We all create content, businesses do, website developers do, copywriters do and content marketing professionals do just to name a few, however it’s imperative that you can deliver on all of the promises you make within the content you create. You cannot gain the trust of your audience and hope to turn them into customers without it. It could also spell the end of your business, if you cannot back up your claims because it could mean serious legal trouble if you don’t.

In their legal departments, large companies have people who review all of their copy and make sure there won’t be any possible problems, I know I have worked out content marketing plans were all content had to be approved by such departments. Other businesses have an attorney or specialist that looks at their copy.

But for a small business, it’s simply too expensive to get legal consultation for each piece of copy that you write and you’d go bust doing it. You therefore have to take on the responsibility and do it yourself.

How do you do this? When writing your copy, you have to take every single statement and make sure that you can back up whatever claims you make. Your copy must be free of outright lies or deceptive wording. A few of the things to be careful about are:

  • Claims of something being free or offered at a deep discount. Don’t create a bait-and-switch kind of scenario where you’re calling something free that technically isn’t.
  • Money back guarantees and refunds. Your policies on this should be clear and stated upfront. Don’t claim that you’re more generous in your copy because whatever it is you offer, you have to honor it.
  • Superlatives such as “best,” “lowest-priced,” “fastest,” etc. Only use these words if you’re confident that you actually are the best, lowest priced or fastest. Instead, it’s better to explain exactly how good, fast or low-priced your offering is with real data, this is why case studies are so popular.
  • Social proof that isn’t actually proof. Never hire people to write fake testimonials for you even if your competitors are. In getting your social proof, do it honestly and transparently, work on the assumption that you might have to provide the name and address of every one who gives you a testimonial if asked.
  • The phrase “no questions asked” should be avoided unless you’re really not going to ask any questions.
  • No obligation and no purchase necessary. Again, only use these phrases if there truly is none and that means zero.

All of this may seem like common sense and it really is. After all, what business would purposely make false claims in order to earn a profit?

Always remember that content marketing (copywriting) is creative work, and because each piece of content you create has a purpose, it’s easy to get carried away and misrepresent something slightly whilst trying to make a point. But even a slight misrepresentation could turn into a full-scale lawsuit if somebody questions it (and has a good legal team).

If you have a good product, know your audience, and have some copywriting skills, there’s never any reason to do anything deceptive. Being honest, transparent and authentic is the only way to write copy ethically and safely. It’s also the best way to engage your audience, which generally leads to more customers and higher profits.

Words Make Promises: How to Avoid Losing Your Business to a Massive Lawsuit
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