What does it mean to be a Christian copywriter? Why market yourself as such? Most of the time it’s because you’ve chosen the Christian Market as your niche, or want to convey a certain message about yourself.
When we use the word Christian, we identify ourselves as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. His teachings should then be the guide and rule in how we operate our business and write copy. There are 5 questions that I, as a Christian copywriter, want to ask myself. If you’re a Christian and a copywriter, will you ask them too?
Do I Seek the Well-Being of my Audience?
Jesus’ Golden Rule is applicable to all our copy: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). Can I, in good conscience, write about something that isn’t to the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual well-being of my audience?
Ultimately, I’m accountable to God for what I seek to promote no matter who I work for. Will it promote their well-being? For example, can I write for those who promote the “prosperity gospel,” while knowing it’s unbiblical?
Am I Seeking My Own or My Audience’s Benefit?
Right and proper copy seeks the benefit of the reader, listener, or viewer. It’s ultimately not self-centered but audience-centered. That’s the essence of love—seeking the betterment of one’s neighbor.
Taking some liberty, could we not say: if I write the best persuasive copy and have the greatest return, but have not love—don’t seek the benefit of my audience—“I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1)? Will it really help them in their lives? Or is it just about making money for myself and my client?
Is My Copy Truthful and Factual?
The world of copywriting has many exaggerated claims under the guise of being persuasive. Paul wrote: “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love …” (Eph. 4:14-15). Truth and love are sharply contrasted with cunningness, craftiness, and deceitful schemes.
Is my copy truthful and factual? Or do I add statements that aren’t entirely true in order to have stronger persuasion and a greater response? For example, the email I received from a well-known copywriter, who “quickly” wanted to write me on Saturday morning before going to the gym all day, giving me the impression of his success and, therefore, should buy his product.
Do I Use Manipulation Tactics?
There’s a fine line between persuasion and manipulation, and there’s even a finer line between manipulation and manipulation. Not all manipulation is necessarily wrong, even though it may have that connotation. As long as it is to someone’s (immediate) benefit, there’s a case for it.
However, most manipulation is utterly self-centered, “persuading” the reader to take action with words and phrases that are geared to one’s own gain. Anything that’s not based on plain truth and simple fact basically falls under manipulation.
Does My Audience Feel Respected and Valued?
One of the gurus I’ve been following called me an “idiot” the other day. Unless I opened his email and followed his advice, I was relegated to that camp. Another well-known copywriter stated how I owed it to myself to enroll in his mentorship program. If not, I would be making a foolish decision. I felt demeaned by his words.
As a Christian copywriter, love is to be first, foremost, and final. Without it “I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3), even though I may gain a greater response. I’m writing to real people who should be respected and valued. That’s much more important than making some extra cash. Isn’t the love of money—prizing it higher than people—“a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Tim. 6:10)?
In the world of copywriting there are many moral challenges, especially as a Christian copywriter. There are some definite guidelines, though. Am I writing—working—“as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23)? Am I doing it “all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31)? And, lastly, is love for my neighbor my modus operandi? If not, can I truly call myself a Christian copywriter?
The Christian Copywriter
P.S. I’m planning to start a series on “The Greatest Copywriter.” With all due respect to the great copywriters, God is the greatest “Copywriter.” This series, I believe, will conclusively proof that. You’ll learn from His Maximum Persuasion and Matchless Profit. I invite you to join me. You’ll also get a FREE book when you sign up: www.christian-copywriting.com/sign-up