Yesterday I attended CopyCon, Australia’s leading (and only) conference for copywriters. And oh, what a joyful place it was to be. I only knew a handful of peeps but I felt so welcome.
On arrival, we were invited to add stickers to our lanyard name tags, naturally I chose Extrovert, among other things. What a show off.
Here’s my key takeaways, in no particular order.
It helps to have an unusual name
“Hi, I’m Kate,” I’d say. A polite greeting would follow. But, when I changed to “Hi, I’m Kate Merryweather,” I got a more familiar ‘oh, yes, I know you’ greeting. Because most of the attendees at CopyCon are also members of The Clever Copywriting Community’s Facebook group, many people know me from my bespectacled avatar and my name, my funny old name.
Wear bright colours
Years ago I attended ProBlogger and my fellow attendee, Danielle from The Baroness of Melbourne told me to wear bright colours at conferences to stand out. And yes, it worked. It gave people an opening to comment on my bright red dress. It was perhaps a little fancy to wear to a conference but I felt great wearing it. I also wore my ‘I love SEO’ and ‘Official Copybeast’ badges which helped people start conversations with me. What I did not do was take a photo of myself that showed my red dress at all.
Meeting my copybuddy Leanne Shelton
As part of the Clever Copywriting School, everyone has a copywriting buddy. I hit the jackpot! Leanne Shelton of Write Time Marketing has chutzpah and she’s giving it a red-hot crack. I truly admire everything she’s done to grow her business so quickly. She’s courageous, clever and of course, a terrific writer. Since we were paired as copybuddies we’ve regularly touched base to support each other. Because Leanne is in Sydney and I’m in Melbourne we had never met, until CopyCon. It was tops to see her in person.
Improving my subcontracting process from Sarah Spence
Because I’m a nerd, I made it my businesses to head to a table right at the front of the stage and muscle my way in to a seat. On that table was a bunch of lovely individuals including Sarah Spence, a Sydney based copywriter. We got chatting about subcontracting and she gave me terrific tips to improve my process. I don’t subcontract that often, but as my business grows I realise I need to embrace this element to continue producing quality work. Thanks for your advice Sarah.
Adding video to my website
The fab.u.lous MC Jenny DeLacy, gave us a grilling about adding video to our website. Noted Jenny, will add it to my (quite long) to-do list for 2019.
Doing what I tell clients to do – showing up on social media
There’s a rather nasty phrase ‘eat your own dog food’ which is gross, but it means that you should follow the advice you give your clients. I’m *rather* guilty of this. But I will henceforth and forever more do better on social media and live happily ever after.
Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome
Robert Gerrish gave a killer opening speech about imposter syndrome. Yes, it’s true, everyone struggles with it. He cleverly found audience members who embody typical types of imposter syndrome problems:
- the perfectionist
- the expert
- the natural genius
- the soloist
- the superwoman (or man)
There were tears! And no one cries alone when I’m around, I felt a few droplets welling up as one brave person got vulnerable on stage. Bless. What an opening!
There are many bad taglines
Ryan Wallman shared his views on taglines and had the room in stitches with real-life examples of bad taglines. His formula for producing quality taglines is gold. Plus, he shared the following hilarious piece from the brilliant David Mitchell. It’s well worth the three minutes of your time.
Get more backlinks for better SEO
SEO guru Aaron Agius brought the fancy technology to the day as he presented the latest research on SEO. Using funky technology he gave the entire group a quiz. By tapping on our devices we could answer SEO questions. The takeaway? SEO is all about backlinks, so it’s important to build those valuable juicy links. How do you build those links? By producing quality content of course. You should probably get a copywriter for that.
Embrace heart-centered marketing
I knew I was gonna love Suzanne Chadwick the moment she bounced on the stage with a feathered mardis-gras-style headdress. What a ball of energy. She explained that brands need to break through to get attention with heart centered marketing. This means, saying things that connect on an emotional level, making a difference and showing the real people behind the business.
Improve my briefing process
Both Bernadette Schwerdt and Amanda VanElderen inspired me to review my briefing process. I reckon my approach is pretty good but now I realise it needs further tweaking to get more gold from clients. I’m not sharing what they said – that’s secret copywriter business.
Invest in being a ‘proper’ business
Sophia Arthur was brilliant. She shared her process from dabbling in copywriting to becoming a proper business. For her, this meant investing in her workspace, increasing her prices, investing in her learning and taking this whole copywriter thing bloody seriously. This also means attracting the right kind of clients, those who value her and see the process as a collaboration. Music to my ears. Thanks Sophia. I got to meet her later and she was a gem.
People are cool
Now, because CopyCon was on May fourth, the after-party theme was Star Wars. I froth hard for a dress up, so I made time to hustle to the costume store to get a sacklike Princess Leia ensemble. But Angela Denly took the best-dressed crown, with her Jabbah The Hut costume alongside the aforementioned Sarah Spence also as Princess Leia. Gold.
Thank you for CopyCon Kate Toon
Joining the community has helped me upscale my business in many ways and thanks to CopyCon, I’m feeling truly inspired to continue this exciting copywriting journey. Thank you Kate Toon for your awesome, buttkicking awesomeness.
Ps. Anna Rogan gave me the best hug ever. She’s wonderful.