Messaging is important. Don’t believe me? Just ask our clients.
The way you present your online self in the digital era is tantamount to how you are eventually perceived, whether by stakeholders, partners, or consumers.
When I first embarked on the mission to launch Motif Content, I arrived at a juncture of major changes across the SEO landscape. These modifications lessened the focus on keywords, redefining the importance of content quality over quantity. Although not a tectonic shift, this emphasis on this attribute in many ways reinvigorated the concentration on producing high-quality deliverables for clients to use across their own web properties and externally.
Where Does This Focus On Messaging Start?
Oftentimes, messaging centers around the tagline or slogan that accompanies a branding exercise. Yet, long before these elements are even cobbled together, messaging should take center stage in the form of brainstorming mission and vision statements. Every subsequent message builds upon this carefully crafted cadence of “what we are going to do” and “where we plan to go with this idea”.
Taglines and slogans are a reflection of these stated ambitions, and not vice-versa. Starting with the slogan before handling the mission and vision is the equivalent of putting the cart in front of the horse; dysfunctional and misguided. One informs the other and sets the tone for everything to follow.
How Does It Gradually Evolve? It’s All In The Details
When operating any web-based presence, the goal is ordinarily the same: driving traffic. To meet this lofty goal, it boils down to building a bullet-proof web presence. By this, I mean focusing on every little detail. No detail is too small to be ignored if you want to demonstrate value to visitors.
You’re right; many people ignore the details.
However, when addressing the most valued, highly satisfied, and demanding customers, the absence of attention to detail is mistaken. These individuals are the same people who kick the tires before buying a car and want to look under the hood. It might seem nitpicky, but the details count for them and can mean the difference between walking away from your brand forever or demonstrating loyalty for decades to come.
So, why value these individuals?
It’s simple. They will single-handedly elevate your business if they have a positive experience, advancing everyone’s interest simultaneously. These are the individuals who will refer more business, shine a positive light on your best facets, and highlight your acumen, especially to their own circle. Accordingly, never underestimate the network effect and its mighty impact on your own business.
By extension, ignore these individuals at your own peril. Deliver a bad experience and expect to hear about it. The devil is absolutely in the details, and a painstaking approach to ensuring your web messaging is flawless is sure to capture the attention of those users that matter most for your bottom line.
Where Messaging & Awareness Go Awry
There are many web touchpoints that can add friction, annoyance, and eventually aggravation for users. Broken links, broken features, missing words, or no straightforward contact points make for difficult navigation and limit your chances for making a positive, lasting interaction with users. However, these elements are simply part of the internal messaging tools available. External messaging can emerge as an even more potent form of outreach, but it must be properly harnessed to be effective.
We’ve heard from clients that believe that all press is good press, but trust me when I say it’s not.
Bad press and a worse experience can be the death blow for even the most well-intentioned clients.
The attention that is negative has the potential to undermine all your hard work, whether building a credible web presence, positioning yourself as a trustworthy and honest resource, or even highlighting your integrity. One bad interaction and one wrong message can spell disaster.
I don’t mean to sound repetitive, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Addressing bad press is just as important as addressing the good press, and it all boils back down to messaging; how you approach your audience and what elicits the best response.
How To Nail The Messaging
One of the first things we try and ascertain from clients when building a holistic view of their organization is the audience we are working to reach. Underestimating your audience is the single biggest mistake you can make. It takes more than simply profiling their demographics, it is absolutely about understanding how to keep them engaged.
From determining the engagement trigger to building a connection that is relatable and accessible, the audience you target defines your motives and motivations. From there, it’s all about piquing the interest of readers, listeners, and viewers. Whether it involves using a short three-word slogan or a longer tagline that explains the offering, your first message should be compelling like an elevator pitch for your business: shoot from the hip with a short, sweet, targeted message that doesn’t belabor the point.
Take a recent example of our work below. Nailing the messaging was not about reinventing the news, but rather speaking to an interested audience that was seeking more information and depth about a topic that can be hard to grasp. By breaking everything into sound-bite-sized chunks, we were able to discuss a very complicated subject in terms that most people could readily relate to.
Of course, we also had to respect the medium itself and the constraints. There wasn’t half an hour to describe a single problem and the solution, but rather a five-minute window that needed to be persuasive, compelling, articulate, and informative. Accordingly, the message had to be short, descriptive, easy-to-digest, familiar, and revealing, all without being complex or baffling the viewers.
Remember, not every medium is right for every message and by extension, for every audience.
Sometimes you’ll have multiple messages for different audiences. For instance, imagine a business that sells products to other businesses and consumers alike. The problem facing consumers may be different from other businesses seeking these valuable offerings. Using the same messaging for two audiences to address two different problems may be inappropriate. Instead, the message should be fine-tuned to each segment, while the overarching company message should be relatable for both types of users.
Let Us Help You Deliver The Right Message
Whether online, offline, on television, YouTube, print, or social media, you must present your message meaningfully to your intended audience. It’s not just about a strong first impression but leaving a lasting impression that electrifies your audience and leaves them craving more. Just like a fabulous orator captivates a crowd with a booming, rapturous voice, your enterprise storytelling must follow a similar arc that draws in curious onlookers and hooks them with your message.
Since its inception, Motif has been especially fortunate to count on a client cross-section that always enables us to learn and grow. From handling public sector and private sector accounts to interfacing with startups, enterprises, and governments, the Motif team has had both the honor and privilege of handling some very impressive projects. Still, it always circles back to messaging.
If you’re seeking to hone your messaging and articulate your vision in a more clear manner, speak to Motif to see how we can help. Whether an early-stage startup, established business, or enterprise operation, we have the tools and techniques needed to ensure your message thrives.