Do you struggle with your message?
If you struggle with your message, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Even people who work in communications struggle to get their message across.
The truth is, you’ve got a very short period of time to explain what you do to hook your audience.
How often do you get asked ‘What do you do?’ It’s almost always a question you’re thrown when you meet someone new. And at at the time it feels easy to answer: you’re a lawyer, a parent, a teacher, a doctor, maybe an artist.
But relaying your occupation is not the same as telling someone what your purpose is. What’s your reason for doing what you do? This is often where we struggle but once you can identify it, you’ll uncover your message.
The elevator pitch
If you work in marketing, communications, advertising or even film making you’d be familiar with the elevator pitch concept. Do you think you can tell someone your idea clearly and effectively in the time that it takes to travel in an elevator from the first to the third floor? It sounds simple but it is surprisingly hard. A great elevator pitch should take no longer than 20 seconds and it should leave your receiver thinking: ‘this is a great concept, I want to learn more’.
Getting your message this succinct is really important if you want people to follow your project’s journey. They should be interesting, memorable and concise while also clearly explaining what makes you (or your product, brand or project) unique.
Some people think that these pitches are only useful for salespeople but they’re an essential tool for every organisation,
Communicate your message clearly
People often try to be really clever or witty or sound super smart when relaying their message. But it’s not about this at all. It’s about getting your purpose across quickly so that it’s immediately obvious.
For example, our company Moonshine Agency specialises in impact filmmaking and communications. But impact filmmaking is a relatively new form of filmmaking and a lot of people don’t really know what it is. Telling people I’m an impact filmmaker isn’t very useful. In fact, it usually leads to blank faces, more questions or worse – silence. Let’s face it, it can be awkward – and for some people too embarrassing – to admit that they don’t understand what you’ve just told them. And that’s not what you want to achieve.
Our company vision is to ‘Move humanity forward.’ Again, without context, it doesn’t really convey much at all. But if it’s rephrased to: ’We make great videos.’ – BAM. You know exactly what we do. Which is exactly where you want to get with your own message.
Mission. Vision. Values.
What is your core mission? And your vision? How about your values?
You might have already created business statements for each. We’ve certainly spent a lot of time defining ours and they have evolved over the years too. But working out what each are to you and your brand will help if you find that you struggle with your message.
A vision statement is your brand or project’s aspiration. It doesn’t have specific targets and is more of an overarching outline of what it hopes to achieve.
Your mission statement is what you’ll do to achieve your vision. It’s more definitive. If your vision statement details where you are going, your mission statement outlines how you’ll get there.
A values statement describes what your brand, company or project stands for. What’s important to you? What do you prioritise? How do you present yourself to the world?
To define your message, you need to refine your project’s purpose or brand’s essence.
Then you need to work out the words that will communicate this most effectively.
Creating your message
Crafting a brand message that resonates is no easy feat. It needs to be brief and persuasive. But at the same time, it needs to spark interest for your project or product. It’s a lot harder than Nike’s famous ‘Just Do It’ tagline would have many of us believe.
To write a great message, try thinking about these things:
- What is it that you do?
- What are you trying to tell people?
- What challenge (or challenges) does your project address?
- How do you approach these challenges?
- How do you do it differently to others?
It’s also good to remember that less is usually more. Humans have a short attention span, which means you have to get to the point in as few words as possible to influence your audience and achieve the outcome that you want
If you get your message right, you can take your audience from awareness, to understanding and finally to action.
Working out the tone of your message
The tone of your message will also impact how it is received. Who is your audience? What type of voice will they respond to?
Your tone of voice reflects your brand or project’s personality. You’ll need to research your audience to understand how best to speak to them. Discover their age range, interests, education, the industry they work in – all of this will help you to identify the correct tone for your message.
Never underestimate the power of great messaging. A precise and succinct message will help your audience understand who you, what you do and what you stand for. Try to describe as much as you can in as few words as possible. Be memorable. And try to keep it simple. It will take some time (and maybe some soul searching too) but once you’ve figured it out, you’ll be able to use it all the time – in conversation, in marketing and even in life. Finally! One less dilemma to face.
Once you’ve defined your message, you might consider heading over to our post about strategic communications titled: How to Master You Message. In this article we discuss impact (we also decipher what that means) and how to create a strategy that will ensure your project is a huge success.
We hope this post has given you a framework to craft a message that perfectly defines your brand, project, company or impact film. If you’re searching for more, why not listen to the podcast or watch the video? And if you’re still struggling with your message, please do let us know. We’re here to help however we can.
Bonus: key ways humans like to receive a message
We all have different styles of communications. The language we use, our tone of voice, even our body language – each of us use different techniques to to convey our message. We also like to receive messages in varied ways. It’s why we produce a podcast, video and blog for the Moonshine Moonshot series.
So if you feel like your message is being lost, consider these common ways people like to learn:
People who like to be communicated to visually prefer images, charts, graphics and other visual pieces. They want to have something that they can physically look at – films and photographs are great tools to get your message across to these learners.
How do you best communicate with an auditorial learner? By talking to them. These people remember things they have heard. They’ll need you to talk them through your cause. Podcasts or audio books are great ways to share your message with these people.
Others prefer to be communicated to via the written word. Interacting with text works better for these folks than photographs, moving images or sound recordings. Blogs, articles, even social media captions will help your message get through to these learners.
Our goal is to WOW you with great tips that help you make great content. The world needs more great content. There’s no shortage of boring videos so avoid the pitfalls by learning how to make engaging videos that make an impact by following this series. In the Moonshine Moonshot series Mike Hill and Sue Collins discuss how to make the impossible possible with weekly episodes diving into new topics. They share loads of tips and info on how to improve your communications and generate results for your projects.
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Until next week,
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