[MUSIC] Hey there, welcome back. In this lesson, I'm going to start to touch on ethics and professionalism for content marketers. Now, this isn't going to be a comprehensive discussion. But what I want to do is touch on some of the things that can and do get people into trouble of different kinds. So first things first, I'm not an attorney. And even if I was an attorney, I couldn't give you legal advice, because I haven't retained you as a client. So before we talk about anything else let's talk about the role of legal staff in organizations and why you should build a relationship with them. So if you are freelancing for an organization or employed by an organization that has an in-house legal staff, the first thing you want to do is go make friends with those folks. And talk to them about the best practices for your organization. And trust me, they're going to have some thoughts for you. So it does happen that writers get adversarial with the legal staff. And the reason is we put some writing together, we put some content together, we send it for legal review and it comes back as legalese, which is dry, which is no good. So it's important that you, as the writer for the organization, have a genuine conversation with the legal team about that if you find that that's happening with your content. And the thing you need to convey to the legal team is that legalese doesn't serve the needs of the company because it tends to do a poor job of the business work that the copy needs to do. So as the writer and the marketer it's your job to write content that's clear, compelling, persuasive and that refrains from making any kind of statements that can create legal problems for the company. Now it's the legal team's job to help you on that last point, to advise you what to say, what not to say, what kind of language to use. So you need to work with legal, not against legal. And as a side point to that, as the content marketer, as the voice of the company, as the in-house writer, you make friends with everyone. And it doesn't actually matter if you're an employee or a freelancer, the dynamics work the same way. So you don't participate in silos. You don't participate in politics, except in the sense of just making a lot of allies. And you don't take sides. So go make friends with IT, marketing, sales, accounting, legal, support, every team you can, the founders, the executive team. Every team you can, make an ally, everywhere you possibly can, and listen more than you talk. And the reason this is particularly important for your role, more so than if you had some other role in the company, is that you're the voice of the company, so you need to know how the entire organization works. Everything the good, the bad, and the ugly. You need to know all the pain points, you need to know what the company is amazing at and what it's maybe not amazing at yet. So we have finished up talking about your relationship with other people. Right now we're going to talk about a few questions just about ethics and how to conduct yourself as a content marketing professional. So in one way this could be a two minute session, because by far the most important ethical consideration is never lie in your content. Now we can all tell stories that present our side in the best light we can. And that is your job, as a content marketer is to position the company in the best way you can. The important thing to remember is you must not distort the facts in order to do that. So I was just listening to a radio story about a global meltdown of a big multinational that got caught just flat out lying. And there was a commentator who's calling that ironic given that the facts that the company's behavior were totally at odds with its marketing message. But that's not irony, that's just lying and hypocrisy. And lying always, always, always gets caught in the age of the internet. So if your organization is really, truly lying, they are misstating the facts. They are hiding important facts, and they want you to lie for them. They want your content to participate in this. Of course you have the option of speaking up, it is a good thing to do. To go to, again, your highest ranking ally and say we're saying things that are not true and I am concerned about the future of this organization, because I'm concerned that this is going to get found out. And if it's a good organization they will respect you for that and they will make things right. But in reality, just completely frankly, most organizations won't. If an organization is willing to lie, they typically will not clean up their act because a writer raises his or her hand and says this is not ethical behavior. So if you find yourself in this situation and you may at some point in your career, the wisest action to take from my experience is distance yourself sooner rather than later. Because no matter how hot the company might be writing right now. Eventually they are going to get caught. They're going to fall, and this kind of fall tends to take people with them. You will tend to be tainted by association, have that on your resume. Imagine if you had Enron on your resume? It creates a negative reaction. So these meltdowns are very scary and very traumatic, actually, to be part of. So if you think that you might be in this scenario, I would really advise you to start looking for other opportunities if the organization is not willing to do the right thing. So that's an extreme case you might find that once in your career. You might never find it. I hope you never do. There's a softer side of this not lying business, and that involves setting smart expectations with the clients or the customers of the organization. This one you're going to deal with all the time. And it is going to be much more of a point of, maybe even conflict resolution between you and other people on your team. So let's say that condo in the Bahamas is more rustic than it is luxurious. You need to paint a picture of rustic. Set the expectations properly. Now as a good writer, you'll be good at presenting what you're writing about in its best light without lying about it. But you need to seek out the people who want something rustic in the Bahamas. Something more rougher on the edges. If they get a cabin, a shack on the beach, and they're expecting the Four Seasons, they're not going to be happy. And that's not a scenario for success. And this ties into something that I think is again just like that never lie in your content. It's a good ethical lighthouse, it's a beacon that will keep you off the rocks. And that is always to have tremendous respect for the individuals in the audience that you serve. So you work for a company, they pay you money, that's all good, that's important. But you need to be the advocate for the customers or clients that that company or organization is serving. And that's the best way to promote your organization. That's the best way to encourage the success of that company or that organization. Because a company that serves its customers well is the one that's going to survive the ups and the downs that every company goes through. Economic ups and downs, marketplace ups and downs, supply ups and downs. Every company is going to face good seasons and lean seasons. It'll survive the lean seasons better if it comes with that consummate consummate respect for the customers and audience they serve. And it's your job to be the advocate of that company and show them the right way to do things. And we all know that no company is perfect and no company needs to be perfect. But clear honest respectful communication goes a super super long way, again, to helping that company get through any rough spots and keep the loyalty of the customers.