Are you Sending the Right Message?
Is your coworker boring? Do your eyes glaze over when he asks a question? Do you find yourself nodding off in meetings as he struggles to get to the point?
Well, your customers’ eyes glaze over in just the same way when you fail to create resonating content. The average reader will spend only 37 seconds on an article or blog post. So the pressure’s on to post some attention-grabbing content.
Identifying what needs to be said is a foundational step in creating effective, worthy content. This entails thinking about how the message will be read, making your words concise, and incorporating keywords and other supplemental messages. Here are three easy tips to keep in mind when crafting that perfect message.
Know Your Audience
Save your CMO a headache and deliver the right content to the right audience by considering the context. If you know who and where your message will be read, then you have some insight into how it will be interpreted. Think about the following:
- In what situation will your audience receive the message?
- Will your audience be reading on a desktop or mobile?
- Will your audience be in a position to click or purchase?
- How does your audience perceive your brand?
- Are there sensitive current events to be aware of?
- What are the audience’s psychographics and demographics? Will age, gender, or economic status affect the tone of your message?
- How much does the audience already know about the topic?
- What are their self interests?
When you ask yourself these critical questions before and after you write your messages, you’ll be able to discern what to include, leave out, phrase more appropriately, or research. Forget leaving your messages vulnerable to being ignored, misinterpreted, or mistargeted; these questions will help you pitch, post, and publish more mindfully.
Try using services like Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, or Mailchimp, which provide data to help you identify the most effective ways to customize campaigns in order to persuade customers to act. These sites and others like them help you convey the underlying value proposition in your content and weed out any poor-performing messaging.
Another way to avoid the dreaded eye glaze (and the inevitable drool that comes shortly after) is to write clearly. Your messaging should be concise, quick, and easy to read. Use this process: consider what you want to say, write a draft, strip away as much as possible while still conveying your message, and then review it. If your point still comes across in the way you want it to, then you’re on the right track.
In an effort to be clear, you can also develop core messaging for your brand. Hinge Marketing explains, “Behind every great brand is a fundamental core brand message: a compact statement that declares why the brand matters, what it stands for, and how it . . . stands apart from competitors. It’s a well you can return to again and again when you need inspiration or need to remind yourself what you stand for.”
Your core message can be something you include in your messages and that acts as a model for the brevity all your messaging should follow. If it’s unnecessary to include this content in a particular message, use it as something to refer back to. As you write your message, make sure it complies with the overall tone and vision of your brand.
Choose Kickbutt Keywords
Keywords are the pixie dust of content creation: they get your content off the ground by helping customers find it and keeping your messages relevant. Choosing keywords is a twofold process: you need to (1) identify the overall purpose of your message, whether it’s to inspire, persuade, motivate, or inform, and (2) look at keywords found in your industry and competitors’ content. This should help you create a comprehensive list of keywords to incorporate into your messages, which will help audience members find your content, boost SEO, and ensure you’re producing relevant content.
Heather Whaling, founder of Geben Communication, provides some useful insight:
I suggest clients create a chart to analyze the competition’s vocabulary. As you create your company’s messaging, make sure you differentiate yourself from the competition. Because we live in a search-engine world, analyze SEO’s role in this process. What words and phrases do you want to rank for? How should that impact your messaging strategy? Messages can’t be pulled out of thin air. How do people currently describe your product/service? What adjectives do customers use to communicate their experience with your company? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just formalize and polish up what’s already floating around.
As for supplemental messages, you can use the same tips as for core messaging above. In addition, include links to related content and offer tips and resources for more information within blog posts. Quote influencers and industry leaders to provide credibility and to create opportunities to be found by a larger audience. All of these efforts will combine to make more effective messages.
If you’re determined to create messaging that gets noticed and promotes action, then you need to be intentional in how you craft your messages. Having mindful, concise, and strategic wording will help you do this every time.