When the goal is to persuade your audience, words are everything. So, getting them right can make the difference between making an impact or being dismissed.
Who are you talking to?
You’ve heard it before, “Know your audience.” I say, take it a step farther and be your audience. By that I mean, get to know them so deeply that you know their culture, know where they live, know what matters to them. And above all else, speak their language. It doesn’t make sense to speak King’s English to an audience that speaks English as a second language. Making a connection makes a crucial difference.
What’s your story?
Think of your message as creating stories that truly matters to your customers – their stories! They may be very short stories, but every story should draw the audience in and compel them to action. Never forget that your customers play a fundamental role. After all, there would be no story without their participation.
- Setting – your store, showroom, factory, or service
- Character – your customer is the hero
- Point of View – what’s in it for your customers
- Challenge – the problem that your brand works to help solve
- Plot – the series of events
- Theme – your campaign direction
It’s really not that complicated. You’ve got an objective, let it work to help you focus your messaging. Avoid going off into tangents, off onto extraneous rabbit trails. Simplicity, clarity and brevity are the name of the game. Have a single goal for your communication and a clear call to action. For example: announce a sale (plot) and invite your customers (characters) to stop by (setting) and take advantage of special savings (point of view) today, before the sale is over (challenge).
If your audience struggles to understand your message, you’ve lost them. If you bore or annoy them because your writing comes off as long-winded or self-possessed – not only have you lost them – regaining their attention will be difficult at best.
Where are you trying to reach them?
While social media posts tend to be brief, they also open an important dialogue with your audience – a chance to interact. Here, you can ask questions, interact and share – across digital platforms. Being responsive is crucial! This is the best way to build loyalty and brand advocacy.
Video and broadcast messaging can lend itself to a more conversational approach too. But even with long-form messaging that is necessarily a monologue – like writing a white paper, a press release or long-form online content – focus on keeping your writing professional and engaging at the same time.
When it’s all said and done, is your message working?
Not sure you your messaging is working? Sales data is certainly an indication. Focus groups can give you important feedback. And you’re in luck with digital messaging because your audience is sure to let you know and your analytics will give you key insights too. Pay attention and be willing to adjust and adapt your language to better connect with your audience.
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