Creating the right message

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...
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I am creating a powerpoint tool to walk my clients through the social media message-making process.  If you can relax for just three minutes – long enough to read this post – I’ll let you know what it does:

I am a publicist. In my world, the message rules. The technology (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flicker, YouTube, Google Analytics) is simply a tool to serve the message. Knowing about all the technical bells and whistles has as much to do with social networking as sports announcers spouting box scores have to do with winning the baseball game.  In sports, it’s the athletes.  In publicity, it’s the message.

Everything starts by defining your online ‘voice.’  The voice must be simple, direct and transparent. This is true of all effective publicity.

“I’ll be back.”

“Heeeeeare’s Johnny!”

“What ju talken’ ’bout, Willis?”

Technology is fantastic. I listen to Irish radio live on my phone. As you know, the Irish are known for their wonderful word smithing. This morning, a news columnist who wanted desperately to keep a specific area – a remote peninsula jutting into the wild Atlantic Ocean – preserved as-is was interviewed. Her key message: “above all, no cars.” Simple, direct, transparent. Common sense, really.

Irish coast
Image by K2D2vaca via Flickr

She did not focus on the people and interests who want the area developed for tourism. She didn’t counter complex arguments about jobs, the economic development, politics, the environment, etc. making it a point; counter-point debate. Instead, she characterized the place as “shutting the door behind you” to enter a world of silence away from the noise of the modern world. “If you like silence, this place must be preserved. That means no cars.” No cars. That’s her catch-phrase, her mission, her message. Our job is to develop the same message simplicity for you, too.

What is your “no cars” catch-phrase? Let’s find it and use it. Remember, the message rules!

First, we need you to express your voice effortlessly in a simple of manner. Then, we add volume, lots and lots of volume. The real difficulty is keeping the transparency (honesty/authenticity).  That is the first place most social media campaigns fail.

Your friends and fans, prospects and clients,  strangers and nair-do-wells don’t want to read what your ad agency says you should say.  Nope.  They want to hear your voice. They want to know, “Hey, YOU – Cars? No cars? What do YOU think? Oh, you’re in business, too? Cool. My sister needs two of everything you got.”

I solve the challenge of transparency by asking you up front to define the following:

  1. What are the three things professionally you do better than anyone else? [What makes you uniquely qualified? What is your niche in the marketplace?]
  2. What are the three biggest problems your best clients need solved?
  3. What are the three biggest problems you solve for clients best?

We use your own answers to craft three very simple general messages that reflect the values you and your little township of prospects and clients have in common. Those messages are then translated into posts using a variety of grammatical devices such as analogies, similes, examples, etc.

The posts are then linked to either your web page, your blog or something else. The idea is to:

A) Always offer genuine value

B) Be a good (social networking) neighbor

C) Engage your fans!

Every post has a link.  Every post is written to offer genuine value.  Every post reflects the values and priorities you have in common with your clients.

Once we have your voice defined, here’s what I do:

  • Distribute your key messages cleanly using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Generate up to one post-per-hour (8/day – 56/wk) (can be pre-approved)
  • Create a conversational mix with about 1/5th being direct sales-oriented and the rest being your key messages (see fb page as example).

Beyond, this, as we drill down, we customize to include key words (SEO), web site landing page copy, blog posts, etc. within a comprehensive/holistic communications strategy. But it all revolves around the message – your key messages.

Why not do SEO and web copy first?  Why not post funny quotes and links to your site? Why not write a blog about your business.  Why not?  Because the message rules! We get the message nailed first.  From a compelling, pithy message, all things are possible.  In other words, Is Féidir Linn!”  Si se Puede!  Yes We Can!

Si Se Puede
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One thought on “Creating the right message

  1. Most companies need simple lessons on social media marketing because most tend to devise complicated rules “against” doing it instead of simple rules “for” doing it. Backwards thinking.

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