The Pathway to Great Messaging

Great messaging includes all six steps along this pathway.

Great messaging includes all six steps along this pathway.

When someone asks you, “What do your company do?” does everyone on your team answer the same way?

When people visit your website or social media, can they quickly understand, and then effectively tell your story?

When your salespeople interact with prospects, do your RFP responses, ads, articles, website, mailings and collateral all reinforce one consistent story?

The key to ensure everyone is on the same page is to create consistent and powerful messages. “The Pathway to Great Messaging” defines the six-step process.

We suggest you think of great messaging as the “DNA” of your story. It will be intertwined with every element of your story.

Regardless of how your messaging is delivered (through the Four-Channel Media Model, the combination of paid, earned, shared or controlled media), it’s essential all of your communications tools harmonize from the audience perspective. (See Message Orchestration to bring this concept to life).

But that’s usually easier said than done.

It all starts with your authentic story, and your message. Picture a diamond. It’s always the same jewel, but it can be described from various aspects (cut, color, clarity…).

Our Pathway imagery shows the six steps to create great messaging. The first three describe the content of the message; the next three explain the context.

Here are the six steps, in order:

1 – What. Start with the most important facts, features and benefits. In America, we’re really good at “what” messages…we know how to describe the facts.

2 – So, What. Now the recipient asks the all-important question, "Why should I care and (WIIFM) what’s in it for me?” Be specific, concise and clear.

3 – Now, What. Tell the recipient exactly what you want them to think or do. Don’t assume or hold back: lead them to create changes in thought or behavior – or both.

4 – Simple. People don’t read very much today, and they don’t listen very well, or for very long. Be certain that your message is direct and easy to understand. Shorter always beats longer.

5 – Recipient-oriented. This is my favorite: "It’s not what you want to say; it’s what they need to hear." Not a semantic difference, recipient-oriented communications fundamentally change how you develop and deliver each communication.

6 – Everyday Language. Use short sentences and little words. This is the way people tend to communicate. When you add lingo, jargon and corporate-speak, you confuse the recipient. Keeping your message simple increases your chances of understanding and action.

With a clear and consistent message, you have established the basics of a solid communication program. Now you’re ready to tell your story to the people who matter most to you to change attitudes and behaviors.