CopyCon made a triumphant return in October 2022, filled with valuable learning, fantastic networking opportunities and a generous sprinkling of razzle-dazzle


*Thigh-shudderingly is a Toonism, borrowed for this article because, well, what better way to describe a copywriting conference organised by Kate Toon than with a Toonism? Right?

In Australia, THE copywriting conference is CopyCon, organised by Kate Toon and The Clever Copywriting School (TCCS). It’s an event to look forward to because we freelance copywriters tend to be solitary creatures, working alone, often without contact with our peers. But TCCS offers a community. Support and connection with people who can collectively answer any question. And a massive swag of resources in the form of courses, templates and checklists, masterclasses, and more (and more, and more, and more).

So when CopyCon2022 came around, there was great excitement among copywriters. Me included. After pandemic disruptions and a three-year gap between conferences, we couldn’t wait to reconnect in person. And so it was that a bunch of socially starved copywriters ditched Oodies and slippers and gingerly stepped out of home offices to travel to Sydney for CopyCon2022.

Why go to a copywriting conference?

Why a copywriting conference? I mean, copywriting is just writing, isn’t it?

No, no, no, no, no.

The thing is, copywriting is a hugely important part of marketing, especially digital marketing. Websites are content-hungry, so it’s essential to understand how all the pieces fit together. A good copywriter will continually strive for this, upskilling wherever possible. Because the more we know, the more value we can add to client marketing efforts.

Attending a copywriting conference is an excellent way to refresh our skills and network with other writers and marketing professionals. When we know what other writers can do, we bring even more value to client projects and prospective clients’ inquiries​.

CopyCon2022 – the deets

View of Sydney Harbour Bridge looking over Luna Park

That’s the details, y’all.

CopyCon2022 was held at the Kirribilli Club in Sydney, with a sensational view of Sydney Harbour because Sydney is all about The View. If you’re visiting Sydney, it’s mandatory to take in The View (I think the rulebook says so). So that’s why many attendees also stayed at The View Hotel. Because THE VIEW. The proof is here – I took this photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Lunar Park from my hotel room window. Wowzers.

The Mastermind was on Friday 14 October, followed by the Conference on Saturday 15 October.

Mastermind – say what?

The CopyCon Mastermind was like the conference but amped up about a bazillion times. First, attendees heard from top-level speakers in various areas. Then we attended round-table discussions (huddles) with those speakers – four sessions in total – to discuss the topics in more detail. There were even worksheets to help us.

The topics covered aspects of copywriting and business operations to help us achieve professional goals:

  • Kate Toon gave us the why and how of designing a signature service, when to launch and what to include
  • Amanda Vanelderen from WorkWords Content talked about striking the sweet spot between solo work and finding the right help when the time is right
  • Keyword research gun Johanna Kohler from Compelling Copy gave a detailed walk-through of her SEO keyword research approach, including report structure
  • The Rebel Coach, Courtney Rogers of Court & Co, inspired us all to charge our worth and gave excellent advice about creating service packages
  • Matt Fenwick of True North Content talked about information architecture and website structures. He said that the ability to think systematically about website information is a valuable skill for a copywriter
  • Rosie Shilo of Virtually Yours gave an excellent presentation about how and when to engage a virtual assistant (hot tip: do it before you get overloaded with work), the strategic advantages and how a suitable VA can help you grow your business

With regular breaks, great food and all-day access to the presenters, the Mastermind was a massive day of learning, brainstorming and implementing. It ended with drinks and more food at a nearby venue.

The main event – wait, there’s more?

Kate Toon in a zebra onesie and ugg boots at CopyCon2022

Yep, the next day, we stumped up at The Kirribilli Club for the main event – CopyCon2022. What a buzz. Copywriters everywhere, hugging, excited, delighted. MC Kate Toon kicked off the day in the freelancer’s uniform – a onesie and ugg boots.

And then BOOM!

Powerhouse personality and confidence coach Samantha Leith presented on confidence, clarity, courage and charisma. And how to identify X-factor, even if you’re an introverted freelance copywriter who’d rather not have an actual conversation with anyone. Ever.

TCCS Ambassador Rashida Tayabali talked about the diversity that a multicultural copywriter can contribute to a project. Then, TCCS member Caitlin Wright gave great advice for those in the first few years of copywriting.

Johnathan Crossfield gave a valuable presentation about the importance of fact-checking and how to do it effectively. He gets my vote for the most creative visual presentation of the day. Check out his website – you’ll get the idea.

Vahe Arabian’s presentation about what happens to content when it goes live was carefully crafted with generous detail, reflecting his extensive experience as an SEO and content strategist.

Then TCCS member Mariska Threadgold gave inspiring advice about work-life balance and how to achieve personal goals while freelancing.

After lunch, we witnessed the incredible skills of a professional hula hooper and the, er, surprising skills of some non-professional hula hoopers from our ranks, including Kate Toon. Career goal accomplished, LinkedIn headline verified.

Phew, but there’s still more.

LinkedIn coach and former copywriter Kate Merryweather detailed her earnings as a copywriter (bonus points for her incredible shoes). Andrew Hubbard gave us the inside running on effective copywriting for social media ads, a handy skill for any copywriter considering offering a package of services.

And holy crikey, we’re not done yet.

Following the afternoon tea break, there was a panel discussion about mindset and achieving balance, featuring copywriting legends Nerissa Bentley, Cal Chikwendu and Tanya Abdul Jalil.  They joined Kate Toon to talk about what they’ve learned from their experiences.

The final presenter was Christine Corcoran, who gave fantastic advice about overcoming imposter syndrome. Because, let’s be honest, it torments plenty of copywriters from time to time.

The program was varied, insightful and huge. There was so much to absorb, consider and implement, but wait for the figurative steak knives, folks.

What could top that?

The only thing that could follow from the incredible presentations was the ceremony for the inaugural TCCS awards. The awards recognised excellence in select categories. Drumroll, please:

And what could top even THAT?

Now we can talk about the cherry on top. Actually, CHERRIES. Plural. Strap in, folks. The Toon team thought of everything.

There was a virtual conference pass so that our copy buddies could access the conference wherever they happened to be. The effervescent Kat Elizabeth hosted and made sure that virtual attendees could have their questions answered IN REAL TIME.

But wait, there’s more.

A conference handbook with links to worksheets. Hotel discounts. Lunch, morning tea, afternoon tea and barista coffee. Various dietary requirements accommodated. There was an opt-in buddy system, bean bags and a quiet area. Plus, conference-themed cookies, masseurs and coveted TCCS stickers. A photobooth with lifesize images of Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Fraser (personally, I didn’t even know they could write). And speaker gifts! And giveaways! And photographs by Melinda Hird!

There was even an epic show bag filled with goodies from:

And thanks to the other CopyCon2022 sponsors:

  • Women’s online clothing boutique Sunshine Belle
  • Hnry taxation and financial software for sole traders
  • Travel Moore, Australia’s only certified autism travel professional

The cherry on top of the cherries on top

At the end of CopyCon2022, we were treated to costume-themed networking drinks. Plenty of attendees got into the spirit of the literary character theme, except me. I left my cossie back in the hotel. Probably because I hadn’t thought of anything cool to wear, so I’d settled on a random assortment from the kids’ dress-up box with a “Who even am I?” theme. Oh well.

And that was that

CopyCon2022 was another fabulous experience. It was wonderful to catch up with copywriter mates and make new connections. It gave me the time and space to think about my services and business direction. And, yes, it offered a chance to have a sneaky little holiday, so it’s no surprise that I’m already thinking about the next conference.

So congratulations on a bum-clenchingly^ excellent conference, Toon team. Bottom pats^ all ‘round.

(^Yep, more Toonisms).

Want to see me put my CopyCon2022 learnings to good use? Drop me a line and let’s discuss your project.

Images by Melinda Hird Photography and used with permission from The Clever Copywriting School.

Did you go to CopyCon2022? 

​What was your favourite thing? Or have you been to another conference recently? What did you love the most? Please leave a comment below.