Copywriting is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful tools that you can employ to help propel your business forward, spread your message, and build your community.
However, traditional marketing techniques have (unfortunately) taught us that copywriting should be manipulative, exploitative, and mess with our audience’s emotions all for the sake of a sale.
We believe that, through culturally competent techniques, like feminist copywriting and human-centered marketing, businesses can still grow while creating positive impact that’s responsible, influential, and honest.
If you’re looking for ways to shake up your current copy – whether that’s website, social media, newsletter, or beyond – or start afresh with something new…we’ve got just what you need!
We’re counting down on some of our favorite ways to include feminist copywriting in your marketing – and how this subtle, yet poignant, change can make all the difference!
Real talk: traditional marketing techniques are outdated AF
Since it was conceived, marketing and advertising have been a straight-white-male-dominated world.
This led to an entire industry that’s built on constantly upholding “traditional” (ugh), racist, classist, and misogynistic values that alienate a large percentage of the population.
All this for the sake of maintaining the status quo and keeping the 1% happy with what they’re sold and how they’re sold it.
Through triggering and, oftentimes, exclusionary language, traditional marketing – and copywriting – continue to push the idea that the only way to make a sale and “get rich” is through…
- Shaming the audience into making a purchase
- Using “fake urgency” (never-ending countdowns, promotions, etc.)
- Appealing to a “scarcity mentality”
- Ignoring the nuances that exist within their audience
But, the thing is…consumers today are a lot more aware of sneaky marketing tactics than they were back in the day.
With 24/7 access to the internet, they’ve become hyper-aware of the differences between “marketing done right” and “snake oil salesmen”.
This also means they’ve become a lot more selective of the brands they shop from, the accounts they follow, and the messages they choose to replicate.
And when they see a brand or business do something they feel is missing the mark – like appropriating a social cause solely for the sake of selling a product – they’re not afraid to get loud about it.
As a global business owner – one that’s online and has built an international community through social media – the power is now in your hands!
YOU’RE in charge of changing the game, bashing down these outdated techniques, and paving the way with a new and inclusive approach to marketing that thinks of everyone.
3 ways to incorporate feminist copywriting in your marketing
Breaking the mold and separating yourself from these overwhelmingly popular and traditional techniques is hard – we know, and we’re not the first to admit it!
However, it’s all about hyping yourself up to take the first step towards a more inclusive marketing approach – one that includes feminist copywriting – that can create unimaginable change.
Here are three ways you can start incorporating feminist copywriting in your marketing strategy today.
1. Take yourself through an unlearning process
The first step in adopting a more inclusive approach to marketing and feminist copywriting is by looking back at what you’ve been doing. Then, pick out the places where you’ve fallen into harmful marketing practices and look for ways to get rid of them.
Through this, you’ll begin to train your brain into noticing these harmful techniques before they even come up. And, at the same time, you’ll also be teaching yourself and interiorizing all the different ways in which marketing CAN be done without turning to tricks and lies.
Like any unlearning process, this isn’t something you can do in one day and expect to perfect.
These things take time. They also take a lot of patience and drive. After all, it’s not every day that you need to rewire your brain to think differently from what you’ve been taught…
READ: Femvertising: How Marketing Can Uphold the Gender Binary
But, at the end of the process, you’ll see just how much it’s worth it! Especially when you’re finally able to speak to your audience in a way that helps them feel a part of something without the need to hide or change pieces of themselves.
2. Approach feminism from an intersectional perspective
When approaching feminism, it’s important to remain aware that there are a lot of different perspectives, experiences, and identities that live within the concept.
What does that mean exactly?
Let’s use this example: Black, Indigenous, and women of color and white women live very different experiences within the idea of feminism. While both face scrutiny under the patriarchy, women of color also have to deal with the oppression and exclusions they face because of white supremacy.
This means that there’s no way to equate what white women and Black, Indigenous, and women of color have to go through…and feminism needs to understand that if it truly wants to push forward with the idea of equality.
This is where the importance of intersectionality comes in.
According to UN Women, “intersectional feminism centres the voices of those experiencing overlapping, concurrent forms of oppression in order to understand the depths of the inequalities and the relationships among them in any given context.”
When it comes to your copywriting, approaching feminism from a one-sided – i.e. white – perspective can actually do more harm than good.
By excluding a certain group or erasing them completely from the concept (and from your communications), you’re reinforcing the idea that there’s no room for them to even be there – which, ultimately, takes you back to square one.
Ensuring that you’re not glossing over feminism in your copywriting, but that you’re ready and willing to take into consideration the nuances that live within the concept all at one, will help you create a more including environment where everyone feels seen and welcome, regardless of what society has tried to tell them in the past.
3. Focus on human-first marketing
In conjunction with adopting an intersectional feminist lens, it’s also a great idea to move away from thinking of your audience as “avatars” and, instead, think of them as what they are: human beings.
READ: 3 Ways Manipulative Copy Shows Up in Your Marketing Strategy
Instead of simply thinking about their age, location, sex, and other demographics, try digging a little deeper to learn about what makes them tick, what their idea of success is, how they like to spend their free time, what would make them stop purchasing a product…
Basically, dig into all of the psychographics that will help you better understand their emotions in order to find much more meaningful ways to connect with them through your copywriting.
Because once you’ve learned more about your audience as humans, you’ll also have a much better chance to speak to them as such: this means no monotonous language, no one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter copywriting.
You can actually let your (and your brand’s) personality shine through, as well as highlight meaningful parts of your story such as your values, the causes you stand for, and your beliefs.
The lowdown on incorporating feminist copywriting in your marketing
Marketing today is beckoning for a change. People are tired of being sold to, lied to, and manipulated into buying things they don’t actually need.
They’re also tired of being spoken to in ways with which they can’t relate.
That’s where today’s incoming collective of business owners and marketers can make a difference! By adopting new techniques – ones that incorporate human-first marketing, feminist copywriting, and cultural competence – this new generation can actually change the sleazy, old, tired, and just plain YUCK world of marketing to create one that’s more open and welcoming for all.
Where can you start doing that? Here are three ways!
1. By taking yourself through an unlearning process
2. Approaching feminism from an intersectional perspective
3. And focusing on human-first marketing
Whatever you do, just make sure that you’re being honest about it. If you’re looking to include a feminist approach in your writing, make sure that you’re also putting your actions where your mouth is.
Whether that’s by participating in the movement, amplifying the voices of those who are working towards change, including your feminist beliefs as part of your mission, or donating to causes, leaving it on paper won’t serve you much good.
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