How can ethical marketers create powerful written copy without compromising integrity? Marketer Lynn Serafinn explores this from the 7 Graces perspective.
There is no doubt about it: the Internet forms the cornerstone of our communication and information systems. As marketers, we are engaged in both the communication and information fields. All marketing is an act of communication that we have something of value to share. But for the ethical marketer, information is equally important to communication. Old-school marketing strategies are designed simply to ‘persuade’ people to buy, by whatever means. New paradigm marketing strategies, such as the 7 Graces model, are designed to educate and empower our audience, so they can make informed decisions of whether or not to buy.
There’s a world of difference between the two.
And in the world of Internet marketing, you can really recognise this difference in the way that marketers create their written marketing copy. It’s easy to point out the old-school marketers. Even if they’re not ‘cheats’, they tend to be pushy, vague and fear-inducing.
But ethical marketers face several challenges in trying to be different when they create their online content. The first challenge, of course, is that not everyone is a writer. The second challenge is that there are few models of ethical marketing skills (except here at the 7 Graces Project and other companies like us), so marketers who want to do it differently sometimes feel like they’re swimming upstream against the current without a compass.
Even if you decide to hire a professional copy writer, to be worth their salt, a really good copy writer has to be able to get into the heart and soul of you, your business AND your audience. But when I was just starting out in my business, very few I met were able to achieve this.
So let’s start by looking at a model we can use to explore the subject of copy writing: The 7 Graces of Marketing model. Here’s the complete list of the 7 Graces for those of you who might not be familiar:
1. CONNECTION – to aspire to unity with Self, people and planet
2. INSPIRATION – to give value, express generosity and share wisdom freely
3. INVITATION – to practice openness, engagement, hospitality and respect
4. DIRECTNESS – to embrace simplicity and straightforwardness in our communication
5. TRANSPARENCY – to express who we really are and what we value most in both personal and professional life
6. ABUNDANCE – to aim towards sustainable wealth through ecological and economic
7. COLLABORATION – to continually seek ways to create truly innovative projects together
Having someone on your team who knows how to write effective marketing copy is vital to any business. But having someone who can create copy that incorporates these 7 Graces – ensuring your message is ethical, respectful, relevant and engaging with your audience – is imperative if you wish to build a new paradigm business. For that reason, over the next 6 articles, I’ll be sharing some of my tips for doing just that.
Bringing the Grace of CONNECTION into Your Marketing Copy
Like many of the 7 Graces, Connection is one of those words that gets tossed about casually, without necessarily bringing out its true meaning. To create ‘grace-full’ marketing copy, we need to draw upon deep Connection:
- Within ourselves
- Between ourselves and our business / work
- Between ourselves and our audience
When these three relationships are firmly rooted in the Grace of Connection, your marketing messages become congruent. How many times have you seen adverts or read Internet copy that make you squeamishly uneasy because they were saying one thing and you were feeling another? Many self-help products on the web – from diet plans to business courses – are frequently incongruent because they feign to offer help and solutions, but the marketing copy itself makes you feel nervous and insecure. If you have ever hired someone to write your marketing copy for you, and you have felt there was a ‘mis-match’ in it, it’s because the Grace of Connection was missing.
That said, good marketing copy is not simply a matter of thinking ‘We are all one!’ while you’re writing. There are many technical and structural things that bring this Connection down to earth and make it actually useful for your audience. We’ll be exploring these practical considerations in several of the later Graces, especially the Grace of Directness.
Bringing the Grace of INSPIRATION into Your Marketing Copy
Like the Grace of Connection, the word Inspiration is also often overused and watered down. While on the one hand, many ‘old school’ businesses create copy that is dry as dust, the web copy for many ‘new age’ businesses can waft so lyrically as to be confusing.
Inspiration does not mean to be poetic or to use pretty words. To write inspiring marketing copy (literally) means your words should ‘breathe life into’ your audience.
How do you do that? Well, for one thing, you give people what THEY want, not what you’re dying to tell them. If you’ve achieved the Grace of Connection in step 1, you should have a really good understanding about what it is they’re looking for. Typically, when someone lands on your website, they’re seeking one of three things: information, products or services. People will only buy products and services with confidence if they already have the information they need to make an informed decision. If you want your marketing copy to exude the Grace of Inspiration, be free with your information and wisdom, and make it a conscious part of your ongoing marketing plan to continue to build a library of informational content for your audience.
While providing people with the information they need is vital, we should also include Inspiration in the method by which we deliver that information. One ideal, inspirational delivery method is through stories. Storytelling is part of our ‘meta-culture’. Human beings crave stories. Almost from birth, we are natural storytellers and story listeners.
When I write marketing copy for my book launch clients, I always include compelling stories. A good story can form the foundation of anything from a book trailer script to a promotional article. Stories help to bring the audience together with you into a common space. They also transcend the literal meaning of their words, saying many things that are actually unspoken. This makes stories tremendously powerful (and inspirational) vehicles in marketing copy.
But, again, these stories must be grounded firmly within the Grace of Connection or they may appear to be manipulative. For example, I recently read a book on nutrition where the author shared no fewer than 20 different letters from past clients. He said he was doing this to illustrate how his nutritional strategies addressed a wide variety of ailments, but in addition to sharing their stories, he also included all the bits where the clients sang his praises over and over (and over). After the first three letters, I was well and truly sick and tired of hearing this author use his clients’ well-intended letters for blatant self-promotion. I felt like I was being ‘played’ and I seriously regretted having spent money on the book! I know that’s not ‘marketing copy’ but the same would be true if you were writing an article or blog post. Use the stories to deliver a message and make a point; don’t use them for self-aggrandisement. There is a place for testimonials on your website, but that place is NOT when you’re delivering informational content.
Coming up next time…
I hope this kick-starts you thinking about the qualitative aspects of your own marketing copy. In the next article, we’ll be looking at the Graces of Invitation and Directness (much overlooked and EXTREMELY important!). In Parts 3, 4 and 5, we’ll explore the Graces of Transparency, Abundance and Collaboration. Then, finally in Part 6, we’ll round off this series with some of my top writing tips on how to construct your marketing copy from a practical level.
Be sure to subscribe to the 7 Graces blog so you can be sure you’ll receive the entire series. And do have a browse around the site and leave a comment before you go.
And lastly, if you’re looking for help in writing marketing copy for your ethical business or non-fiction book, drop us a line via the contact form on this site.
23rd October, 2013
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The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing.
Brit Writers Awards Finalist
eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically, by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media.
eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)