It’s another week in the post-pandemic world, and my Now What series continues with what’s been working for me as I navigate how to communicate with readers, clients and colleagues. This week, I’m exploring how context enriches connections.
Context is something I’ve written about before, both as it relates to branding and storytelling. Contextualizing your content means tying it back to core messaging: the why, the how. It helps guide audiences unfamiliar with your brand from a particular message to your core mission.
We’re all reorienting our communications to the ever-evolving realities around COVID-19 and its effects on society. Under those circumstances, context is helping me find my footing in these shifting tides.
How do you fit into the larger narrative?
Individually and as organizations, we’re all trying to figure out new roles now that global pandemic has reshaped our world.
And in this quest, we’re looking to peers, to role models, to networks and institutions to see what everyone else is doing.
There are countless opportunities to connect with audiences and to strengthen your brand. Be open with the decisions you’re making, the ways you’ve adapted and the questions that lie ahead.
Whether you’re planning a campaign, announcing operational updates or just trying to think of content for your newsletter, fill your readers in on the behind-the-scenes in ways that will matter to them.
In doing so, you’ll infuse your communications with transparency, authenticity and empathy. This context enriches connections with your audiences because it telegraphs trust: You trust them with sometimes vulnerable messages, and you are a trustworthy source of honest information.
Context-Enriching Connections: Question Prompts
To share context that supports your communications and remains relevant to readers, ask (and answer) the right questions:
- How does your organization fit into the broader community narrative?
- How are you helping others cope during this time?
- What kind of help do you most need to continue your work?
- How are you adapting to the new normal?
- What are your greatest challenges? Those you’ve overcome, and those that remain?
- If you’ve had to make major adjustments to programs, services, or events, what considerations have you taken into account?
- On a related note, if you’ve had to make changes to operations or policies, and the reasoning may not be immediately apparent, explain why.
- How are you prioritizing safety? Service?
- What have you learned during this time?
- How are you accommodating staff? How are they coping with working from home?
- What remains the same–what values, what goals, what practical operations have survived?
- What’s on the horizon for your organization: What questions remain, and what information are you awaiting to make those decisions?
- What do you want to know from your audiences: What stories can they share, questions can they ask, feedback can they provide that will help you continue to serve them?
Remember: Your stories need to matter to your audience. Context is a bridge from you to your reader, guiding you closer together even when we’re socially distant.
Here’s what I want to know from you: What stories have resonated the most with your audiences since the pandemic struck? What are the stories you’re struggling to tell?