The Shift: Issue #21

#CopyCon2020 – Top tips for being a successful copywriter; Death to perfectionism; Blogging for business; UX jobs – design systems are the new frontier.

"8 hours of copywriting gold" – 10 speakers, 8 training days, satellite sessions, poetry, illustration, networking, cats…🐱 ProCopywriters' 7th annual conference and 100% online for the first time.
It's my first one, so I had nothing to compare it to, but it was a fantastic event – inspiring talks (9 female speakers) and seamless tech. I'm still using the app (Attendify) to replay videos and download docs. If there's one good thing to come out of all this madness, it's being able to do online training that I wouldn't have been able to afford. No travel costs and you can listen in while you work or on the go. I can't sit at a desk all day, so I did a walking Zoom to break it up.
Add-ons - it would have been great to have a Slack channel to get things started as "It's where the magic happens" says @Halvorson (& she's run a conference or two). It would be a great way to keep in touch between events. Slack is about to add insta-like Stories and audio calls to cut down on video calls and bring back that impromptu chat…
If you missed it, here's are some of the highlights from the main day (9 October) – see my Tweet Deck for more. Speak to the speaker is on till 10 November so if there's something you're interested in learning about, get in touch to see if you can join.  
Key themes – minimalism, simplicity, death to perfectionism, 'good enough' copy, diversity, and growth industries for work – UX writing & content design.
@RellyAB on the importance of Microcopy/UX – the glue that holds it all together:
Start with the GOV.UK design guidelines
Brain Traffic's blog
Readability WIKI – an open-source community project
Gather Content - 101 tutorials
Content Design London – masterclasses & free events
Content Strategy 🎧 – projects to learn from
Toolkit: Evernote/Roam, Miro, Figma, Gather Content, AirTable, MS Excel
Plenty of clients still need help with this. “It’s a great market to be in, there’s a lot of work.”

@sandrashuangwu on what she's learned from testing copy @Blinkist

The structure of the content is more important than the words 
Beautiful language doesn't always lead to more sales 
People won't read everything – get the crucial bits in early! Learn the F-shaped reading pattern for the web
Don't be afraid to sell – people expect it 
Long copy vs short – 13% conversion rate for long-form copy – break it up with headers for readability

@Nataliiee_N @OgilvyUK on diversity in storytelling:

Ask yourself, is this my story to tell?
It's our responsibility to tell stories with the right aims and sentiments because words & stories shape society
Don't hide behind the term BAME when you mean black
See #Allyship on Twitter for diversity resources 

@robynlaaarv @WeTransfer on the value of simplicity in writing:

It helps them serve their audience – they've built a dedicated following for their WePresents newsletter (creative stories, a brilliant read)
Use plain language and write how you speak – legal content shouldn’t be in legalese, error messages should be helpful, rewrite the rules on ‘bad’ grammar for simplicity and impact
Drop 'that' from your copy
Use humour – snack related microcopy in their email footer led to people sending snacks to their head office 😋

@archcopy on death to perfectionism'good enough' copy and self-care:

How the cycle of create, review, feedback and edit makes you feel like nothing is ever good enough (this resonated, lots of comments on Twitter)
Just get it done and out there – it's good enough
We spend a fortune on training courses, but self-care is vital. It's hard advice to follow but the most important
Treat yourself kindly, treat yourself as a business, treat yourself.

Finale: a powerful talk from @janee on the @uninvisibility project – shining a spotlight on talented women with a voice & perspective:

Jane was horrified by the disappearance of women over 50 in advertising, so decided to do something about it. "I applied for over 150 jobs and got 5 interviews."
If a career ends at 45, what's the point?
"Midlife women are the most powerful consumer group buying 2.5 times more than other generations." So why are they not being catered to? Advertising is youth-obsessed
"Let's start sharing our genius and create a new narrative" - send her your stories & anecdotes
"I have never met a frigid woman in my life. Maybe they just didn't want to sleep with you." 👏
So, lots of practical takeaways, new contacts and more books for my Wishlist. I've signed up with Audible to try and get through them a bit quicker & save some money! Relly said she mostly works with agencies, so I'll follow up and find out which ones. She'll be digging in more on 27 October.
Thank you to the team for an excellent event, let's keep the conversation going. 👏 👏

💻 5 things I’ve read this week  

1. @gerrymcgovern on the principles of Digital Earth Experience design (to delete 90%)  
The illusion of cheap storage has encouraged by far the worst hoarding habits in human history. We are drowning in digital crap, and it's going to get much, much worse. Most organisations haven't even begun to think about how to properly manage their data. We talk about the environmental impact of paper but not pixels… Fascinating stuff. See his latest book: World Wide Waste: How digital is killing the planet and what to do about it. Do a digital detox every now & then – reduce your stress levels, and your computer will run a lot faster ;-) 
2. Ahref's Academy: Blogging for Business 
I'm working my way through these free video tutorials on all aspects of blogging, content & community. The main pitfall is writing content that no one's searching for - an extensive tutorial on how to use their keyword tool. He talks fast, so I'm pressing pause a lot - but thank you for this excellent resource.
3. Productivity tip – Otter Live Notes 
An add-on for Zoom hosts that enables live transcription for your participants and notes for collaborators. Give your hands a rest. See this self-guided demo.
4. If you want more content chat…
Utterly Content and Button are both on this week – content design, UX writing, & networking. If I could afford it, I'd do both ;-)
5. Is Everybody Doing….OK? Let’s Ask Social Media
“Researchers are looking at online behaviour to gauge mental health. The results aren’t pretty.” Happiness is hard to measure… meet the researchers trying to analyse it via social media.
Stay Sane ⬆️ Stay Safe ⬇️ - download a template or submit your own I ❤️ this project!

THANK YOU for being here 🙏
Ask me anything – nicci@niccitalbot.com
Buy me a virtual coffee ☕️