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Why I Gave Up “A Day’s Wages” To Attend PCN2014

Avaricious - Moliere : l'Avare - Geizhals - 17th century

The annual PCN conference is the only national meeting for copywriters in the UK.

That alone should make it a must-attend event for anyone serious about their craft. Or who just fancies a chinwag IRL with fellow writers.

Last year I remember an amusing tweet from one non-attender with the deathless line, “Why should I give up a day’s wages to listen to people telling me what I already know?”

Why indeed?

Leaving aside the curious use of the word “wages” to describe the professional fees the gentleman earns, why would anyone do such a commercially silly thing as losing money to attend a conference?

I suppose it all depends on what you expect to get out of it. And for me, I see all conferences as investments not as costs. Therefore, the calculation I make is return on investment not “lost wages”.

So, (gain from investment – cost of investment)/cost of investment = ROI.

I went for a number of reasons.

First, I had been invited by Tom Albrighton and Ben Locker to run a breakout session, so it would have been churlish to stay away. (Though I would happily pay to attend even without the obligation to perform).

Second, I like to meet my fellow copywriters face-to-face. It’s great to tweet away merrily, but nothing beats standing around chatting, making eye contact and not being limited to 140 bleeding characters.

Third, I always learn something I didn’t know, so it’s a great place to pick up new ideas and inspiring concepts.

I learned tons from listening to Tim Rich and Rory Sutherland, as well as nearly peeing my pants at the latter’s exuberant style, especially his thoughts on marketing moist toilet paper.

Fourth, I met Eric Moeller, head honcho at CopyDojo and agreed to write a guest post for him.

I also met the marketing director of one of my clients and agreed to run some workshops for him next year.

Without giving too much away, my ROI was healthy.

Will I be there next year? Wild horses…

Will I be happy to pay for a ticket? In cash and in advance if they ask me. (In return for a suitable discount, of course.)

As a trade we are ill served by the mainstream conference outfits. But thanks to PCN we have an annual get-together that more than delivers against any brief I can think of.

Lost wages? I reckon I gained much, much more than I lost.

1 Comment(s)

  1. Eric Moeller

    Hi Andy,

    Great post, and agreed, the benefits of attending far outweighed the costs. Sadly some people fail to see the bigger picture. And from the sounds of it, this person would have benefited from attending your session.

    The presentations were insightful, and the networking opportunities were excellent. Equally important was collaborative and friendly tone to the event. I’ll definitely be back next year and would encourage others too.


    30th September 2014 at 2:40 pm | Reply

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