Communication – it’s difficult enough to spell and can be even harder to achieve in the real world. Many professional novelists are secretly astounded at the messages or themes that readers take away from their books. Messages and themes that the author themselves had been quite unaware of. Creating any message, as any writer, copywriter or PR specialist will tell you, is far more difficult than you might imagine. This is where establishing key messages for your business can help.
Key Messages – The Clue in the Name
There’s a fairly reasonable clue in the name, key messages are simply the core communications that you wish to embed in your audience’s mind. The audiences in question include the general public, your customers and, last but by far least, the media. Today, ‘the media’ includes far more than simply the traditional press and extends to the vast and ever expanding world of new media. This is partly why developing key messages is crucial – it creates consistency across a vast array of platforms and ensures that the messages you wish to make are repeated, rather than contradicted.
Teasers, not Spoilers
Key messages should be developed from your ‘elevator statement’ – simply a short statement (the time you’d get in an elevator between floors) that sums up your message. Your key messages should elaborate on this and anywhere between three and five is the ideal number. This allows you to create a level of detail on specific points you need to communicate, without losing your audience’s attention. These messages are ‘tasters’ designed to pique interest and place you as a clear leader in your field.
Crafting Key Messages – Effectively
Crafting workable key messages is a fine art; they should be composed with simplicity in mind, while packing enough punch and/or information to provoke interest. There are six important factors, when creating key messages, and these are;
- Information should be believable and backed up by evidence.
- Messages should be distinctive and grab attention – turgid corporate-speak need not apply!
- Key messages need a purpose behind them – mainly to generate further investigation by your audience.
- Brevity is crucial – whatever your audience, its attention is probably extremely limited.
- Language should be used simply to make it accessible to the broadest possible audience. Industry specialists, journalists and the public should not begin to lose the plot when reading key messages.
- Language should also be positive. Key messages are first impressions and they should make positive lasting impressions.
Deploying your key messages
One of the most important reasons for using key messages is the level of consistency that they allow you to develop. The messages should remain the same across every platform that you have available to you. The web, social media and the press are the main platforms you’ll use in a modern PR setting. Consistency works on two levels, in this sense; it marks you out as reliable and it also also helps to embed these messages in the minds of the audience.
Quite often, what we say (or write) in life, is not quite what is heard (or read) by the recipient. Controlling the minds of other people is not an easy task. However, developing key messages that are clear, concise, honest and positive puts you in control of the information that is ‘out there’ and allows you to influence your audience in the most effective way.
Relevant and Refreshed
While key messages are important they should not be considered a static tool in PR. Everything and everyone changes over time and reviewing your key messages on a regular basis allows you to ensure that they are still accurate and reflect your core message and the realities of your business. For example; “We have worked successfully with Lehman Brothers for many years” would be a core message that may have needed some rethinking around 2008, had it been one of yours! Keeping messages relevant, positive and consistent identifies you as an expert in your field and the ”go-to” point for industry information.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.