In less than two years, Kira Hug and Rob Marsh have managed to do the impossible. They resurrected the lost art of engaged Facebook groups, launched a successful podcast, and cultivated a community of over seven thousand copywriters launching and growing businesses. 

The Copywriter Club, or TCC as they're known by insiders, has quickly grown into one of the most engaged communities of direct response copywriters on the internet. 

Last week, 75 of them gathered in a small room at Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown where they kicked off the first annual TCC IRL Event. The whos-who of the copy world showed up to support the event, share copy secrets, and swap war stories on how to create copywriting success.

Against their better judgment, Kira and Rob let me take a peek behind the curtain at what they created and share what I learned with you fine folks. Here's what you missed at the TCC event in Manhattan.

Top Takeaways These Master Copywriters Didn't Want Me To Share

For decades, copywriters have claimed you can find success by being the "hired gun" who jumps from client to client, beats the control, and collects royalties from her chateau in France. Turns out, that model doesn't work anymore. 

Speakers joked that a control barely lasts 14 minutes nowadays, where it used to last months. Today, it's about being the intrapreneur, advisor, and expert inside of a client's business, as much as it is about copy that converts. 

Brian Kurtz, a "titan" of direct response, drove that point home when he reminded the crowd of the 40/40/20 rule. Forty percent of your success comes from your list, 40% comes from your offer, and 20% comes from your copy. Which is a particularly bold rule to underscore at a copy event.

"Go to a list of people who REALLY want your offer with [expletive] copy and I bet you make a sale." Mmmmhmm. The man knows a thing or two about sales. 

But Wait...There's More! 

There were honest conversations about whether JV partnerships are worth it, when to raise your rates, why "not segmenting" is the biggest mistake you can make, what to do about lapsed list engagement, and lots of other nerdy fun DR copy things. Like these: 

  • Copyhackers founder Joanna Wiebe reminded us that "our job is to make them decide" after hitting us with the sobering statistic that 60% of sales are lost to apathy and indecision.
  • Talking Shrimp founder, Laura Belgray, warned us of the dangers of being the "drunk uncle" - the guy who shows up out-of-the-blue and asks for money. 
  • Copy and content maven Hillary Weiss taught us why personal branding actually matters and has palpable business consequences."Your business is what you do. Your branding is how you differentiate yourself from everyone else." #boom  
  • Abbey Woodcock, copy and conversion whisperer, proved that nailing a client's "voice" is not a unicorn quality like I've always thought. Apparently, anyone can do it (and she showed us how) which is disappointing since I sucked at it. Thanks a lot, Abbey. 
  • Copy juggernaut Parris Lampropoulos took us back to the basics when he explained that "practice makes permanent, not perfect." And advocated for a community or mentors who could provide feedback, course correction, and critiquing (the good kind. Not the fluffy kind).

That Wasn't Even The Best Part

While the content was solid, the best part of the conference was what happened between and after the presentations: The community. 

The event brought together an incredible blend of beginners and masters bonded by their mutual affection for this obscure industry they've all arrived at by accident. The connections made and opportunities created at this event mirrored what Kira and Rob have successfully created online (only, it was IRL).

They curated dinners, encouraged joint lunches, and facilitated introductions that will no doubt launch careers, expand businesses, and foster a community of quality direct response copywriters for decades to come.   

Published on: Feb 22, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.