This year is already starting off with a lot of trying events -- some carrying over from last year (and before that) and some emerging -- and we haven't even gotten to the primary elections yet. I try to have a focus for our work every year and this one it's hope.

I'm not suggesting we spin stories up into false narratives or promote toxic optimism. That's not reality and it's dishonest in addition to damaging. But while we're out here couching things truthfully and accurately, we can undergird it with hope and include (whenever our clients will let us) something to be hopeful about the situation. It's just too easy to fall into the 'all is lost and nothing I can do will make a difference'. We're gonna resist that to the bitter end!

something always goes and something always comes in to its place, and the hope of the people endures forever.
thad stem junior

How to have hope when the news is bad

I was on a call with a bunch of other climate scientists and communicators the other day, and if ever there's a group would could feel hopeless, I'd understand if you thought we were. But, we're not. Yeah, the world is (sometimes literally) on fire, but we know that small actions add up and individual pressure on policymakers and corporations multiples to have an effect. We know exactly how bad things are -- but we still wake up every day ready to do something -- anything -- to overcome the overwhelm and heal the planet. Do we have days where we feel like crap about it all? You bet. But in the main, we know that hope (alongside empathy, action and even anger) is the fuel we need.

How to integrate hope into content marketing

One way we'll operationalize this is when we're producing content about hard things -- like climate change, cancer, heart disease, health equity and the myriad other difficult topics we help our clients communicate about -- we're going to include hope. I plan to do this in the political consulting and advocacy work I'm doing this year, too.

That means asking questions like:

  • What's one thing that you're hopeful about here?
  • Why should our audience feel hopeful about what lies ahead?
  • What's one tangible act audience members can take?

I'm not naive enough to believe we can get that messaging into everything we produce, but if we ground ourselves in the answers it influences our approach and ultimately the content we produce. That's gotta count for something.

Want to explore how you can leverage hope this year? Schedule a free 15-minute call here. (Of course we can't solve hope in 15 minutes, but we can connect over it and take it from there!)

Related Content