May the fourth be with you: my 5 top takeaways from CopyCon 2019, Australia’s copywriting conference

What does Princess Leia have to do with website copywriting? Or Rio Carnival have to do with branding and client relationships? And why should we never, never, ever use the word passionate again?

I explored all these questions and more at this year’s CopyCon, Australia’s copywriting conference. I’ve made investing in myself and professional learning a real priority for 2019. By learning and growing in my business, I can challenge myself, streamline my processes, and ultimately better serve my clients to make a difference in their business and their lives. So, along with 160 other copywriters from around Australia and beyond, I headed to the Arts Centre in Melbourne on May 4th and 5th 2019 for a Star-Wars themed copywriting conference extravaganza. And, what a conference it was.

Here are my five top takeaways gleaned from listening to the expert speakers, networking and bonding with other copywriters and generally soaking up all the copy goodness.

Copywriters Kate O’Mealley ( Oh My Word! ), Jacqui McCallum ( Blue Budgie Communications ),  Harriet Edmund  and me -  Emma McMillan  - at CopyCon.

Copywriters Kate O’Mealley (Oh My Word!), Jacqui McCallum (Blue Budgie Communications), Harriet Edmund and me - Emma McMillan - at CopyCon.

You can change your mindset

Well, you may not be able to change it, but you can absolutely work to reframe it. It’s all about how you look at it. Mindset affects every aspect of running a business from ‘How much can I charge?’ to being confident when cold pitching for work. It’s the difference between doom and gloom thinking - ‘All my work has dried up, I must be awful,’ and positive, practical thinking - ‘Thank goodness, now I have some time to implement some new systems and processes.’ This is relevant, no matter your role or industry.

Robert Gerrish, from Flying Solo, gave some practical tips to help us work through the challenges of imposter syndrome. According to his research, I’m a perfectionist/expert. I’m rubbish at delegating (guilty), and continue to take courses/learn everything to be an expert ‘just in case’ I need to know something. The advice I’ll be implementing is to ‘just start’ things even when I don’t feel ready and to adopt more of a ‘just in time learning’ approach. Many speakers echoed Robert’s thoughts. Kate Toon, conference organiser/party planner didn’t hold back, inviting all the copywriters in the room to step up and shift their thinking to encourage positive changes.

Absolutely everyone has an X-factor

Wonder how you can stand out in a sea of sameness in your industry? That’s easy, according to Rob Marsh. He talked us through a huge list of questions in Sunday’s mastermind to help nut out our point of difference. The next important step? Once you’ve nailed your X-factor, you also need to check how it ties in with the needs of your ideal client. Rob is the co-host of one of my favourite podcasts, The Copywriter Club. He also put us on to a couple of great episodes that I’ve already tuned in to, Tanya Geisler talking about imposter complex and Jenny Blake discussing her book Pivot.

Nurture your relationships for long-term success

This mantra is as true in life as it is in business. When my husband takes the kiddo on Sundays so I can get to my boxing class, that’s nurturing our relationship. It also means I’m probably more likely to throw on a load of washing when I get back, or cook up a batch of soup. It works both ways. And, newsflash, clients are just people, too. So, it’s a nice idea to just check in from time to time, without explicitly being motivated by a business transaction. Maybe share an article with a note, ‘I thought you might be interested in this.’ You’re in it for the long game with your clients, so little gestures along the way help nurture those relationships.

The revolution of the heart - Suzanne Chadwick

We’re in the revolution of the heart

When Suz Chadwick enters the room dressed for Carnival, you know you’re in for a treat (and some wise words about branding). Suz, who hosts another brilliant podcast, The Brand Builders Lab, dissected the way customers purchase. Having gone through the industrial revolution and the technological revolution, we’re now in a game-changing revolution of the heart. It’s a time where brands that are value-based and offer a relationship will begin to rise to the top. Reputation, visibility and uniqueness are no longer enough; the emotional connection to the customer is what will develop brand strength. When I thought about the way I buy things, these ideas really resonated. Watch this space for more bold branding this year!

There can be too much passion

When it comes to taglines, be enthusiastic, do care, be spirited and fierce. But, according to Ryan Wallman? Whatever you do, don’t say you’re passionate!

There was pizza and wine, there were stickers and plenty of genuine interactions. Over the weekend, it became even clearer to me than ever before that the copywriting community in this country are supporters of each other, not competitors. We’ll happily refer work on to a better fit, seek mentorship and further learning all in the name of giving our clients the best experience possible.

What does this mean? When you do business with this kind of copywriter, you’re in the best hands. Find out how I can help you.

Star Wars-themed copywriting lightbulb moments