. So sorry.

Pro: We’re in it for the long haul. Our point of view is holistic brand identity and voice strategy, not one-off campaign messaging. Most of our clients have been with Thread for over 10 years.

Con: That holistic point of view means we can’t start producing work for your brand until we know it, inside and out. It’s an LTR, not a one night stand.

Pro: We bring the outsider perspective. Thread comes at every project from the needs of the consumer, not the brand.

Con: Some people find outsiders threatening. But we’re not like “creepy drifter rolling into town” outsiders. We're more like “a stranger's just a friend you haven't met” outsiders.

*If you do need help with more than just writing, Thread can plug in nicely with your other agency partners or in-house teams. We also have a group of trusted partners who round out most of the services we don’t provide. Here are a few of them: Factory North, Avenue, Foghorn, A Wordsmith.


To learn more about what we have to offer, check out our service detail page, or read about some of our favorite projects. And if you’d like to try working with a writing studio, reach out to us.

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By Lily Hudson
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