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How attending CopyCon19 improved my self-esteem and my business ?


Hello. My name is Sue-Ellen, and I’m a copywriter.

I’m also an introvert (*reaches for a paper bag*), not a fan of conferences and all those people (*opens the paper bag*) and currently suffering from almost paralysing imposter syndrome (*starts huffing into the paper bag*).

So WTF was I doing booking a ticket to CopyCon19? Like, seriously. What the actual…

But encouraged by those who have attended previous CopyCons (Australia’s only conference for copywriters), I found myself booking my ticket and winging my way to Melbourne.

So did the promise of great learnings, support, fun, friendship, an endless supply of good coffee and, most importantly, a dedicated ‘Don’t talk to me’ zone come to fruition?

You bet your arse it did. So much so that I was waving my credit card in the air, ready to book #CopyCon20, before the day was out.

Want to know why?

Then keep reading as I take you through my day at CopyCon19.[1]


Conference Opening with Kate Toon (as introduced by Jenny De Lacy)



The conference Mistress of Ceremonies was Melbourne’s own Jenny De Lacy, the Coachest with the Mostest[2]. She not only kept things moving along with almost military precision but also made us laugh, let us know when we could grab more coffee, and threw the occasional t-shirt at someone’s head.

As Jenny introduced our own Dear Leader Kate Toon, internationally renowned SEO Goddess, creator of our beloved The Clever Copywriting School (TCCS) Community and misfit Pommie who now calls Australia home, to officially open the conference, a hush fell over the room.

We watched in silent awe as she made her way across the stage, a choir of angels singing sweetly with her every step.

Ha! As if.

Kate took to the stage amid cheers, whoops and applause, and worked the room like a rock star. And I’m talking old-school rock star here. Jagger. Mercury. Williams. Toon.

It works. What can I say?



Robert Gerrish – I’m rubbish, but don’t tell anyone



Robert, creator of the Flying Solo community and author of the small business bible The 1-minute Commute, wanted to chat about the dreaded imposter syndrome.

I was all eyes, ears and pen at the ready. I was ready to banish this demon beast.

Robert challenged us to look at ourselves honestly, identify what was holding us back, acknowledge it, and then get over it.

Okay, so it was a bit more involved than that. But basically, that’s what he did.

He also signed copies of his latest book and took photos with his adoring fans at morning tea. He ran out of books. He didn’t seem bothered. 😉



Suzanne Chadwick – Building an unbeatable brand for you and your client



Suzanne wandered onto the stage wearing a headdress that would make drag queens drool! She’s vibrant, colourful and great fun.

She also knows her shit.

A renowned brand consultant, Suzanne was tasked with helping a bunch of (mostly) freelance copywriters build their own brand. It’s something we all know we have to do, but many of us don’t have the vaguest idea where to start.

She showed us how we’re slowly moving into a new revolution—the Revolution of the Heart—and how we as copywriters are in the prime position to drive it forward and help people make the connections they so desperately want.

Yep, Suzanne sorted us out.

Okay, so she made us understand where to start. Baby steps.

If we build it, they will come.



Ryan Wallman – Making taglines work



Ryan, an acclaimed copywriter, is all about the tags.

People think it’s easy to create good taglines. After all, it’s only a couple of words, right?

Yeah, nah.

As any good copywriter knows, a memorable tagline is worth its weight in gold. And Ryan was here to break it down and help us all create that marketing gold.

All in just 4 words.[3]


Sophia Arthur – Money talks: How I charge more and stress less



Sophia was the first member of The Clever Copywriting School Community (TCCS) community to take the stage for CopyCon19.

A successful health and wellness copywriter, Sophia was here to talk money.

Specifically, how to stop doing this and start doing that so you can find your perfect clients who will be happy to pay your invoices. And pay them on time.

Because you’re worth it.



Aaron Agius – The secrets to advanced content marketing and SEO



The first thing Aaron, marketing/SEO expert and co-founder of Louder.Online, did when he hit the stage was to have us all play a game online.

But this was no Candy Crush Saga.

This game was to help us understand the Google Gods and how to choose the perfect sacrifices to appease, rather than flinging any old thing onto the altar.

Did you know 90% of online content gets no traffic from Google?

No that’s not a typo. Ninety percent is correct.

Scary, huh?

If you want to change all that, you can find some excellent SEO copywriters here.



Kate Toon – Keynote: Surviving the copywriting client dating game



As the conference keynote speaker, Kate was all about building long-term, loving relationships with our clients.

Or not.

Being a modern woman with modern sensibilities, Kate understands that sometimes both copywriter and client just want a quickie in the corner.

Not all relationships are created equal. And that’s perfectly okay.

Kate talked us through those first tentative but exciting emails and calls. She gave us the codes for the appropriate mood lighting as we delved into the nitty gritty of copywriting and started to really talk dirty.

She made us feel good about wanting to stay and build something special, or to walk away with that secret smile of a job well done.

She even hugged us as we spoke about breaking up, and how it is hard to do.

Whether we wanted to swipe right, swipe left, or go out for cocktails, Kate made us feel great about our choices.



Bernadette Schwerdt – 7 secrets to writing copy that gets results every time



I have a special place in my heart for Bernadette—author, speaker, consultant and teacher.

She taught the very first copywriting course I did with the Australian Writers’ Centre. She was the first person who looked at my work and said it was good. That I was good.

She made me feel like I could be a copywriter.

So I was thrilled she was part of this conference. And the secrets, formulas, tricks and tips she showed me back then that I still use (very successfully) now are exactly what she presented to this gathering of my colleagues and peers.



Amanda Vanelderen – How (and why) to take the perfect brief



Amanda, copywriter and author of the best little writing help book in the world, Write Better (How to cut the crap and say what you mean), was the second member of The Clever Copywriting School Community to take to the stage.

And she was here to tell us why we were all doing it wrong. Taking the client brief, that is.

I know I’m guilty of not giving the brief, possibly the most useful document in the entire project, the attention it deserves.

Like a new lover, we need to nurture and tease out all its secrets so when it comes time to strip off, everyone loves what they see.

Oh yeah.



Liz Green – How to win more jobs with a wrinkly face



Liz, who moonlights as a full-time housesitter when she’s not writing, was the next TCCS member to speak. Liz found herself copywriting a little later in life, and was keen to share her story to encourage others to take the leap and follow their dreams.

Liz was not an eager-eyed 22-year-old ‘gun’ when she took the plunge into copywritinghood[4]. No, she came to it in a rather roundabout way.

Just like I did.

Personally, I found Liz’s talk one of the most compelling of the conference because her story mirrors mine. And I love hearing people’s stories.



David Bell – Creative director Q&A: design, agency work, ideation and more



David sat down with Kate and talked all things agencies—from how, to why, to where, to whom. Everything was open for discussion.

It was interesting to hear someone from agency land talk about creating and copywriting. As a freelancer, working in an agency is like another world. For some, it’s a nightmare. For others, it’s just a dream.

But from what I see, hear and read, a lot of freelancers sit somewhere in between—happy to work for and with agencies as the need or work arises, but for the most part still wanting the freedom and autonomy freelancing provides.



Donna Webeck, Nerissa Bentley and Rachel Alt – How niching made me a more successful copywriter



To niche or not to nice. That is the question. And it’s a question many freelancer copywriters ask themselves at some stage in their career.

So who better to ask than a panel of three TCCS members who have very successfully niched into three different areas.

Donna is a real estate and property expert who gets to wander through million-dollar properties for a living.

Nerissa is a health and wellness specialist who knows how to turn all the medical gobbledygook into interesting and relatable copy.

And last, but certainly not least, Rachel is the absolute authority on turning even the most boring finance and insurance copy into words people want to read.

These three ladies showed us how niching into an area you want to write about can be the best thing you can do for your business. Sure, it can be scary. But if it’s what you love, then why not become an expert and offer your clients the very best money can buy?



Rob Marsh – Keynote: sales pages: why how Americans do them better



Rob, our token Yank for the day, was here to show us the mysterious ways of the American copywriter.

Anyone who has wandered into a group of American copywriters and watched for a few hours will understand there’s a world of difference between American and Australian copywriters. It can be very confronting.

But why?

Well, that’s what Rob was here to show us—how to bring the best of the American style of copywriting and merge it with our own.


And that was it for our amazing speakers.

The day wrapped up with the presentation of the TCCS Member of the Year—a highly sought after award voted for by members of the TCCS community.

Our health and wellness guru Nerissa was crowned Queen for a year, and certainly rocks a tiara. (Move over Meaghan.)

The day then moved into a fabulous Star Wars-themed party and… well, what happens at CopyCon stays at CopyCon. 😉

To know all our secrets, you‘ll just have to come to the next one and see for yourself.

If you are thinking about attending the next one, just do it[5]. You’ll not only help yourself and your own business, but also open yourself up to a wonderfully supportive community who are here to guide, help and cheer you every step of the way.

And it is marvellous in our eyes[6].



1 There was a Day 2: Mastermind but tickets were sold out before I booked. Booooo.
2 You can have that one, Jenny. I know it’s too fabulous for words. Ha ha.
3 Just to clarify, Ryan said more than four words. Heaps more. He just taught us how to create four-word taglines.
4 If Shakespeare can make up words, then so can I.
5 Ha! Come find me. Nike. (*Rolls eyes*)
6 As a movie critic, I frequently quote great women from great movies. Bonus points if you can pick this one.