Top tips for copywriting in the social good space

In today’s world of automation, AI tools and productivity hacks, we run the risk of missing out on the value of real, human writers. 

As we learned during the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike, generative AI tools like ChatGPT will never replace writers. AI simply doesn’t carry the same depth of human emotion and empathy, which is why writers argue it should only be used as a research or brainstorming tool.

Writers who have the ability to generate engaging, compelling and precise copy are a valuable resource for any company, no matter its size, industry or end goal. 

This is especially true for the social good sector. Communicating a message to the public that’s equal parts galvanising, inspiring and mobilising is half the battle when it comes to fighting for change.

As a professional writer and ROI’s Content Lead, I’m passionate about creating content that encourages readers to think differently and take inspired action. Throughout my career as a copywriter and journalist, here are a few of the key lessons I’ve learned about creating compelling content:

1. Less is more

Whether you’re drafting key messages for a campaign or a digital newsletter, it’s usually best to keep the copy clear, concise and direct. If you’ve been knee-deep in a project for months, it can be tempting to include all the information at once. However, too much wordy text, facts and figures can be overwhelming for the reader, and they may lose interest.

Try to pare the copy down to only the essentials, and avoid run-on sentences. Even if you’re working on a piece of long-form content, try to include only the salient information and keep sentences clean. A good rule of thumb is to keep the lead-in sentence of your content to 30 words or less. This may mean more work for you, but less work for the reader—as Mark Twain famously said, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.

2. Use active language

With any piece of content or communication, you’re typically writing it with an end goal in mind. Whether you’re hoping to raise awareness about your mission, drive donations, or increase event sign-ups, all of your communications efforts should rally around your organisation’s key objectives. 

With this in mind, it’s best to use active language that’s inspiring and galvanising for the reader. Try to avoid passive sentences like “money was raised” or “patients were treated”—instead, always use the active voice and opt for strong verbiage that will keep the reader engaged.

3. Focus on emotive storytelling

At the end of the day, every company operating in the third sector is fighting for some kind of positive change in the world. The copy you create should reflect this, and activate empathy in the reader. 

Whether you’re fighting for animal rights or equality in healthcare, always be sure to humanise the mission by focusing on the stories of real people. Content that tells a real story of struggle, strife and triumph will always touch people and drive them to action. Use emotive language and include specific details that will paint the picture for your readers.

If you’re interested in discussing ROI’s copywriting services or learning more about writing for the social good sector, feel free to reach out using the contact page.

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