If you’re thinking about coming to Copy Chief Live this year, you’re going to love this article.
I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now.
Well… since I got home from CCL2 in 2018.
I wanted to provide a “boots on the ground” perspective at all of the incredible things that happen at this yearly event.
It’s one thing to hear “It was great… I got a client… it’s so worth it!”
That’s all fine and dandy. But I wanted to give you a look into what it’s like to be in the room, just in case you’re considering coming.
I figured the best way to do that would to be to give you a day-by-day summary of my experiences.
Let’s dive right in
Day 1: The Evening Before Copy Chief Live
In 2018, the event took place from Tuesday-Thursday.
So I ended up flying in on Monday, so I could get some rest before it started.
There was a woman who looked like Laura Belgray on my flight, sitting a few rows up. At that point, I had never met Laura. Although I listened to a LOT of the podcast interviews she’s done. She definitely didn’t know me and I didn’t even know if it was her, for sure.
So instead of being that weird guy who walks up to a random women on a plane saying that she looked familiar… I figured I’d just sit in my seat and save myself from a potentially awkward conversation with a potential stranger.
I got off the plane and took an Uber to St. Pete.
I think it took a little under a half-hour. The weather was nice for October, especially coming from New Jersey.
I got out of the Uber, walked into the hotel lobby and got in line to check-in.
As I’m waiting there, a man gets in line behind me.
I turn around to see who it is…
And wouldn’t ya know…
It’s Dean Jackson.
I kind of fumbled my words a bit and then introduced myself. Told him how much I loved his books and his podcasts and pretty much everything he’s ever put out.
He was a super cool guy.
You know, at a lot of events, all of the speakers and “high-level people” are sometimes ‘roped-off’ in their own little section.
But at Copy Chief Live, it’s not like that at all.
You get to meet all of the big-name marketers and entrepreneurs you’ve been reading or listening too. And they’re all really cool, friendly people.
I went up to my room, dropped my shit off and then went down to the bar.
There was already a congregation of writers at the bar when I had shown up. There were about 25 of them down there, starting the festivities a little early.
I recognized a few people from inside Copy Chief.
But up until that point, they were just little people who lived inside my computer.
Like Jimmy Parent.
I talked to this guy multiple times. But there he was… now in the flesh.
There were a TON of people from inside the Copy Chief community I’d met digitially, but never IRL.
So when I came down the elevator and walked towards the bar… this weird thing happened where we all kind of got excited… and sized each other up… and realized some people you thought were short were actually tall… and realized some people you thought were tall were actually short… and being that you talked for hours and hours in the threads but now you are meeting these people face to the face for the first time and aren’t exactly sure what the etiquiette is or how to act, you kind of just walk into the bar like…
Not kidding, this exact scene played our IRL like 20x. Every time someone arrived, it was the same giddy enthusiasm.
It’s kind of funny.
Anyway, I grabbed a drink and started making my rounds, saying what’s up to everybody.
And then, I saw Kim Krause Schwalm.
Kim and I had recently become biffles at that point, after a public spat. We had just got done creating our first virtual coaching program… so it was cool to, again, actually meet her in person.
Her and I and some of her coaching students had dinner plans. So we headed to this cool little Mexican place a few blocks from the hotel.
I gotta say…
Every single meal in St. Pete was amazing. The food is incredible.
(I’m from New Jersey, and I automatically assume that if you leave the tri-state area, you’re downgrading your culinary options. I think I think I think this way because I am somewhat dumb and somewhat loyal to my NJ roots… and believe that we certain foods better than anyone else. Don’t @ me, bro.)
We had an awesome meal and then went back to the bar to hang for a bit.
By that time, pretty much everyone who was coming to the event was at the hotel bar.
I met some more people, had some more drinks and then went up to get some sleep before Day 1.
Day 1 of Copy Chief Live
I woke up and grabbed a coffee from the Starbucks, which was conveniently located directly across from the conference room.
Kevin came on to deliver his opening monologue. The guy is incredibly funny and a captivating speaker. Obviously, I’m going to say nice things about him… with him being my mentor. But I’m trying to be as objective as possible.
The guy really rocks the mic, whether he’s opening an event, doing stand up, or giving a webinar. It’s impressive to watch him.
He really set a great tone for the event and everyone in the room was pumped for things to get going.
Speaker #1: Tom Breeze
So Tom Breeze was the first speaker.
I didn’t really know much about him. I knew he had a book out about Youtube ads. I Amazon Primed that shit and brought it with me on the plane. However, I’ll admit… I didn’t actually read it until the flight home. It was a really great book.
His talk was about Youtube advertising – obviously.
This was a topic I knew little to nothing about.
But man, by the end of it… I wanted to hire him to do ads for me, despite the fact that I didn’t really have anything to sell.
What I loved most about Tom Breeze’s talk was the system he created for the way he puts ad campaigns together. Everything was based on data, not theory. And he explained it in a way that was simple enough so people like me could understand.
He showed some examples, broke them down and by the end of it… I actually felt like I had a framework I could use to create a Youtube ad, if I ever needed to.
So that was super valuable.
Speaker #2: Laura Belgray
Being an email guy, I was really pumped up to hear Laura Belgray’s talk at Copy Chief Live.
And boy… did she deliver.
Laura has an incredible style and her emails are addictive. Compared to most other ‘big-name’ marketers, her list size (at the time of her talk) was relatively small. One of the things she talked about during her keynote were some of the methods she used to help her have a six-figure launch with a ~6,000 person email list (if I remember correctly).
I’ll tell ya what…
Hearing that gave me hope.
She broke down her system into easily digestible steps. And even though I consider myself an accomplished email writer, I was definitely influenced by Laura’s keynote.
I think my writing got visibly better after listening to her talk as well.
On top of that… she was funny as shit.
All-in-all, one of my favorite keynotes I’ve ever heard at any event, EVER.
After Laura’s speech I went up to her and told her how much I loved her speech. I also asked if it was her on the plane… and it was. Crazy!
Speaker #3: Rhonda Britton
So next up on Day 1 of Copy Chief Live was Rhonda Britton. Her talk was all about fear.
Now, I have done a ton of work in the personal development space. For YEARS I sold products about overcoming your fear. So much so, that I was so jaded anytime anyone brought up the topic of fear.
Rhonda’s keynote had me looking at the topic of fear in a whole new way.
Fear is one of those things that I kind of try not to think about. Mainly because I’m a big strong man and ain’t nobody got time for dat.
That shit is real. And it will hold you back.
At the time, I had just left a multi-year client relationship… and I was definitely scared about what the future might hold without that retainer check coming in every single month.
When you’re scared, it affects your decision making. And you sometimes slam on the breaks.
Rhonda’s talk definitely helped me see all of my thoughts and emotions around the business decisions I make in a whole new light.
Day 1 Roundtables
I decided to go to the roundtables.
At that point, I already had a pretty full client roster. And I wasn’t necessarily looking for new opportunities. So I did consider skipping these sessions.
But holy fuckballs, I am glad I decided to NOT skip these sessions.
One of the really unique things about Copy Chief Live is that Kevin sets up these roundtable sessions with a dozen or so companies who are looking to hire writers, sometimes on the spot.
It was really interesting to listen to each one of these companies talk about their process for working with writers… how they trained them… how they structure deals… and how they foster development.
That was eye opening, even though I had been freelancing at a pretty high level for a while.
The coolest part tho was when I got to the Agora Financial table.
They said they were having a copywriting contest to see who could write the best 1-page pitch for a flashlight.
There was going to be a cash prize for the winner.
If you know me, you know I’m a competitive person.
I said to myself: “I am winning this mother fucking contest.”
As soon as the roundtables were over, I grabbed the flashlight (they were giving them away for free), and Iw ent straight up to my room.
All of my buddies were headed to the bar, one of the Agora companies was sponsoring a happy hour and were giving out free drinks.
But I said fuck that. I am going to my room and I am going to write the best damn sales letter for a flashlight anyone has ever scene.
I spent the next hour in my room, typing away.
I knew exactly what the hook for this ad should be.
So I banged that shit out, and made it down to the happy hour by about 7:00.
I went out to dinner with a few friends.
Then we went out and started bar hopping.
Things got a little hazy after that. There was a lot of bourbon involved.
I stumbled home and went to sleep.
Day 2 of Copy Chief Live
I woke up, admittedly a little hung over.
It was 6:30 am.
I think I went to bed at around 2.
But it didn’t matter. I had to wake up and edit my flashlight letter so I could win this contest.
I kind of like being the first person up. Up before the enemy, as they say…
I went down to Starbucks, grabbed a coffee, pulled out my laptop and spent another 20 or so minutes tinkering with it.
Abbey Woodcock and her partner KC came down and joined me.
I showed them the letter, they thought it was solid.
So I said, OK fuck it… let’s hand this thing in and see what happens.
Then, we entered the room to begin the session.
Speaker #4: Keith Krance
Keith, I think you are a super smart dude. I love the content you put.
But I am sorry…
I missed most of your talk because I had a client emergency and had to bang out some emails real quick for them.
Speaker #5: Abbey Woodcock
Abbey’s speech was incredible.
Being that she’s one of the foremost experts on voice, she broke down her process for decoding and learning someone else’s voice… so you could write in their voice, or so you could better understand your own voice.
The thing I really liked about her talk was how she shared different archetypes of possible writing voices. For example, some people communicate like the voice of authority… while others sound like the friend at the bar.
After writing for two New York Times Bestselling authors in my own career, I really appreciated the level of detail she went into decoding writing voice. I picked up a ton of valuable tips that kept my clients happy.
The #1 objection most clients have is NOT money. It’s that they can’t find writers who can nail their voice.
That’s something to chew on, fellow copywriters.
Speaker #6: Dean Jackson
What can I say about Dean Jackson that hasn’t already been said by some of the smartest marketers in the world?
I’m not sure.
I will say this though, over the past two years, besides Kevin Rogers, Dean Jackson has probably had one of the biggest influences on me and my business.
There were so many takeaways from his talk. I can’t possibly do it justice in this short paragraph (that’s kind of true for ALL of the speakers at the event).
But one thing that really stuck out was his explanation of how 15% of leads will buy within the first 90 days of making an inquiry… and the other 85% of them will buy between 90 days and 2 years.
This is kind of mind blowing, when you think about it.
Because how many marketers out there are OBSESSED with making the sale in a week or less?
It’s kind of neat to give yourself permission to NOT have to make the sale today… and to allow the greater portion of people who will be ready later, rather than now, come to that decision on their own.
That’s the secret to make selling really easy.
The Highlight of Copy Chief Live
After the talks, Kevin took the stage with a ‘special announcement.’
It was time to announce the winner of the copywriting contest.
That’s when, I heard my name get announced.
I was fucking PUMPED.
I walked on stage, accepted my reward, and the read my headline out to a room of over 200 people. It was my first time on that stage and MAN those lights were bright.
That made me even more nervous than I already was – I was schedule to speak on the freelancers only day (Day 3).
I read the winning headline out loud, and the whole room burst into laughter. If you want to read more about it, I told that story here.
I returned back to my seat, triumphant in my conquest.
What a damn good event, indeed.
Day 3 of Copy Chief Live (Freelancers Only)
I’m not going to go too deep here, as there might be clients watching.
But long story short, I got to speak on stage for the first time ever.
We had an awesome panel with some top freelancers like Abbey, Laura and Angie Colee sharing things that have worked really well for them.
I’m not sure what Day 3 will be like for this year’s event, but I am sure it will be just as awesome, if not better than last year.
Kevin always provides a ton of value for the freelancers during this closed door session.
What Should You Do Now?
Ok, I am getting kind of tired. I’ve been typing for the past hour or so.
I’m sure I can write more about this event. I am sure I am leaving out so many cool convos and learnings I got.
hell… I didn’t even have a chance to tell you about the X-Factor party on Day 2.
But I gotta wrap this up, so here’s what you should do now…
It’s an incredible event, one that can literally make your career.
If you have questions about the event, feel free to leave me a comment below!
And, oh yeah…
Sign up for my email list…