CopyCon and the importance of community over competition

Could you imagine walking into a room full of your (so-called) business rivals and squealing with delight as you wrap them each up in a hearty welcome hug? Or swapping notes on what’s working so well for you in your freelance life? You’re meant to be instantly suspicious, playing your cards close to your chest and certainly not counting down the days till you are all in the same state again.

But yet, that is the essence of CopyCon – Australia’s only conference dedicated to all things copywriting – and as well, the essence of its founder, the indomitable Kate Toon.

You see, what she has created is nothing short of an urban family – a group of likeminded individuals who bond over our love of the written word and lend shoulders of support when times are tough. We’re constantly referring work to each other, brainstorming together and giving each other the metaphorical kick up the bum when we need to see sense.

And while CopyCon was brimming with an abundance of learnings on SEO, the importance of brands, briefs, working with agencies and showing up like a boss when it comes to pricing, what warmed me most was the validation that we are all in this together. We have no sense of sibling rivalry or competition – we genuinely want to see each other succeed.

Because, as Kate so eloquently said at CopyCon18: “your community will save you in your darkest days”. No one else might quite understand the pain of a copydeck being returned as a pdf with scrawled red pen notes instead of Track Changes being used, when a client creeps up the scope but refuses to creep up the dosh, or when good copy gets hacked to pieces by someone’s sister’s mother who is a retired English teacher. We whoop with joy when wins are shared and offer virtual hugs and advice when the PITA party are out in full force.

CopyCon19 was an extension of all of this – a feelgood conference of epic proportions, where the incredible learning was equalled only by the ferocious love floating through the room. And while I have no doubt my business will blossom as a result of the slew of wisdom imparted on the day, the best thing remains being part of this community which values lifting each other up over trampling each other to get to the top.

Once again, I leave CopyCon humbled (and not just because my peers voted me runner up TCCS Member of the Year).  More so, it’s because of the sense of kinship and spirited support which was interlaced with each session.

Kate Toon, there are not many who can say they bind their industry together instead of tearing them apart. You’ve also set a pretty damn high standard in conferences. How did we get so lucky to get someone so willing to give as much as you do? Bring on CopyCon 2021!


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