You may have noticed what divisive times we’re living in. Extremes of opinion are splitting families and friends. Here are just a few examples:

  • Trump v Clinton
  • Brexit v Remain
  • Masks v No masks
  • Vaccination v Non-vaccination
  • Russia v Ukraine

We’re living in an age of fake news, anger and mistrust. There have even been protests in Canada!

When I spoke to Shelle Rose Charvet recently, she said:

“Professional communicators need to take on the role of healing relationships. Healing souls. How can copywriters engage people in that?”

It really made me think. How does copywriting do good to readers? How does it contribute to the planet?

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”
Desmond Tutu

I started my copywriting career in the home shopping sector. Some might say it was my job back then to promote fast fashion and household goods with built-in obsolescence, made by underpaid workers, modelled by people with an artificial standard of beauty, and sold to people who couldn’t really afford them.

Today, I help (mostly) small businesses to promote their brands, products and services so the owners can make more money to pay their bills and buy shoes for their children.

It’s my job to make, say, a local accountant who contacts me sound as though they are the best accountant in town even if they’re not – without lying. I can’t wait until the best accountant in town wants me to write copy for them. There are certainly clients I won’t take on for ethical reasons.

I also train and mentor aspiring copywriters. I share what I’ve learned, and help them avoid the mistakes I made when I first went freelance.

A new mentoring programme starts in April. More details here

When my courses were held on-site in London, I used to ask the trainees to team up and write a headline to sell the plastic cups on the table. Until a few years ago, they would grab a plastic cup and immediately get stuck in. More recently, they all started saying: Ooh, plastic, that’s going to be hard sell” and the headlines they write are quite different.

As Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a-changing.

I confess I don’t know the answer to the question in the headline. But I’m thinking about it.

Watch the rest of my conversation with Shelle here.

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