Developing Your MessageEveryone is always telling you to hone your messages to donors and prospects, but seldom tell how to do it. You know you do urgent and important work- you are out to change the world to make it better. You know that, your members know that, your board knows that, but what can you do to make sure that the rest of the world knows it as well?
We are all deluged with messages all day long: there is perhaps less than a nanosecond that we have to decide if we are interested in something or not. It’s really important to be thoughtful about how you create your message to give you the best chance of getting the eyeballs you seek. Packaging your message with any extraneous information from the outset can pretty much assure it will be either ignored or overlooked.
One of the biggest challenges is how to construct your message so that it answers the questions that visitors, members and donors will have. Your message needs to be a lot more about WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW, much more than what you need to say.
So what is a message?
Messaging is the overarching term for the words, images and tone used by your brand. It’s the language and phrasing that you choose for your outgoing materials that you use to promote yourself, to inform and hopefully engage.
A message is information that succinctly answers the most typical questions that will you might be asked. Keep them short, descriptive and end with something you have done, making your work tangible. These are a few sentences that describe the value you deliver.
It’s much more than a slogan or tagline (though they do form part of your brand messaging strategy). Neither is it your brand itself (although it does play a big part in developing a successful brand).
You can create 3-4-5 messages that will answer the 3-4-5 questions you anticipate on regular basis. The messages don’t have to be carved in stone, you can customize them depending on what you may use them for: specific campaigns or programs, for certain groups you are targeting or presentation.
Start by answering these questions:
- What makes you different than others, what distinguishes you from others in the same space?
- Why should someone choose to donate to your cause?
- How do you calculate the impact your work is making; what are your metrics?
- What have you done so far, how much of your mission and vision have been realized?
Know who you are, and what makes you special. When you you know who you are, you can find your voice and tone.
Keep It Simple
Take a look at the examples below- they use plain language, are quite direct and give the information someone would want to know briefly and directly. No jargon, no pitch. The message is built on information you have already developed about your organization and your work. Make it easy for someone who doesn’t know about you to want to know more.
- The #BigTobaccoBeLike ads were broadcast on national television in spots targeting the 12- to 24-year-old demographic. The television campaign was supplemented by a digital strategy that attracted about 1 million YouTube views in its first 24 hours.
- By targeting its desired demographic and playing on an existing trend, truth saw a 55 percent increase in young people who agreed when polled that even occasional smoking supports Big Tobacco, an attitude found to decrease teen smoking rates.
- As of today, neverthirst has distributed 1,000 Bio Sand Filters have now been funded thanks to our incredible supporters. That’s over 5,000 people in Cambodia who this year will gain access to safe water in the home.
Simple is not always easy, take the time and to make your message effortless to understand.
What Is It You Want To Say
When you sit down to create a series of short messages, talking points or captions, decide what it is you want others to get from it.
What do you want them to know, what do you want them to feel, what do you want them to do?
What do you want people to remember or what would you want someone to tell someone else about you? Think about messages you see around you- when you watch a St. Jude’s Hospital commercial, what is the message you get? Do you think it is the same they are hoping you get?
When you watch an ASPCA commercial ( I can’t ) what is the message they are sending? What are they asking of you and what do you remember after its over?
A simple, direct and clear message will convey your information and allow others to understand it quickly.
Make it easy for them to do so, careful and thoughtful engineering of your messaging will make your message more accessible to your audience and a greater chance it will stick.
As you build your messaging and you find you would like some guidance, do call today and let’s get it done.
310 828 6979
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