You may have noticed that we’re living in stressful times.
Nearly 60% of U.S. citizens say that this is the “lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.”
That doesn’t just affect one country, and it’s showing up across the political spectrum. Everywhere we look, there’s a lot of uncertainty about important things, which creates real stress.
And when the world is stressful, it can become really hard to sell almost anything. (Weighted blankets and cookies are doing well. Other stuff is tricky.)
Not because your stuff isn’t valuable. Your product or service might be the exact thing that your audience needs to climb out of that dark spot.
But stress tends to freeze us in place. We don’t want to go forward, sideways, or back. Because any of those might Make More Bad Things Happen.
The confused mind does not buy.
-Ancient marketing axiom
But inaction (by definition) isn’t getting us anywhere.
Whether your audience has big stresses or small ones, this is a great time to help them manage that stress, move forward, and get their lives back.
The times of greatest pain are also the times of greatest opportunity to help.
Here are some strategies I’ve found useful:
#1: Help them focus
You’re going to see an overhaul in 2018 on how Copyblogger approaches education — and I’m thinking of jumping into the fray as well here at Remarkable Communication.
For about 8 years now, Copyblogger has created environments of education and support. We’ve offered big communities (Third Tribe, which became Authority, as well as the Digital Commerce Academy) with a variety of resources on an array of relevant topics. Our students have been invited to self-direct to the advice they need most in that moment.
This coming year, we’re going to build a lot more tangible stepping stones.
Environments are great places to learn and grow when you’re in relative safety. But when things get freaky, we need more sign posts.
Moments of chaos and confusion are excellent times to send out a message:
Here’s the next step. Here’s how to take it. Here’s why it’s safe.
Too many details just add to the overwhelm. Keep the benefits clear and the conversation focused.
We’ll still be providing a supportive, encouraging environment, of course. But the focus is going to be on well-defined steps with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
#2: Help nurture their confidence
I’m a huge fan of coach Dan Sullivan’s observation that an entrepreneur’s first obligation is to protect her confidence.
Not an entrepreneur today? The reality is, as the world gets weirder and weirder, entrepreneurial habits pay off.
Even if you’re not a business owner, you want to get into the habit of thinking and acting like one. That’s been true for at least a decade, but it’s more important now than ever.
Our obligation as content publishers is to help our audiences strengthen those habits — of self direction, consistent action-taking, and confidence.
Narcissists and sociopaths have no trouble believing in themselves. The rest of us have times when we need some help.
Think about how you can encourage your audience, give them the skills they need to create small wins, and help them stay brave when things are looking scary.
Whats one of the best confidence-builders in uncertain times?
Connection. So let’s …
#3: Help them connect
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
– a proverb that may or may not have originated somewhere in Africa
Everyone likes this proverb because it feels good — but I’m going to provide an alternate version.
If you want to go fast, get some damned help. If you want to go far, find a community … and also get some damned help.
The “successful lone wolf” has been a myth for a long time. Humans are more intertwined and interdependent than ever, thanks to the global economy and our friend the Internet.
As someone who builds things, you need to make connection an integral part of your life. Get into as many fruitful conversations as you can. Face-to-face when you can, but most of them will probably be online.
(What are fruitful conversations? The kind where you’re not raging in circles with a stranger on Twitter about something neither of you has the least control over.)
You’ll want to help your audience connect as well. You can do that by building your own opportunities for community, or you can do it by recommending communities that you find nourishing and valuable.
A community that fits that description for me at the moment, by the way, is Tara Gentile’s CoCommercial. It’s a great group of business owners who connect to encourage each other, share advice and best practices, and just generally have each other’s backs.
(That’s not an affiliate link. At least not today. 🙂 )
And a question for you …
I was thinking about throwing together a small workshop for writers, helping to share some of what I’ve learned in nearly 30 years writing for the web.
Would you be interested? What would you want me to cover? What could I teach that would make something meaningful happen for you?
Let me know in the comments!