Writing and Communication Advice for Social Entrepreneurs
You came up with a great idea for a business. You even found a super-creative way to integrate social good into your business model. (This is why we love you, DesignGood-ers!) Now you’re thinking about how to spread the word about the good work you’re doing. There’s a lot of storytelling to do when you’re a social entrepreneur: website copy, blog articles, social media posts, crowdfunding campaigns — the list goes on. These six tips can help you captivate your potential followers and customers.
Keep it simple and powerful.
You don’t have to reel off a lot of fancy business terms or social entrepreneurship buzzwords (empower, impact and the like) to impress. The usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group advise limiting that kind of language: “Users are often stumped by these convoluted words and have a difficult time extracting meaning from the content.” Simpler, more conversational language connects with your potential customers in a deeper way.
Make ’em laugh.
“Socially responsible” can come sometimes across as “this is very serious, so we can’t have any fun.” Stand out by using humor in a way that’s appropriate to your brand and its social good component. Sustainability, for example, isn’t exactly a laugh riot, but the folks at BeGood Clothing take a fun approach on their Our Story page to get you interested in the company’s philosophy and production methods.
One of my favorite quotes about writing comes from author Richard Price: “You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.” OK, that’s a really heavy quote. But there’s a valuable message to remember here when you’re describing the social good that your business does. Get beyond abstractions. Make it personal. One way to do this is sharing stories of the people you’re helping, as Connected in Hope and Warby Parker do.
Think excitement, not guilt.
I’ll open my wallet pretty easily for animal charities, but I tend to give to campaigns that aim to get me stoked about the difference I’m making — such as Lil Bub’s Big Fund or The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee’s FUNdraiser — instead of those that hit me over the head with guilt. As a social entrepreneur, communicate in a way that inspires your potential customers and shows them how easy it is to change lives or make the world better by shopping with you.
Cut to the chase.
You love your company’s social mission. You could talk about it or write about it all day. But as much as you’d like to share every single detail or piece of background information, you only have a few seconds to get visitors’ attention on your website. So push yourself to get really clear and concise about how your business gives back. Infographics can help a lot. Check out the websites of Matterial Fix and Soapbox Soaps. They do an amazing job of helping you understand what they do and why they do it, and they leave you wanting to know more.
Remember to proofread.
Don’t let a few misplaced modifiers or pesky it’s vs. its errors derail customers’ trust in the world-changing business you’ve worked so hard to create. Almost three-quarters of consumers say they pay attention to spelling and grammar on brand websites, and more than half say they won’t do business with a brand if its website has poor grammar.
At DesignGood Studio, we love socially conscious businesses and telling their stories. Learn more about how we can help with website copy, social outreach and more.