If you Google “ethical copywriter,” you will get as many definitions as search results. That’s ok as long as copywriters are clear about what they mean. At Brandcendent, our ethical copywriting services are guided by trauma-informed principles. Those include consent and transparency in the client experience and the copy itself. Read on for more on what to look for in an ethical copywriter and how they can help you attract amazing clients.
What We Mean by “Ethical Copywriter”
Let’s start with what we don’t mean when we say “ethical copywriter.” We certainly don’t mean that we only work with nonprofits or businesses who have an explicit mission about sustainability. Most of our clients are entrepreneurs who are trying to make good money to improve their lives and those of their immediate communities. We’re excited to support them with great marketing material. The more good people with money, the better!
Instead we focus on responsible ways of communicating effectively. Conventional marketing advice encourages business owners to get clients in a heightened emotional state in order to make a sale. It’s often manipulative and potentially triggering people’s shame and trauma. Trauma-informed marketing takes a different approach. In copywriting, it means using a framework of choice, consent, and clarity.
What Ethical Copy Looks Like
1. Centering Clarity
Most of us have had this experience: A business coach we follow starts hyping an offer. We’re so drawn in by the emotion of the marketing that it takes a while to realize we don’t even know what the offer is.
Don’t get us wrong, poetic, emotive language can be effective. To be ethical, though, you need to make relevant details easy to find. Potential clients should always know what to expect.
Here are examples of how an ethical copywriter incorporates clarity:
- Listing prices in easy-to-find places
- Explaining the ins and outs of a client experience
- Being honest about for whom a service is a good fit (nothing is one-size-fits-all)
2. Leaving Pain Points in the Dust
Remember how we mentioned that marketing strategy of getting people in their feelings about their problems? That’s pain points marketing. A ethical copywriter will go above and beyond to avoid it.
Here are some strategies that an ethical copywriter can use instead of pain points marketing:
- Focus on the positive experience your solution brings as opposed to the discomfort the problem causes
- Showcasing results through magnetic storytelling
3. Embracing Nuance
An ethical copywriter also knows how to be effective without relying on extremes. In our opinion, that unnecessary urgency sounds cliche anyway. You want to stand out, not become white noise.
Here’s an example of how an ethical copywriter can choose nuance over extremes:
Instead of: “STOP posting Reels every day.”
Try: “Post Reels frequently IF you’re trying to grow your audience. Here’s my best tip for making them effective.”
Notice that the first tactic relies on alarming people and making them feel bad about their approach to marketing. The second lays out when posting frequently can be effective and points to more useful information to come.
What It Means for the Client Experience
As you can see, clarity is really powerful in your copy. It’s also an important part of the client experience when you’re working with an ethical copywriter. We work hard to design our client experience around those trauma-informed principles of clarity, choice, and consent. It results in some subtle but helpful features.
Here’s an example of each principle in action in our client experience.
For our website copywriting services, we share next steps in every email. You know what deliverables to look out for and what we need from you.
Whenever we ask for client feedback, we give you a choice for how you prefer to respond. We send feedback questionnaires but give you the options to respond via voice memo or video. A lot of people hire us to do copy because they express themselves better orally. We can accommodate that without issue.
Anytime you fill out a feedback form, we ask your explicit permission to share your reviews in our marketing.
The Difference an Ethical Copywriter Can Make
At the end of the day, you‘re looking for a copywriter to help you attract clients. An ethical copywriter can do something even better. They can attract great clients whose values align with yours. Just as you make room for your humanity in your marketing, they’re more likely to make room for yours.
Imagine What’s Possible for Your Marketing
Imagine if every company used ethical copywriters. Fear-based marketing would become a thing of the past. Businesses would stop telling us what we need without knowing about our lives. Those patronizing, shame-y Noom ads would leave our Instagram feeds and never come back. In its place, we’d create a world of solutions, encouragement, and connection.
Sound like a journey you’re ready to take? Here are two ways we can help:
- Reach out to learn how we can support you with ethical marketing services! We can create email campaigns, SEO-powered web copy, and blog posts to connect you with your dream clients.
- Get our favorite trauma-informed marketing tips straight to your inbox when you join our mailing lists! Sign up here.