I recently spent a few days in Sydney for Australia’s first-ever copywriting conference, CopyCon.
It was a fantastic event, put on by the marvellous Kate Toon, and attended by a fantastic group of business writers from all over Australia. Naturally, being writers, they’ve all gone and written fantastic round-ups of the event, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in as well.
Before I start, I’d just like to clear up one thing – what exactly is copywriting? I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been asked that by friends and family who saw my Instagram post saying I was at the event.
As explained by Kate, a copywriter is someone who gets paid to write: website content, sales letters, tenders, advertisements, brochures – the list goes on. In my case, I specialise a little bit and focus on public relations as well as marketing, so I write media releases, capability statements, and strategic communications plans as well.
Things a copywriter is not: someone who deals with copyright. Please go and see a lawyer for that.
Anyway, moving on. What did I learn at CopyCon? The answer to that is ‘lots of really helpful things’, and I’ll dig into some of them in future posts. I know, I’m a tease.
What I’d like to talk about today is something that nearly all professionals can relate to: how to get through your to-do list, whether you wrote it in a fit of inspiration at a conference (like me), or even if you’ve got a regular business-building to-do list that never seems to get any shorter.
These insights come courtesy of Belinda Weaver, who spoke at CopyCon.
1. Create a short-list of the ideas you need to action
This is key – I kept a completely separate notebook to jot my ideas in, and took notes of the actual sessions on the goodie-bag provided notepad. Now when I go back to look at my short-list, I won’t get distracted by shiny thing syndrome and forget what I was doing in the first place (or am I the only one that happens to?!).
My short-list included some short-term (ask my accountant about the upcoming tax due dates), medium-term (updating my website) and long-term (enforcing a 50% deposit on all new projects) goals.
I’m happy to say I’ve ticked off two of my short-term goals already!
2. Be aware of inspiration vs. envy
It’s so easy to get caught up in admiring other accomplished people in your field, but there’s a fine line to walk between inspiration and straight-out envy.
I truly enjoy working with other great copywriters, and CopyCon was certainly the most collaborative conference I’ve ever been to. Inspiration abounded, from advice on how to find a niche, to sorting out your small business finances, to even ways to keep up your energy that don’t include coffee (scary but apparently possible). Taking away inspiration rather than a feeling of inadequacy is the best way to keep your post-conference momentum.
3. Schedule in time to tick off your actions
Feeling inspired and armed with a short and manageable to-do list, I spent a productive Friday night working on my business and specifically scheduling in items on my to-do list. It’s impossible to do everything at once, but with your short-list and an idea of your business priorities, it’s easy to schedule one in every week. Before you know it, the list is complete and your business is better for it.
After all, when you’re the business owner and you pay for your own conferences, you should take away as much value as possible. Action isn’t optional!