With excitement and anticipation, I entered the foyer of the Novotel Rockford in Sydney where Australia's first copywriting conference was about to begin. I had been looking forward to this first national gathering of professional copywriters and editors for the past four months since I had purchased my ticket from The Clever Copywriting School founded and run by Kate Toon.
As a member of the school, I was especially curious to meet all the other writers in person, who I only knew from a tiny Facebook image. From the conversations I had experienced in the past months, the day promised to be an interesting one.
It didn't take long before I heard the first exclamations 'I know your face from the Facebook group'. Groups of people formed in the foyer and the hotel's coffee bar chatting, laughing and sharing their travel stories. Some of the attendees travelled as far as from Perth and the Flinders Ranges.
I found myself a place on one of the round tables that filled the room and loved the attention to detail on the tables. Each place was decorated with a notepad, pen and a Copywriting Conference-branded cookie – too sweet to be eaten.
What it takes to be a successful copywriter
The programme was kicked off by our fabulous Kate Toon, founder of the Clever Copywriting School, with her keynote about the state of copywriting in 2017. We all nodded our heads when she confirmed what we all knew: the world needs content. Her 7 P's of Copywriting reminded us of the important ingredients to building a successful copywriting business:
- Stop Procrastination
There's enough work to go around.
Structuring information in categories
We then heard from our fellow member Matt Fenwick about the art of organising information aka Information Architecture. His tip: organising the information on the page in categories. I was reminded of my downsizing talks where I often speak about de-cluttering by categories, as our brain loves processing information in categories. What works for organising your home also works for structuring a website in a way that users can easily find what they are interested in.
Facebook ads are like fishing: the hook is essential
The next presentation was all about Facebook ads, and we learnt that the most important part of a Facebook ad is the copy. Next to a top image, of course. Simplicity in the message, a benefit-laden offer and a strong Call-to-Action are the recipe for success when running Facebook ads.
Next up was another member, Angela Denly, telling her story with balancing parenting and copywriting; followed by the first sofa session about How to Work with Advertising Agencies. Presenters Steve Manning, Corina Seeto and Sarah Morton shared their tips and tricks of the trade to get a foot in the door of an agency and how to make the account managers happy. Agencies understand the value of good copywriting and are looking for writers who get the job done smoothly and deliver quality work. Ongoing communication with the agency is crucial in building long-lasting relationships.
Productivity Hacks and SEO Secrets
We then heard Kelly Exeter's 10 Hacks to Help you Smash Through the Writing Day and Katherine Rodrigues story about her best year yet focussing on what she learnt along the way. Belinda Weaver, live from San Francisco, shared her tips how to make most out of the day and convert inspiration into action. How to use business awards to boost your copywriting skills was the topic of Melinda Leyshon's presentation. Accountant Karen Goad shared her financial secrets for copywriters and, although she apologised for not having the sexiest topic, I found her presentation one of the most important and relevant ones. We also heard about using video to win more clients before the second sofa session about niching kicked off. Last but not least, Mez Homayunfard gave his insights into the three cornerstones of SEO in 2017, which are relevancy, technical mastery, and authority. The final keynote about fearless copywriting was delivered by Glenn Murray, whose mantra is to write with confidence and let the words flow.
Overall, a worthwhile investment on a Saturday with numerous takeaways and learnings to be actioned in the coming weeks and months.
Free drinks at The Pumphouse created more happy faces, and new friendships were formed. Everyone agreed that there should be a next Copywriting Conference in a year's time. I am pretty sure that with all the creative energy in this group, there will be another successful event in 2018. And content will remain king.