In trying to decide what to share with you this week, I found myself stopping over and over, scrolling through Instagram, reading posts about the current horrifying situation happening here in the US and I realized – we should probably talk about that, huh?
Not the immigrations issue itself – if you follow me on Instagram you already know how I feel – but more specifically, how do you post about really intense/sad/scary topics in between regular content? Especially if, like me, your content is generally upbeat and motivating.
While we’re mostly talking about political issues in this post, this it could also apply to more intense personal issues – death, divorce, trauma. My dog recently passed away, which caused me to stop working for a few weeks, and I had to figure out how to talk about where I had been. In a sea of posts about blogging, promotions for an upcoming masterclass, and my general happy content I wondered – how much does my audience really care? (Spoiler: it turned out to be a TON.)
On the political side, I take a stand on a lot of blogging + social media issues and for me, it’s on-brand to take a stand on political + human rights issues too. I feel a moral responsibility to use my platform for good. To remind my audience how they can easily contact their lawmakers if they are also opposed to what is happening.
Thousands and thousands of people are watching me, listening to me, and taking my advice every week. I’m lucky enough to live in a state where my representatives are rallying to make changes I agree with, but I know that many of my readers live in states with lawmakers whose views they oppose.
It can be really easy to feel helpless in moments like these, so I shared Instagram stories about ResistBot (which allows you to contact your representatives by texting RESIST to 50409), links to organizations that take monthly recurring donations (see the list I posted here) and an article on Cup of Jo that explains what’s going on and offers multiple options to help.
I’ve been outspoken about the issues that are most important to me for years, so it’s become less scary to add a political post occasionally, but here are some of the things that worried me when I first considered publishing political posts.
Will my audience be pissed if I share my views?
Truthfully, they might. But a lot of your audience might appreciate seeing you take a stand and understanding what’s important to you. I know I’ve appreciated seeing all the posts from other bloggers and business owners sharing rage + resources over the past couple of weeks and followed a handful of action-takers they’ve recommended as well.
Personally, if people are unhappy that I took a moment, out of the hundreds of posts I publish every year, to support something that’s important to me then maybe I’m not the blogging coach they should follow. Like it or not, I’m human, I have feelings and opinions, and if someone prefers an opinion-less, feeling-less blog then they may be better off following a corporation or magazine.
How do I add political or other intense posts along with my regular content?
If you blog about things that are generally colorful, happy, and upbeat you may be throwing a full-stop into your content by sharing something political, intense, or negative, but that’s not necessarily bad. If it’s out of the ordinary, it will definitely get people to stop and read.
For example, Elsie Larson of ABeautifulMess.com did a great job of posting Instagram stories urging her audience to take action. She kept her design on brand (white background, black type, with a few pops of color) and wrote a 3-story note to her audience – genuine and straight from her heart. It visually fit with her regular posts, but was definitely different from the DIY’s and recipes she usually shares.
It may also be possible to make posts relevant to your audience. Parenting bloggers will probably have the easiest time with the current immigration crisis. But maybe you have a story or experience that offers a small connection and share why this issue is important to you.
What happens if people want to argue?
This might happen – it’s happened to me. To be prepared for any disagreement, I do my best to research before I post so that if someone disagrees I’ve got my facts and sources to back up what I’ve written.
In the end though, it is your space and you get to decide where the discussion goes. Maybe you have the time and energy to engage, maybe you don’t. You can always let commenters know that you won’t tolerate rude comments or engage in an argument. But sometimes, especially if you are rocking some privilege, engaging in a discussion is one of the best things you can do.
I first sent this post as an email to my list, so I wanted to add an update about the response because that tends to be what most people worry about.
I received a total of 4 replies to my email. Two said something like “Thank you for sharing this!” and two said something like “This bums me out. I have no interest in your political views.”
Email stats-wise, while this one got a lot less replies, my open rate, clicks, and unsubscribes were all about average for my weekly emails.
In the end, an occasional unrelated post about something you’re passionate about or an experience you’re having is probably going to have a more positive than negative effect. You likely will not see a mass exodus and it may actually create a deeper connection with your biggest fans and make some occasional readers like you even more.
This post was originally delivered to my email list and has been added to.