Producing a content strategy to ensure a transaction takes place with your communication requires laser focus. A wild pride land exists all around us with myriad distractions: what’s trending, what’s bigger, flashier, faster, prettier … the tick-tock of the gotta-have-it clock is deterring you from your goal.
The same is true for your message.
Think about it. Your company plans to roll out a new program with many complex parts. Neither your employees nor your customers are equipped to devour all of the information in one chomp. The truth is, neither are you.
Your job is to focus a strategy that breaks down top-level items into quantifiable, digestible categories to ensure employees chew every piece, swirl it around in their suck-teeth, and swallow it.
This is necessary to keep everyone on task to move the program forward to your customers so they can buy into it, which is the ultimate goal, right?
Your toughest adversary, then, isn’t the message that needs to be communicated; your toughest adversary is determining the means by which to communicate your message so it’s received.
After you’ve ascertained the categories in your plan, prioritize them by which message needs to be introduced first. Now it’s time to concentrate on the focus of the message.
Focus your message by answering these three wildly important questions.
1. What is your target?
What is the message that needs to be transacted? I use this term because it means the communication is reciprocated, that the reader/listener is engaged and is a participant in the communication. We read or hear thousands of words a day without absorbing them. Joel Bauer, CEO and speaker trainer, says, “Words are mission critical.” I couldn’t agree more. What is the purpose of your message? What do you wish to accomplish with it? What are you trying to say?
Bauer also says there are three questions your customers will ask before they buy your product.
- Is it easy?
- Does it work?
- Can I do it?
Draft your message with the answers to these questions in mind. Your employees will ask them first, and if you can’t confidently answer these questions for your employees, you can’t expect to answer your customers. Your words should be prescribed to meet the need.
2. Who is your tribe?
Who are the people on the receiving end of your message? Are they your leaders? Frontline employees? Executives? Board members? Customers?
Who are your customers? If you don’t know who your customers are, you’re off to a bad start. Rae Majors-Wildman, business strategy consultant and results coach, says, “Find them and serve them.” Your message needs to speak to your tribe in their “language” so they can understand you. Conduct some research to focus on your demographic.
3. Where is your territory?
Where are the people you’re addressing? Are they on the Internet? Are they in your office? Are they in the corporate office? Are they checking emails? Are they on social media? Are they in the operation where they don’t have access to a computer? Are they overseas? Your target (message) needs to meet people where they are to bring them to where you want them to want to be. Did you catch that?
Your job is to create a message to make them want to be where you are/your company is. They need to trust you through your message.
“Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.” – Amy J.C. Cuddy, Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger, Harvard Business Review (July – August 2013), “Connect, Then Lead”
When you establish your target, your tribe and your territory, you can laser focus your message. Identify your laser focus, create a relationship with it, become intimate and baptize yourself in it.
In the next phase, we’ll walk through how the message is communicated and why, and determine when to set it free.
What steps do you take to focus the content of your message? Share them with us!