“Nerissa! You look just like your profile picture!”
It was a phrase I was to hear time and again over the weekend. However, looking just like my Facebook photo proved to be the best ice-breaker when meeting many of the 150 or so copywriters who descended upon Sydney over the weekend (3-5 May 2018) to attend CopyCon2018, The Clever Copywriting School’s conference for copywriters.
After a tumultuous flight from Melbourne, one of the roughest I’ve experienced in years, I was feeling a little on edge, when my plane finally touched down in Sydney. At one point, I thought we were going to land in the sea! By the time I arrived at my hotel, via a cab ride which was on par with the plane journey as far as smooth and gentle travel goes, I was feeling a little ragged around the edges.
And I wondered, how I would cope with a room-full of people I had only met online, through my Clever Copywriting School Facebook group. After all, I’m an introvert at heart, and large crowds and lots of noise tend to leave me drained.
It turns out that I needn’t have worried at all. To my delight, every single person I met (and I met LOTS of people) was lovely, generous, kind, clever and a little bit funny. About a dozen or so commented that I looked just like me — which provided the perfect way into conversation for this introverted little writer.
But other than discovering that my fellow copywriters are awesome people in their own right, what else did I learn? Glad you asked. Here are my top take-away tips, and some action points that you can implement straight away — even if you didn’t attend the conference.
1. There’s a lot I’m doing right … and you probably are too!
When attending a conference, it’s very easy to slip into ‘comparisonitis’ mode and focus on all the good things that others are doing, that you’re not. It’s impossible to do ‘all the things’ (see point 3 below), so comparing your copywriting business with someone else’s is only going to leave you feeling deflated. So rather than fall into that trap, I listened to all the advice people gave, and asked myself if what they said applied to my business goals, and if so, was I already doing it. As it turns out, I’m doing a lot of things right, and I bet you are too.
Action: Watch the CopyCon2018 videos and make a list of the things you’re getting right in your business instead of comparing yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised.
2. There are things in my business I can improve…thanks presenters for pointing them out!
None of us get everything right all the time. In fact, there are lots of ways we can improve our businesses. Some involve tweaking what we’re currently doing and some may involve setting up new processes. While it’s encouraging to know what you’re getting right, growing your business involves constant improvement. So, I’ll be looking at streamlining my processes a bit more, refining how I manage my business accounts, and will be taking action to build my profile in order to attract the clients I want.
Action: Write a list of things you want to implement in your business and do them one at a time. Tackling them all at once is too overwhelming. Set a deadline for ticking off the first thing on the list, and then move on to the next.
3. I don’t have to do ‘all the things’…Phew!
Doing everything all the time is exhausting. But that’s what we try to do when we compare our business with someone else’s. We begin to wonder if we should offer content marketing strategies, or add media and PR to our list of services. But if we’re trying to do everything, we’ll be stretched, stressed and burnt out quicker than Kate Toon can eat a packet of frazzles. I’m really glad I don’t have to do ‘all the things’, because as it turns out, I don’t want to.
Action: Stop looking at what others are doing and run your copywriting business your way. Accept that you don’t have to offer everything and be everything to everyone.
4. Everyone has bad clients…sometimes
One of the most useful sessions was the one about dealing with difficult clients. I’m fortunate that most of my clients are lovely. However, I have had a few who weren’t so lovely. Clients who didn’t pay. Clients who were rude. Clients who….well, you get what I mean. The feedback in the room, showed that most of us have to deal with difficult clients every now and then. The secret in avoiding it lies in recognising when there is potential for a bad client relationship and having strict Terms and Conditions by which you work.
Action: Don’t take bad clients personally. We all get them. And if you don’t have Terms and Conditions, then write some… fast!
5. Embracing disruptive technology can be your competitive edge
We’ve all heard the saying ‘robots will take our jobs’. But this is unlikely for a savvy copywriter. Artificial intelligence (AI) can actually enhance our productivity and help us work more efficiently. The trick is, we need to embrace it, learn how to use it and look for opportunities like an eagle, rather than burying our head in the sand like an ostrich.
Action: Seek out the technology that will help you work better and quicker. Learn to use them and add them to your toolbox.
6. No one has all the answers…and we can ALL learn something
Regardless of how long we’ve been working as a copywriter, none of us have all the answers. We are all evolving and growing our businesses, and we can all learn from other people. CopyCon is a conference that provides information and inspiration for copywriters of all levels and experience – not just the newbies.
Action: Be open to learning new things, regardless of how long you’ve been at this writing gig.
7. Copywriters are real people
This might sound twee, but it’s true. We might be super-talented when it comes to writing words and messages, but we keep it pretty real. Many of us have families. We like to go out for dinner and drinks (some like it more than others!) We have a good sense of humour. We’re friendly and supportive of one another’s businesses, but we DON’T talk shop all the time. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the copywriters from The Clever Copywriting School are my kind of tribe, and I had a ball hanging out with them.
Action: Come to CopyCon 2019 and see for yourself!
Tips if you’re thinking of attending CopyCon 2019
If you haven’t been to CopyCon, but you’re wondering if it’s for you, here are my thoughts:
Go! It’s in Melbourne next year, which is the fashion, food and coffee capital of Australia. At the very least, you’ll enjoy a great latte and you may go home with a new pair of shoes!
Ensure your FB profile picture resembles your real-life face. It will make it easier for others to recognise you and it’s a great ice-breaker. If you want to see what I look like, click here.
Go with an open mind and a willingness to learn new things.
Make the most of the networking opportunities.
Don’t assume the copywriter you meet is the same as their business persona. Yes, we’re professional, but we’re humans too and we all have our little quirks.
Make a beeline for the toilets and coffee cart in the breaks, or you’ll be standing in line for a while. Only you will know which is more urgent. Either way though, this will provide you with an opportunity to network with others in the queue.
Take notes, but don’t stress about taking all the notes because you’ll be able to watch it again as you’ll get access to all the videos!
Go to the dinner and drinks. You’ll have fun and you might just find another copywriting kindred spirit.
Bring a jacket. And maybe an umbrella. Melbourne’s weather is known to be unpredictable and cold.
Oh, and did I mention you should go to CopyCon ’19?