Creating Content in Hard Times
I’ve had big plans for content lately. Lots of insightful and educational blog posts. Beautiful, engaging photographs and witty, delightful stories on Instagram. However, if you’re a regular follower of mine, you might have noticed I haven’t shared much recently, except maybe the occasional photo of the World’s Worst Assistant, aka Benson the (World’s Cutest) Pup. This is extremely problematic for me, as my business, my livelihood, is dependent on producing content that attracts potential customers. It helps establish me as an authority in my field and lends credibility to my work. So, in short, if I don’t produce consistent, high-quality content, my business could be in imminent danger.
So why haven’t I been posting ? Because I’ve been struggling with the relentless, endless, horrific news cycle in which we are all stuck. Every day brings new terrors and social media gives us an inside look at our friends, family, and heroes who are deeply struggling and highly triggered by current events. (Perhaps this is a good time to say, to all survivors of sexual assault: I believe you. I hear you. I love you.) How can I write about “frivolous” topics when there is so much suffering? Why would you care about what I’ve created when the world is burning down around us? If that seems a bit hyperbolic, look at it this way - by not acknowledging the news on my feeds, am I complicit in perpetuating abuse? Am I not holding our leaders and my peers accountable? But if I do acknowledge it, do I only add to the detrimental noise?
I’ve decided this - I can only post my narrative. It is the only one I have and it is one that I have worked hard and overcome adversity to share. My work gives me great joy and great pride. It is work that I hope helps others, especially women and young people, to be better in their businesses and/or their workplaces. I hope what I share makes them a little stronger, a little louder, and a little happier. If I can accomplish this, then I know that what I’m doing is not only the opposite of frivolous, but is also supremely important in these uncertain times.
If your business/side hustle/passion project, etc. depends on content to keep it alive, here are my suggestions for producing content in difficult times:
#1) Do what YOU need to do. If you need to take a break from social media, limit your time, or ask for help, do it. Ultimately, self-care and self-preservation is most important. Will you have to work a little harder and network more IRL to reach the same goals and audience that digital content can easily? Yes. But that’s ok. You can do it.
#2) Don’t worry about alienating followers. You’ll hear from experts that you shouldn’t post about politics or religion at the risk of turning away potential customers. This is BUSHI.* First and foremost, do you really want to work with someone who has fundamentally different values? Someone who cannot set aside differences or politely discuss them? No. Think of this as an excellent screening process. This applies whether your business has one employee or thousands. Look at Nike - they have not backed down from their values, and protests against them have only strengthened their brand.
#3) Check in with your people. If you know a friend or acquaintance has been struggling, especially if they’ve been posting about it, don’t hesitate to check in with them. Give them a call, invite them to coffee, and tell them you hear them and you stand with them. If someone you follow online, no matter how famous they are, says something that resonates with you, let them know. We want those with the biggest megaphones to know we stand behind them.
#4) Remember there is still a need for beauty in this world. I struggle to share the light-hearted when others are suffering. But a smile is much harder to come by than a frown right now, and infinitely more valuable. If a post about my dog or a tip about email etiquette makes you smile or helps you through the day, I am so grateful that I was able to give that to you, even if it was only the briefest moment.
#5) Be “positively political.” There are so many people who are doing good work out there - highlight them, instead of all the bad things that actual news outlets are covering. Post things you see in your day to day life that are wins for those struggling. Recently I saw a free pad and tampon machine at the Columbus airport. You bet I posted a picture of that. Why? Because girls and women all over the world miss school and work because they don’t have access to appropriate menstruation supplies. I want to support a city that supports all its citizens.
Thank you for reading - sending so much love to each and every one of you!
*Bullsh*t. My nana’s version of kid-friendly swearing. You’re welcome.