Writing content during Pride Month requires sensitivity and understanding. Learn more about creating inclusive and impactful content in our blog.
June marks Pride Month: an annual celebration seeking to raise awareness, show solidarity, and, ultimately, celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
And, in the spirit of raising awareness, I suggested putting together some pointers on creating Pride Month content; a primer of sorts to aid people in producing content that’s both sensitive and impactful.
But first, some context.
At ClickThrough, we’re rather fond of the phrase ‘radical truth’. It’s literally one of our company values. And we strive to live by it. So here’s a little of my own.
As a bisexual content writer, I’ve felt besieged by marketing content linked to Pride – some good, some… less so – and so, I almost fell into the of trap being glib and dismissive. Full disclosure: I had to cut a few angsty sentences whilst editing!
But why so glib? Well, that’s what I wanted to find out.
Truthfully, I think it’s because there have been so many misguided pieces of Pride content that, however well-intentioned, missed the mark. And it leaves a bad taste in the mouth; a taste that lingers and damages how brands are viewed.
Case in point: many members of the LGBTQ+ community – myself included - cite poorly-conceived marketing content as a reason to avoid a company in future,
But, understandably, companies want to participate in Pride Month to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. So, how do they do it?
Let’s investigate, shall we?
The LGBTQ+ community is wonderfully, irrepressibly diverse. Sadly, pop culture often (inadvertently) reduces this diversity down into neat tick boxes. And it impacts the way we perceive LGBTQ+ people, which, in turn, affects Pride content.
For example, it’s important to consider that despite the rainbow flag, not all LGBTQ+ people deck themselves out in glitter and Day-Glo clothing. (I myself am rarely seen in anything other than black.)
But still, it’s difficult to shake the stereotype, and content writers often fall into the trap of assuming how LGBTQ+ people look, act, and think – leading to insensitive content.
Truthfully, forget everything you know about perceived trappings of the LGBTQ+ community, and write for the individuals that make it up.
Do Have a Purpose
FYI: this applies to all content, but it’s particularly salient for Pride content as purposeless content rings hollow. (And leaves that bad taste I mentioned.)
But what do I mean by ‘purpose’, exactly?
Well, before you sit down to write, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I writing this piece?
- What does it add to the conversation?
- Do I genuinely have something to say?
It’s crucial that content produced for Pride Month has strong motivations beyond brand awareness. Pride isn’t a venue for marketing; but a platform to showcase what you’re doing to support the movement.
For example, if you’re, say… a footwear brand, tell people about initiatives you have to collaborate with LGBTQ+ designers; in the hopes that your message will inspire others to do likewise.
Dr. Martens have done a fantastic job with their pride content by stepping aside and allowing the LGBTQ+ community to speak for itself and showcasing how they’re actively participating in the push for progress.
Do Be Accountable
At its heart, Pride is about social justice. But that’s often forgotten by content writers desperate to participate in the festivities. It’s a pitfall that a number of high-profile companies have been called out for.
A brief history lesson. Pride month is intended to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising; a violent clash between LGBTQ+ people at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, when police, amongst other violations, attempted to forcibly determine the sex of people in the bar by way of physical examination.
Sobering, isn’t it?
But it highlights exactly why accountability is so important. If you’re thinking up Pride Month content ideas, it’s vital that they highlight what processes and initiatives your company has to support and elevate the LGBTQ+ community.
And if it’s something you’re still working on…? Be honest. Don’t try to obfuscate as this will serve only to highlight your shortcomings. People will be more forgiving of content that showcases small steps in the right direction than they will of superficial content aimed only at piggy-backing the signal.
Put simply: show your work! Use your platform to tell people what you’re doing (or what you intend to do) for the LGBTQ+ community.
For example, P&G’s Pride content showcased both what they’re doing for the LGBTQ+ community and acknowledges their own previous shortcomings.
Bringing us neatly onto…
Don’t Stop Because Pride Does
My final pointer is less about content specifically, so indulge me.
For members of the LGBTQ+ community, the struggle for acceptance is ongoing, despite gigantic steps forwards in the past several decades.
As such, it’s important to keep pace. No matter how thoughtful your content, or inclusive your message, dipping into LGBTQ+ centric content for Pride Month, only to ignore it for the next 11 months will seem at best, like a calculated Pride Month marketing strategy, and at worse, ‘rainbow washing’ (which you can find out more about in our previous blog)
So, if you’re bursting with ideas for Pride Month content, don’t file them away until next year – keep ‘em coming!
And here endeth the lesson. I’ve by no means covered everything but have hopefully shone the light where it needs to be to offer some guidance.
You can find more information on LGTBQ+ inclusivity on the Stonewall website, and you should definitely check out the work being done to further LBGTQ+ representation in advertising media as part of Glaad’s visibility project.
Want to talk to our content experts about how to plan an effective pride content strategy?