I’m going to say it, I’m officially a professional conference convert.
That isn’t easy for me to admit after almost 7 years of avoiding all forms of professional development.
But to tell you the truth, I just didn’t need it in my previous job – I know how that sounds, but please hear me out…
You see, during my time as a design engineer, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by an incredible team. All of them very good at their job and willing to teach you.
Because of this, I quickly learnt the ropes and made a name for myself. I had the confidence to hold my ground against far more experienced colleagues. And, I knew my team always had my back.
But, all that changed when I began freelancing. Suddenly I was on my own. I had no one to bounce ideas off, ask questions or get some sage advice from.
As part of her mission to create a supportive community for aspiring and experienced copywriters alike, for the last 3 years, Kate has put on Copycon – Australia’s only dedicated copywriting conference.
This year, I decided to bite the bullet and go.
And you know what?
It was fantastic.
Held on the May the 4th at the Melbourne Arts Center, Copycon was packed with enlightening and insightful presentations, on-stage discussions, plenty of fun and even an interactive quiz.
What I got from attending
I could go on for another thousand words or so with all the gold nuggets of info I picked up…but I know you don’t have all day. So I’ll get right to the point and highlight my main takeaways from the conference.
1. Personal development
First speaker of the day was the very funny and intelligent Robert Gerrish. He talked about the five key personality types most likely to suffer from Impostor Syndrome, and strategies to overcome this.
As a condition that around 70% of adults will suffer or have suffered from, it really struck a chord with the room.
For me personally also as it’s something I suffer from, from time to time.
Robert Gerrish talking about Imposter Syndrome.
2. Business development
In a one-on-one interview style session, David Bell (from MercerBell) talked with Kate about what it’s like to work for agencies and what they look for from copywriters. He also dropped a great tip – feed your creative brain with sources of influence outside of work.
While the rather colorful (literally – she danced on stage in a carnival-style feathered headgear) Suzi Chadwick reminded us about the importance of building your brand and forming an emotional connection with your clients.
Suzi Chadwick speaking about building your brand at Copycon 19.
3. Professional skills development
It wouldn’t be a copywriting conference without learning a little about copywriting.
- The importance of a good taglines
- Use copywriting formulas: save yourself a lot of time and produce better copy
- Sell with stories – the secret to writing killer sales pages
While SEO guru Aaron Agius, brought us up to speed on the latest in getting found on Google. His fun, yet surprisingly competitive interactive Quiz was a definite hit.
Ryan Wallman sharing his passion (copycon joke – see below) about taglines
4. Learning from the experiences of others
The panel discussion with Nerissa Bentley, Donna Webeck and Rachel Alt about why to niche.
The most memorable presentation for the day though goes to Kate Toon and ‘dating your clients’. High on euphemisms yet packed with years of insights and experience about how to best handle the tricky client-copywriter relationship.
Kate Toon’s memorable discussion about surviving the client-customer dating game.
5. Networking opportunities
I got to meet my Recipe for SEO Success course buddies: Kate Crocker and Angela Pickett
6. A feeling of support and community
7. Having a laugh with other human beings
The best part about getting out from behind your desk is simply having a laugh and relaxing with people in your profession.
Of course, being May the 4th, the after party was inevitably Starwars themed.
Although I didn’t dress up, some members went all out!
Unfortunately, our table didn’t win the ‘best photo’ award…but we had a lot of fun trying.
Attending Copycon was like being back with my old workmates. I got to bounce ideas off people, got some fantastic advice and a real sense that I’m apart of a bigger community.
After such a great experience, I’ll definitely be going to more conferences in the future.
So for anyone who thinks conferences aren’t for them, don’t think they have the time or cringe at the thought being in a room full strangers.
Change your mindset, make the time and get over it.
Going to a good professional conference is an experience you won’t regret.
Over to you
Are there any professional conferences or events you really enjoy? Comment below.
If you liked this article please share.
Written by Josh Rose.
SEO copywriter. Word lover. Addicted to travel.