Does it ever bother you to lie about products, services or ideas in your copy?
As copywriters, we need to convince people that the thing we’re writing about is great, effective, safe, and true. But what if it isn’t?
I’m vain enough to believe my words have power. They can move people to action. And I don’t want to move people to buy things that don’t work.
While trying to satisfy your client, you need to respect the reader as well. Your target audience is not stupid. They feel it when you’re being insincere. And this will result in poor sales.
If you’re honest, your readers will find you credible and authoritative — and will be more inclined to trust and buy from you.
My list of copywriter’s ethics is this:
Always tell the truth
Good writing is about telling the truth in a creative way, not trying to deceive the reader into believing something that isn’t true.
Call things what they are
A confusing and misleading copy can end up hurting my business.
Use inclusive language
For example, using “he” or “she” when referring to someone without identifying whether that person is male or female is sexist.
Credit sources of information and images
Never pass off other people’s work or thoughts as my own.
Make people feel good
Educated, inspired, informed, or entertained — this is what feel good means after reading someone’s copy.
Don’t waste people’s time being unhelpful. Make the content worthy of the time spent reading it.
Respect your reader
Never judge people on the size of their wallet, the place they come from, or the opinions they have. Don’t make them feel out of place.
Never dupe folks into what they don’t want, don’t need, or can’t afford.
What would you do if your project has a problem with ethics? Would you turn down a potential client?
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