Is there anyone who hasn’t noticed we’re in the middle of a pandemic? I mean, ok, there have been tales of solo sailors not having a clue until they tried to make it into port.
But other than those people, surely no one has missed the news?
Or missed the fact that there is mass unemployment, either already or looming? Or that those on stretched lower incomes are finding it even tougher at the moment? That our heroes are the people putting themselves on the frontline every single day, from doctors and nurses to refuse collectors and shop workers. Or that there incredible acts of generosity and fundraising for those in need going on every day.
So if you know all those things, why would you think it’s a good time to go ahead and publish this year’s Rich List?
What are we supposed to feel for the list members having an overall fall in the value of their wealth? When you can lose £6bn but still have £16bn left, it’s hard to have sympathy. This against a backdrop of almost a fifth of homes with children going hungry during lockdown.
Could it be any more tone-deaf?
As with comedy, your timing matters
As far as I can tell, The Rich List is published pretty much the same time every year. Which meant this probably existed on a plan, and so it got delivered to the plan.
Which would be great if the world was still working to the same plan.
But when everything around us has changed, it’s probably the time to check your plan. Question your plan, and ask if now is the right time for anything you’d planned.
When did you last review your plan?
I sent out a revised Events & Awareness Days Calendar on Monday. It was only 4 weeks since the last one, but things have continued to change. Even events that had been rescheduled from April to June or even September have now gone from this year completely.
The Notting Hill Carnival is off. The British Grand Prix is off.
So far it’s looking okay for Christmas, but don’t bet on it.
The point is, if you’d planned content around any of those events, it’s probably defunct in its original form. You can’t do your countdown to the event, or your photos from the day. You might tell stories from times gone past when you’ve been at the event, but that means revisiting your plan.
You’re smart enough, indeed wise enough, not to just plough on regardless.
There’s a time and a place
Last week I talked about it being ok to be ok, if you managed to avoid drifting too far into self-congratulation. And of course, there are good news stories, and good people, in the Rich List. And some are perceived as less so, particularly at the moment.
It’s not about burying a story. It’s about thinking about what’s the right time for your customer to hear it.
What’s the aim of your post?
You might wonder if it was wise to go ahead with the Rich List this year, and I would say asking yourself why before you post anything is always a good check. Why are you posting something, what do you hope to achieve? It could be that the Sunday Times wanted to:
1. Continue with a tradition its loyal readers had come to expect
2. Generate headlines and traffic at a time when print consumption is falling even faster than before
3. Show its readers that it knows what they want and like
If so, then you could say it probably hit all three of those. For those who thought it was out of step with the mood of the country, then perhaps that’s not the paper for them. As I’ve said before, you can’t be for everyone, and so turning people away from what you do is a good thing, as long as it also attracts more of the people you do want.
Check your scheduling
If you’re one of the very organised kinds of people that has posts and content racked up months in advance, then it’s worth casting an eye over everything now. I would always recommend doing this anyway, global pandemic or not. Life is fast-moving, and what was appropriate at the moment you wrote it has a chance to no longer be quite on the money a month later.
You might also want to think about any of the apps that resurface older content automatically for you. No one wants to find something cropping up that just feels out of kilter now. You might choose to pause that kind of app for the moment.
Be wise, not clever
If you’ve seen any content that you thought was out of step with the current mood, I’d love to know about it. Equally, let’s celebrate those that are getting it bang on. I’m sure we need all the wise words we can get at the moment.