A loved one told me last week that he doesn’t care about fighting for the environment anymore.
What’s the point? He said.
We’re out there protesting and hauling armfuls of rubbish from beaches and agonising over removing plastic from our weekly shops, and what has actually changed?
Nobody else cares so why should I? We may as well just enjoy our lives.
I get it. I’ve had moments like this myself – I’m sure you have too.
Sometimes it feels the world is so broken there’s no hope of fixing it.
We’re over here trying so hard to make a difference, and all the while Big Business and overconsumption continues to wreak havoc and undo all our efforts.
Obviously though, as purpose-driven business owners, we need to be able to write content that moves people to make a positive change. And inspiring belief is a big part of this.
So how do we continue to cultivate hope through our words when things feel… well, hopeless?
Here are my thoughts.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed
“The thing about climate is that you can be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem or fall in love with the creativity of the solutions.”
I love this quote by climate justice writer Mary Heglar. I thought of it the other day when I was feeling overwhelmed and didn’t think I had anything meaningful or helpful to write.
As compassionate business owners, we desperately want to be able to solve all the world’s problems. And it hurts to know we can’t. But what we can do is refocus our mental energy on the smaller, specific ways we’ve chosen to help through our businesses.
I recommend this article by Pattie Gonia – drag queen and environmental and LGBTQ+ activist. It’s where I came across the Mary Heglar quote. Pattie talks about how to find your unique actions by looking at the intersection of what brings you joy, what you’re good at, what communities you’re part of, what work needs doing, etc.
If you’re trying to write your copy but your mind is bogged down by the state of the world, try taking a deep breath, clearing your mind, and tuning back in with your own unique actions.
I’m often surprised by a flutter of hope when I block out the noise and write from deep within myself.
Lean into the power of storytelling
Storytelling is another technique you can try when you’re not feeling particularly positive.
I find that starting with a personal anecdote gives me a way into a piece that allows my thoughts and feelings to take shape. It helps me find meaning and gets the creative juices flowing.
Plus, it’s a super powerful way to connect with your audience.
A reader is approximately 22 times more likely to remember something if it’s told as part of a story. * That’s huge! If a reader remembers something from your content, they’re going to be more likely to make a habit change or take action with your brand.
Why is storytelling so effective? Because it lets us connect deeply with people on a personal level. It allows readers to come on our journey with us. It helps us illustrate our ‘why’ or a problem in a way that is memorable and engaging. It prompts people to see things from a fresh perspective. It stirs something inside, moving people to take action or make a positive change.
Next time you’re feeling deflated but need to write some content, try digging into a personal anecdote and see where it takes you.
*Source: Actual Minds, Possible Words by Jerome Bruner
Empower readers with a tangible takeaway
Another way to make your piece feel more hopeful is to highlight a small action readers can take to help.
Say you’re writing about forever chemicals in the ocean. It’s an absolutely disastrous situation but if people had a petition they could sign? If they knew some swaps they could make? That’s an instantly more hopeful piece.
We feel helpless when we want to fix the problem but don’t know where to start.
When we’re armed with specific actions we can take, we feel like we’re making progress.
Uplift other change-makers
You could also shout out or spotlight brands or organisations you admire who are doing good things for the planet.
This is a positive way to help your audience find more eco-conscious brands to buy from, businesses to partner with or organisations to get behind.
It’s also a simple way to bolster hope as it reminds us that lots of people do care and are doing incredible work! Like Mary Heglar says, get inspired by the creativity of the solutions.
Inspire your audience with your own impact
If you’re making a difference with your business (which I know you are), make sure your audience can see it.
You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops if that’s not your style, but having clear signifiers of your impact throughout your marketing can be inspiring to your audience. It might prompt a change or action they hadn’t thought of previously.
Keep it clear, digestible and visually appealing.
Here are some ideas:
- Create an Impact page or Environmental Policy for your website
- Pop badges in your website footer of relevant memberships you’re part of (e.g. 1% for the Planet, GreenSpark, The Ethical Move, Clean Creatives…)
- Do you offer any sort of donation- or time-based impact through your business? E.g. for each new client you adopt a sea turtle or remove X amount of plastic bottles from the ocean or do a beach clean-up or fund X amount of seagrass seeds, etc. Put these on your website if so!
- Learn alongside your audience. What I mean by this is, whenever you learn about a new initiative or a more eco-conscious way of doing something, you could share a quick post about it on social media
- Some of my favourite eco-conscious creatives do a regular round-up of their impact, either on social media or their blog. I find these really inspiring as I might spot ideas I hadn’t though of that I can then add to my impact goals
Authenticity is greater than positivity
Finally, I just want to say: I don’t think your copy always has to feel positive and uplifting.
If you’re feeling angry, down or demoralised, I reckon it’s okay to let that show in your content. It’s honest. It’s human.
I feel much deeper connection with brands that weave their thoughts and frustrations into their content (take Patagonia for instance) than those that keep a sheen on things.
And you know what? Being honest and authentic is a fast-track to building trust. You might even find it encourages your audience to reach out to you and start a conversation. I know I’ve done this with business owners in the past!
Just be sure to have a clear intention about the purpose of your piece and what you’d like your reader to take away from it. That way, if you feel yourself wandering off into a rant or getting lost in your emotions, you can refocus on your reader and pull your copy back to ensure it achieves its purpose.
Writing is cathartic, though, so let yourself write it out first before you go back and edit!
I hope this has given you some ideas on cultivating hope in your copy when the world feels dark and gloomy.
If you’d like to chat further or need my help with your copy, feel free to get in touch.
Sustainability is no easy ride, that’s for sure. You’re doing great.
Until next time,
Keep making waves!