John Clayton:

Business Writing

On this site:


Montana's Enduring Frontier

Cowboy Girl






Red Lodge

Small Town Bound

Other Books

About John

John Clayton helps businesses develop thought leadership materials. He writes and ghostwrites e-boooks, articles, case studies, white papers, reports, blogs, video scripts, press releases, website text, and other types of documents. John works from telephone interviews, decks, videos, transcripts, and other previous documentation to target a specific audience with a newly-created, vividly-voiced work that they will actually enjoy reading. (If you're wondering if you should invest in thought leadership, look here. If you're wondering why you should do it with a ghostwriter, look here.)

John's work has appeared in dozens of leading business journals, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Economist Group, TechCrunch, Executive Agenda, the Ivey Business Journal, Defense News, American Banker, and IndustryWeek. It's been featured on websites such as and It has appeared before boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies, members of Congress, and many other key decision-makers in the private and public sectors. It has supported the marketing strategies of companies large and small (and a few individuals!), as they establish their expertise in a given area.

John's clients have included numerous leading consultancies and IT companies, including A.T. Kearney, Latisys, Fiserv, Talant, the Metia Group, IBM, and EDS. John's work includes: 


* How to Take Advantage of the Cloud: Your Guide to Achieving Value and Performance (the book is no longer available, but a press release about it is here).

* Disaster Recovery for Everybody (registration required). Isn't it time for small and medium-sized enterprises to have a hassle-free way to avoid catastrophe?

* The A.T. Kearney Story: Our Journey to Becoming the Most Admired. A privately published company history, hailed by the Harvard Business Press as "a well-researched history."


Magazine articles:

* In TechCrunch, an article, Beware the pitfalls of Silicon Valley.

* In Supply Chain Management Review, an article about the freight forwarding industry, How to Succeed in One of the Most Profitable Industries in the World.

* In TechCrunch, an article on a curious marketing strategy: How Bitcoin Has Been Building Brand Equity As A Spectator Of Itself.

* In PropertyCasualty360, an article predicting big changes in the insurance industry coming from the Internet of Things.

* In BAI Banking Strategies, how banks can succeed by focusing on the most pivotal customer events.

* In Chain Drug Review, an article examining how big data will transform the role of the community pharmacy.

* In Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Management Blog, is Big Data Not Living Up To Its Promise? Then change the way you work.

* In The Economist Lean Back 2.0, how to build a business case for data analytics.

Jump down to more magazine articles...


White papers:

* "Australia: Taking Bigger Steps" surveys the Australian economy and argues that, with China slowing and a wave of new disruptive technologies about to hit its shores, without a compelling strategy to improve its long-term competitiveness, Australia is at risk of decline.

* Wondering what exactly the "Internet of things" is, and how it will affect you? "Beyond the Hype: Making Hay in the Internet of Things World"

* Everyone talks about changing a corporate culture. But how do you actually crack the culture code?

* How are retailers using new advances in digital marketing? And what are the implications for manufacturers of packaged goods?

* Engaging Multichannel Consumers: what Chief Information Officers need to do to help their companies connect with customers

* Winning the Battle for Consumer Healthcare: an examination of the new market for consumer-focused products with significant health benefits

* The Customer Engagement Imperative for health insurance companies to succeed in the new economy

* Improving Foodservice Trade Spending: Six steps food manufacturers should take to transform the way they pay partners

* When the trend is not your friend: How can businesses forecast discontinuities?

Jump down to more white papers...


Blog posts:

* For International Women's Day, at, How Mentors Can Help Break Trails, and on LinkedIn, The Changing Meaning of Diversity.

* On LinkedIn Pulse, Four ways that non-tech companies can harness the power of Silicon Valley.

* On LinkedIn Pulse, Why Apple should raise prices for its iPhone 6S, and then, when Apple didn't raise prices, How competitors should react.

* In Medical Design Technology, How to Succeed in the Emerging Digital Healthcare Market

* On LinkedIn Pulse, The New Economics of Celebrity, a piece that pivots from Kim Kardashian to Ulysses S. Grant in examining the changing relationships between celebrities and the media companies that make them rich.

* How Prepared Is Your Bank For Digital Disruption?

* Three specific solutions companies should consider moving to the cloud.

Jump down to more blog posts...


Case Studies:

Case studies on virtualization:

* McHenry Savings Bank (pdf)

* U.S. Department of Energy (pdf)

Case studies on enterprise resource planning software:

* Volvo IT (doc download)

* The Virginia Housing Development Authority (doc download)

* Computer Sciences Corporation (doc download)

Jump down to more case studies...


Video scripts:

* Coming disruptive forces in the medical device industry


Research studies:

John has written the published version of research studies including:

* Want to Be More Competitive? Get Better at Transformation: a study of European companies' competitiveness.

* Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations: How retailers can achieve peak performance.

* How do great companies innovate? They start with the fundamentals.

* Global Cities Index: A ranking of metropolitan areas around the world.

* The buying habits of European consumers.


Press releases:

* Study shows that European companies' views of their competitiveness are directly affected by their approaches to internal transformation.

* Study Sees Major Reorganization of IT Departments to Meet Growing Requirements by 2020.


Articles and papers with overarching metaphors:

* In Human Resource Executive Online, an article that uses the book and movie "Moneyball" to shed light on the way that human resource professionals should make more sophisticated use of data

* An article that compares Formula 1 racing to corporate strategy

* We wanted to call this, "Lessons from the Kasbah": How companies can access age-old wisdom to set profit-maximizing prices on the Web

* An article that took strategic wisdom from radical environmentalist Edward Abbey


Website text:

* Capabilities of a global management consultancy.

* A series of executive bios, as well as miscellaneous other text, for a global legal consultancy.

* A service description for an IT provider.


Other documents that don't fit into a category:

* Testimony at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

* A solution developer wanted to advance his career using certifications in Microsoft .NET technology (.doc download)

* A series of documents for the marketing department of an international technology provider for the manufacturing industry. The documents included "message maps" (outlining key messages across various products and industry segments), PowerPoint presentations (complete with thorough Speaker Notes so that they could be given by salespeople unfamiliar with the products), and a sales handbook. John also worked on a similar package for the communications industry.


More articles:

* In BAI Banking Strategies, how smart banks embed operational risk management in their culture.

* In Supply Business, a look at what future procurement leaders will need to succeed.

* In Information Week, Do Organizations of the Future Really Need a Chief Digital Officer?

* In Bank Systems and Technology, a diagnostic checklist to understand the causes of failure in digital projects.

* In Power Engineering, an article examining the implications of the shale gas ("fracking") boom on electric utilities including predictions for the long-term price of natural gas under different scenarios.

* In Baseline, an article suggesting that the current "IT reshoring" trend is really more about IT rebalancing.

* In Chain Drug Review, an article examining how outcomes-driven medical models will change pharmacies.

* In Banking Strategies, an article showing how banks can cut costs.

* In the Ivey Business Journal, an article arguing that future success in the pharmaceutical industry will depend not on innovation and marketing (as in the past), but on the ability to orchestrate partnerships and execute efficiently.

* In Medical Design Technology, an article arguing that the new unique device identification (UDI) system will transform the medical device industry the same way barcodes transformed consumer industries.

* In American Banker, an article showing how banks can get better at evaluating the risks associated with their third-party service providers.

* In Defense News, an article investigating how defense agencies and contractors can cut governance costs through "Change Contract Oversight"

* In Executive Agenda, Real Companies, Real Growth: Strategic insights from dozens of the most successful companies not named Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, or General Electric

* In Executive Agenda, an article With Fortunes to be Made or Lost, Will Natural Gas Find Its Footing?

* In Chain Store Age, an article explaining how retailers can collect and gain advantage from meaningful consumer insights

* In Chain Store Age, an article examining the impact of social media on retail customer service

* In IndustryWeek Magazine, an article instructing CEOs that it's Time to Tell your CPOs to Collaborate with Suppliers

* In Supply Chain Management Review, a column, "Key Supplier Collaboration: New Way to Drive Value"

* In Insurance & Technology, advice to health insurance companies on why and how to make customer engagement a top priority

* In ICIS Chemical Business, an article explaining how chemical companies can improve their supply chain risk management capabilities

* In Executive Agenda, an article dicussing how to turn strategic vision into action

* In IndustryWeek, what companies should be learning from the quality crisis at Toyota


More white papers:

* How magazines can break their dependence on advertising by building relationships with readers

* What does it take to transform a company? What is its capacity for change?

* Save the Planet, Feed the Planet a way for food companies to meet sustainability goals while helping others in the community

* How the marketing department can take on a more strategic role

* The needs of low-income consumers


More case studies:

* Mohawk Paper goes green and cuts costs

* MD Anderson Cancer Center improves communications (.doc download)

Case studies on messaging and collaboration systems:

* Cell C (pdf download)

* Subaru Canada (pdf download)

* Thompson Coburn (pdf download)

Case studies on companies that help schools use technology more effectively:

* EduWave Live from ITG (doc download)

* StudyWiz from Etech Group (doc download)

Links are no longer available to case studies on technology use in a theater chain, a multi-channel retailer, a state transportation agency, an interactive design firm, a global semiconductor maker, a chemical R&D firm, a British software consultancy, and an aerospace manufacturer. Most of the case studies covered corporate server software. Many addressed project management. Others covered communications, such as the university that wanted to encourage online conferencing among faculty, staff, adjuncts, and students at its far-flung campuses. Examples include:

* A Brazilian technology services provider helped developers and managers collaborate more easily

* A retirement fund management agency improved project prioritization

* A large Jesuit university improved resource management

* A global software firm planned and tracked software engineering activities


More blog posts:

* Why other industries may gun for banks

* Banks Need to Look at Customer-centric Digital Innovation

* Banking on the Death of Cash

* From Appliances to Apps: What Does Digital Mean for Banks' Products and Services?

* What to expect in coming merger activity in the oil and gas industry.


A long time ago...

For an international software firm developing a management information system for the insurance industry, John conceived, designed, and wrote a suite of user assistance products including:

* Context-sensitive online help developed using RoboHelp

* A printed user guide

* Training materials (John also conducted some training sessions)

* Newsletter articles explaining software updates

For a regional quality improvement organization in the health care industry, John developed a suite of user assistance products for a software package, including:

* Interim disaster recovery plan

* User manuals

* Internal procedures to manage a helpdesk

In other projects:

* For an international technology firm, John wrote a report to grocery executives on coming technological changes in the industry.

* For a U.S. software firm developing a library information system, John developed software user manuals, as well as marketing materials and a corporate newsletter.

* For an international technology firm, John provided personalized on-site training on copy-editing techniques. 

* For a Montana youth organization, John developed a community vision statement as well as a fundraising brochure and strategic plan.


John was a charter member of the Montana chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, a charter member of the Writer's Bridge freelance cooperative, a ten-year member of the WriterL listserv, and a member of the original Mug Club at Sam's Tap Room.

John works primarily as an independent contractor, although he's happy to speak to agencies, headhunters, or anyone else. For more information, email John at info [at]

--- Revised: 5/2016


Copyright 2000-2016 John Clayton


info [at]