Who is the messenger?
When we say the word ‘messenger’, what do you immediately think of? Social media apps like Facebook or Viber? A barer of bad news? A man’s satchel bag? Maybe it’s all of the above – or none at all.
At Moonshine Agency, what our minds immediately think of is the the best person to share a message.
If you’re scratching your head thinking ‘what does that mean?’, then you’re not alone.
In fact, very few people think about their communications this way.
We’re sure you’ve heard discussions and recommendations on how to determine your target market – and that is definitely very important – but once you’ve figured out who your audience actually is, how do you decide who is best to speak to them?
The messenger is a crucial and often overlooked, piece of the puzzle.
Imagine putting tireless hours into crafting the perfect video, blog or podcast, only to have it fall on deaf ears or glazed eyeballs?
Important note: people have ZERO ATTENTION SPAN when it comes to online content.
So how do you grab them, get them interested and keep them watching?
Who can be a messenger?
The short answer? Anyone. But not anyone can be the right messenger for your content.
You need someone who clearly believes in the mission, goals and values of your project – and can communicate that passion to an audience.
When we can see the excitement in others, it becomes infectious. And propels us to take action.
Of course, not just any enthusiastic spokesperson will do. You need to use someone who your audience can actually relate to. Because when a messenger is relatable, consumers are more likely to trust the message and take it on.
Better yet, they might even want to know more.
The messenger in front of the camera is critical to the story
We’re often much more receptive to the options of our friends, family or colleagues. Or people who emulate them in some small way. Which is why finding a messenger who can exude both familiarity and authority to a diverse audience is essential.
While anyone who holds up the values of your cause – like board executives, volunteers or field experts – can perform the messenger role, if they can’t connect with your viewers or listeners, your message won’t stick.
Ideally, your messenger will draw your audience in and compel them to get involved in your mission.
To figure out the best messenger for your content you need to ask yourself a few questions:
* What story am I telling?
- Why am I putting it out into the world?
- Who needs to hear this story?
- What do I want them to do once they’ve heard it?
These questions will also help you to figure out what your message actually is too. That’s a whole separate topic, which we’ve created a blog post on. You can read it here.
Yes, it’s ok to have more than one messenger
Deciding on a single voice to share your message can be incredibly challenging. You can’t always get it right and you can’t ever please everybody.
At Moonshine Agency, we have made many films with a global focus – meaning they represent a vast number of demographics – so trying to find one key messenger who can relate to all of them can be near impossible.
Which is why we sometimes we utilise multiple messengers, or a variety of people who are able to share the essence of the story with their networks and communities.
Expert voice vs voice of experience
Finding the right chorus of messengers will go a long way when trying to reach an audience.
Since founding Moonshine Agency more than a decade ago, we have been privileged to work on several health communications campaigns. And almost every time we ask our partners who they think their messenger should be , we’re given a long list of brilliant experts, like professors or doctors. Of course, these voices will only connect with a certain audience.
Often your expert voice will bring the intellect and wisdom, but you also want to balance that vision with empathy and compassion.
When trying to speak to the broader public, as most of our impact film campaigns are, you need to present the audience with a messenger who has benefitted from your solution – not just the people who created or invested in it.
In the health space, this might be a patient or family member – someone who can influence the audience on a human level and show them why they need to pay attention to your message.
For our impact film campaign, Conquering Cancer, which is capturing the global push to eliminate cervical cancer before the turn of the century, we have interviewed some extraordinary leaders in health. From key players at The World Health Organization through to executive directors of international cancer care centres, these expert voices have offered extraordinary insight.
Yet, the project would not be what it is without the personal stories of women. Women who have had a cervical screening. Women who have received a cervical cancer diagnosis, Women who have engaged with the HPV vaccination program for themselves or for their children.
Their stories are essential to the campaign. They illustrate the humanity behind the disease and simply communicate what action is needed, now.
To determine your messenger, you need to know your audience
You really need to understand your audience to work out the person who can best speak to them.
We know we always come to this point, but figuring out what makes your audience tick will put you one step further towards finding the right messenger for your project. And once you do, you’ll leave your audience wanting more, more more.
Still have questions? Why not check out the Moonshine Moonshot episode on this very topic. It’s sitting at the end of this post. Or if you’d prefer to just listen, there’s a podcast version too.
If you’re short on time and just want to skip to the episode highlights
01:04 Who is the messenger?
05:14 Maybe you need more than one?
08:23 Other names for the messenger?
Our goal is to WOW you with great tips that help you make great content. The world needs morebgreat content. There’s no shortage of boring videos so stand out in the ‘you might also like’ lists with videos that grab peoples attention and have them screaming “Yeessss. Yes yes!
And once you’ve watched or listened, be sure to let us know if you have any questions or want more info?
Your feedback will help us make more useful episodes so please, please leave us comments.
And remember, knowing your audience and who should talk to them puts you in front of most of the other communications they’re getting because it will be relevant and relatable.
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Can’t wait to hear from you!
Sue & Mike
Learn more about Sue and Mike here
Want more tips? Watch our bonus video: Ingredients for impactful messaging