“It’s hard to keep apocalypse in mind, especially if you want to get out of bed in the morning”
If you run a sustainable business or have an element of sustainability to your business, sooner or later, you’re going to want to write about your values. And you should. In the UK, 65% of shoppers stop to think about sustainability before grabbing their credit card. The trouble is, talking about sustainability isn’t easy. It can feel like treading a tightrope with the shark-infested waters of eco cliché on one side and the bed of nails that is eco preaching on the other.
So, here are my top tips for hitting the right note with your purpose paragraphs.
1. Be specific
Give us all the juicy details. Rather than just telling us you’re ‘sustainable’, tell us exactly how.
2. Make it personal
If you care about saving paper because you live by an ancient forest, tell us. If you donate to turtle conservation because you saw one on holiday, we’d love to know. It gives your story depth, meaning and a point of difference.
3. Say it your way
Skip the boring corporate language – ‘we believe’, ‘creating change’, ‘people and planet’ – and speak like you would to a friend. If it feels hackneyed or overused, find a new way to say it.
4. Be honest
It’s okay to be a work in progress. Everybody is. Talk about where you’d like to be as well as where you are right now.
5. Show don’t tell
One way to sidestep the bullshit is to show rather than tell. Don’t tell people you care about people and planet, show them by focusing your copy on actions not feelings.
6. Keep it simple
Speak in plain terms your readers will understand instead of hiding behind flowery green language. Similarly, long paragraphs of text will only turn your reader off. Keep it short and digestible.
7. Be optimistic
Talking about the planet burning and the elephants dying, whilst it might be true, is a sure-fire way to turn people off. People like to feel hopeful, optimistic. Let your copy reflect that mood.
8. Use humour
This may not work for every brand, but if you can inject some fun into your sustainability copy, you’ll get people on side and make it more memorable.
9. Make it about your customer
Rather than making it all about you, think about what benefits your actions have for your customer. Why should they care? That’s where the originality and the sustainable copy gold lies.
10. Don’t preach
Telling your customer what they need to do and making them feel guilty? Not very appealing. Instead, keep it light and focus on the benefits.
Want me to take a look at your purpose paragraphs? Need help with your sustainability sentences? Get in touch.
Seen any great sustainability copy? I’d love to know. You’ll find me over on Twitter.
First published on lumenandfoxwords.com