"Companies that don't have a clearly articulated story don't have a clear and well-thought-out strategy."
- Ben Horowitz, Venture Capitalist
6 Steps to Clarify Your Message
Understand how each digital platform, each content piece fits into our business before you write
Our goal for people in different stages of the funnel is different – write with that particular goal (selling/branding/building a community/etc.) in mind to resonate with that person in that stage
• When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one – know who we are talking to exactly, then speak to their specific needs, problems, interests, questions, in terms of outcome.
• Pinpoint down 3 levels:
Level 1: Entrepreneurs
Level 2: with a proven service
Level 3: but struggles to grow because of a lack of message-market fit
• Know our strength and word it in a way that benefits our target audience (e.g. The entrepreneur with a proven service, but struggles to grow because of a lack of message-market fit)
It’s not about what we offer but how their specific problems can be solved
• Differentiate based on the two things we are experts in, not one.
Example: Business storytelling x Science of Persuasion
A message that gets others to act is intentional. It’s rooted in stories and in understanding the psychology and behavioral economics of your audience.
If either one is missing, the solution is not complete.
• Focus on the goal from step 1. Don’t do busy work! We are not creating content for the sake of creating content
• Write backwards, work out the goal, (rule of thumb: almost always a CTA – call to action), then create the content to lead to that goal. Headlines/titles/subjects come last, when you are absolutely clear on what you want to say
• Spark curiosity, always. The goal of every piece of content is to get people to want to read it
Speak to the human and her rationality and irrationality. Consult training on how to persuade once you finish your first draft to add triggers
Some rules of thumb to prioritize before you master behavioral economics and social psychology
– Create the right frame of mind: What we see first frame how we see the things to come. Change what they focus on first
– Make it relatable: associative / dissociative / aspirational
– Use logic to justify the emotion: connect emotionally first, explain logic second. You are not selling a commodity!
• See how people react to the content. This is the most important step! It informs us on which aspect of the topic people care about. Gather this data
• New insights hide in surprising feedback. Keep an eye out
• Tailor our messaging accordingly. Clients should be the one writing our copy, and more importantly, showing us our next steps in the business