Connection, community and conversation
When you’ve waited 3 years for something, there’s always the risk that you’re going to be disappointed. Fortunately, CopyCon 2022 far exceeded my expectations and weeks later, I’m still buzzing.
My first CopyCon experience
When I went to CopyCon 2019, I was a fresh newbie copywriter with only a couple of clients. I’d just given notice to my boss that I planned to go all in on my copywriting.
I left Melbourne that year armed with knowledge, new friends, and enthusiasm for what lay ahead. Then came the pandemic. In-person meetings and big events were put on hold, but my online network grew. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, so did my business.
Airports are happy places again.
I love airports. At least I did until COVID. Travelling over the last few years did not feel fun. But arriving at Adelaide Airport, I couldn’t stop smiling because travel finally felt like fun again. It was still school holidays in SA and you feel the holiday vibe. There were loads of people, new shops and restaurants, and very few masks. After the last few years, I was just so grateful to be traveling for work again.
The challenge of writing about CopyCon 2022
Let me be honest here. I’ve really struggled to write this blog. It has taken a couple of versions to tell you about the conference and highlight the value of in-person meetings and developing personal connections.
I thought about sharing all the things I learned and experienced at CopyCon 2022, but that would take several blogs. Instead, here are a few key takeaways that I think will have a big impact on my business and the services I offer over the coming months and years.
1. Turns out I’m an extrovert
Sure, I may get nervous meeting people for the first time, but once I start chatting, it’s hard to stop. Extroverts often have a bad name because they’re seen as the performer up on the stage. That’s not me. I can’t dance and I’m not very funny (well, not intentionally). But if we look at extroverts from a perspective of someone who needs to get their energy from others, then I am 100% an extrovert. Hugging people who have become close friends through sharing our challenges has filled my cup like nothing else could.
I expected to be exhausted after 4 huge days in Sydney and a couple of early starts. Instead, a couple of weeks later, I’m still smiling and buzzing with the energy I got from being in a room and chatting face-to-face with people.
2. Great presentations come in all shapes and sizes
One thing I really loved about CopyCon 2022 was the variety of presenters and presentations over the 2 days.
Day 1 was the smaller mastermind event with 6 speakers before lunch. In the afternoon, we sat with the presenters in small groups. The focus was on really concrete, actionable changes we could make in our business.
These sessions covered a range of topics, including:
- developing a signature service
- website architecture and making it easy for clients to navigate your website
- keyword research
- pricing psychology and showing value
- using a virtual assistant or online business manager
- scaling or growing your business on your own terms.
Despite the intensity of the learning and discussion, I still had loads of energy at the end of the day. Which was lucky, because we then continued on to an event at a local hotel. This was a great chance to catch up with attendees and speakers and to talk more about our businesses and what we’d learned.
Day 2 was the actual CopyCon Conference, with about 150 people in the room, and more joining a livestream with their own host. It was such a brilliant mix of presentations and presenters, with plenty of time to network, chat or snuggle with a baby.
Highlights for me included:
- Rashida Tayabali talking about cultural diversity.
- Learning about mini bucket lists from Mariska Threadgold and working out what you would do if you had 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years left to live.
- Kate Merryweather sharing a detailed analysis of how she’s grown her business and reminding us that ‘sacrificing sleep is not a business plan’.
- Kate Toon learning to Hula Hoop on stage.
- Jonathan Crossfield entertaining us with a super creative presentation about the importance of fact-checking. ‘Extraordinary claims need to be supported by extraordinary evidence’.
- Christine Corcoran teaching us that imposter syndrome can be your superpower.
I’m also looking forward to going back and reviewing the presentations. And if you’d like to read more about the conference, there is a great wrap-up blog post on the Clever Copywriting School website.
3. First ever Copywriting Awards
The conference wrapped up on a massive high with the presentation of the first ever Clever Copywriting School awards. These were established to recognise quiet achievers, small copywriting business owners and freelancers. The Clever Copywriting School ambassadors judged over 100 entries with 4 finalists chosen for each category.
The award winners were:
Copywriter of the Year – Caitlin Wright
Diversity and Inclusion Champion – Zoe Simmons
Content Writer of the Year – Clare Hastings
Proofreader of the Year – Tanja Gardner
Best New Business – Nicole Sergi
Editor of the Year–Mary Cameron
The Member of the Year award, chosen by Clever Copywriting School members, went to Cathy Camera.
You can read more about them here.
4. Exceptional events take a huge amount of work
The attention to detail that Kate and her team put into CopyCon is pretty amazing. Different coloured lanyards that show whether you want to be hugged, massages, delicious snacks and lunch, goodie bags and prizes, bean bags and chill out zones.
The virtual attendees had their own host, could to speak with the presenters and ask questions and take part in their own discussion forum.
5. Fancy dress is fun
One of the highlights was coming out of a toilet cubicle after changing into my fancy dress and trying to work out who was who. Many copywriters might claim to be introverts, but that seems to disappear when they dress up as their favourite literary figure and put on a wig.
Unfortunately, I realised the night before I left the Barossa that the Great Gatsby style dress I planned to wear, didn’t fit. Given how generous the Clever Copywriting Community is, it was no surprise that I had someone offer me a dress and another copywriter go op-shopping for me.
From Scarlett O’Hara to the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Snow White and Poirot, dressing up and celebrating really was the best way to end the conference. And there were some funny and unexpected pairings. My favourite may have been Arthur from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (great excuse to get dressed for bed before the party and pub visit). The copywriter dressed as nurse Annie Wilkes soon adopted him and he became Paul Sheldon from Misery.
6. Some of the best chats happen after dark
It’s no secret I love a fun night out. The last night of CopyCon 2022 was no different, with several of us continuing to chat until well after midnight. When you get the chance to finally be in the same room with people that have played such a big part of your business growth, you make the most of it. Seeing just how far I’d come (through their eyes) was definitely encouraging and uplifting.
7. Biggest challenge – what to focus on first
I’ve always taken the view that if I come away with 2 or 3 nuggets of information from a conference, I’m happy. But after CopyCon 2022, I feel like there is so much I want to do.
I didn’t want to fall into the trap of being so overwhelmed by all the things, that I do nothing. So this month, I’ll be sitting down with my online business manager to map out the first 6-months of 2023 and work out how to apply the most important lessons first. While I plan to deliver the same services, my goal is to improve how I deliver them and to improve your experience of working with me.
Sound like your kind of conference?
While CopyCon might be over for this year, Kate has announced she’ll be running another conference at the same venue at the same time in October 2023. Better yet, it’s not just for copywriters. The Misfit Entrepreneur conference is for business owners, e-commerce store owners, coaches, entrepreneurs and misfits. Billed as a business conference with a twist, the line-up already looks amazing.
So if building connections and a community while learning new skills is on your agenda for 2023, I recommend you consider adding The Misfit Entrepreneur conference to your diary.