Conscious Copywriting: How to Ethically Speak to Your Reader’s Pain Points

Why it’s important to be conscious of how you position marketing pain points.

As a copywriter, it’s crucial to understand your reader’s pain points. Describing how your offer solves their problems is key to effective marketing.

Relating to your reader’s experiences is helpful. But there’s a difference between empathizing with and harmfully exploiting pain points.

If you want to be one of the good guys in marketing, you definitely need to learn how to speak to pain areas ethically. This blog is here to show you how.

What Are Pain Points?

Pain points are the problems your audience experiences that your product or offer can solve.1

The purpose of speaking to pain points is to show you understand your audience’s experiences. And that your offer is the solution to relieve these pain areas.

For example, your copywriting clients may not have time to create their own marketing content. As a copywriter, you help relieve them of their pain points. You save them time and help their brand grow by creating their content.

Using pain points to show empathy and provide solutions is essential to copywriting. But some marketers go too far and use pain points to manipulate their audience.

Manipulative copywriting uses negative emotions like fear, shame, and guilt as motivators. Exploiting negative emotions is a harmful marketing technique – and it’s not effective.

Consumers are getting more selective about what content they consume and which brands they buy from.

More than ever, consumers are choosing empowering brands that have solid values. So, being conscious of how you use pain areas is more ethical and key to your copy’s success.

5 Ways to Ethically Touch On Pain Points

The golden rule: do not create more pain. 

Today’s world constantly exposes us to negative news and content. The last thing your marketing should do is perpetuate or stir up more pain for your audience.

Instead, paint the vision of a desirable future they want. And empower them to make the right steps to move towards that future.

Here are five ways to put this into practice and ethically touch on pain points:

  1. Play up low-risk, high-emotional benefits. 

    You don’t need to go into deep emotional areas or use unethical motivators to get a response from your audience. Solving high-level annoyances and frustrations are very powerful.

    Saving time, providing clarity, or offering support are all ways to make someone’s life easier. We all have busy lives and want helpful methods to make life a little easier.

  1. Validate your audience’s experiences. 

    Show your audience you understand what they’re experiencing or going through. Showing empathy puts you on the same side of the table with them.

    The goal is to communicate you understand their pain without perpetuating the pain point or using it against them. 

  1. Focus on relief and joy. 

    Instead of harping on a pain point, speak to the opposite of the pain. Help them feel the relief and joy they’d feel by resolving this pain area.

    When you stay focused on adding value and relief, you naturally avoid harmful, fear-based tactics.

  1. View your reader as an individual. 

    It’s tempting to think of your audience as a mass group of people. But your messaging is speaking to one person.

    Picture that you’re speaking to someone close to you, like your sister. How would you want them to feel when reading your message? You’d never want them to be afraid or ashamed – instead, you’d want to empower them.

  1. Write for ethical brands.

    Effective copywriting compels the reader to use the product or service you’re promoting. So, be sure you actually believe in the morality of what you’re selling.

    Finding ethical, compelling motivators to talk about becomes much easier when you believe the offer can benefit someone’s life.

Remember, you should never create new pain points. You’re simply resonating with the ones that already exist in a productive, empathetic way. 

Ethical Pain Point Examples

We could keep talking about how to write pain points ethically. But it may be hard to envision how it actually comes to life in your copy. So, I want to give you some examples.

Here are some manipulative uses of pain points – and how you can ethically reframe them:

Example #1:

Harmful: “Don’t you wish you could stop hiding your glaring, red acne?”

How to Reframe: “Feel confident walking into a room with glowing, clear skin.”

The first example digs at their insecurity and makes them feel ashamed about their skin. The second line casts the vision of how empowered they’ll feel after using the product.

This is a prime example of talking about the positive opposite of a pain point instead of the pain point. You never want to make someone feel bad about themselves.

Example #2

Harmful: “The dress you need to feel confident this season.”

How to Reframe: “Make your Bridgerton dreams a reality with this dress.”

The harm in the first example is very subtle. But it insinuates that the audience needs something to feel good about themselves.

The second line shows they’re beautiful with or without the dress. The product simply enhances their feeling of confidence and excitement about their outfit. Plus, it paints a fun picture in their mind.

Example #3

Harmful Example: “Lose 10 pounds to fit into your pre-kids jeans.”  

How to Reframe: “Feel like your healthiest, most energized self for you and your kids.”

Don’t make the mistake of perpetuating negative stereotypes about someone’s physical appearance. The second line focuses on how they’ll feel instead of how they look, which is much more powerful.

Focusing on more considerable benefits opens up so many more areas for you to talk about. Paint them a picture of what they can do with all that energy and vitality.

Never underestimate your power as a copywriter. Your words have the ability to shape culture and beliefs. You can use your influence for good to reframe narratives for the better.

Want to feel good about the impact you’re making with your work? Use ethical copywriting to promote brands you believe in.

Learn Ethical Copywriting

Want to become one of the good guys in marketing?

It’s always been so, so important for me to teach conscious copywriting techniques.

That’s why my course, Write Your Way to Freedom, teaches you the genuine, ethical ways to write persuasive copy.

Not only is ethical copywriting more genuine, it actually leads to more results. Especially as today’s consumers are getting more thoughtful and selective. 

And when you join Write Your Way to Freedom, you become a part of a thriving and caring community of conscious copywriters who use their skills for good. A successful group of the good guys who enjoy helping their audience by empathizing with their pain points. 

Ready to join us? Apply for a strategy session to see if Write Your Way to Freedom is right for you.

Prefer to Watch?

View my Youtube video on how to ethically touch on marketing pain points. Subscribe here for more tips on conscious copywriting.


  1. Hubspot

About Sarah

I’m an entrepreneur on a mission to help other people become entrepreneurs.
My blog is a place where I provide business building advice and explore how we can create more meaningful work.

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1 thought on “Conscious Copywriting: How to Ethically Speak to Your Reader’s Pain Points”

  1. This is a unique and effective perspective on the craft of copywriting. My thought is that being an ethical copywriter is less about me as a writer and more about my prospective readers. This is far and away the best approach to our craft. Thanks for sharing!


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