Knowledge Can Hurt Business–when “knowing” weakens your message…
Have you ever gone to a party and been talking to someone about their company when you suddenly realize you’re not understanding a single thing? It’s not that you weren’t paying attention. It’s not that you’re stupid. And, it’s not that you don’t care. You might have really been trying to comprehend but the jargon and complex tale simply kept you in the dark.
This is the mistake some people make at parties when they’re trying to explain their business and it’s also the same mistake many companies make when they try to share their message to consumers.
Somehow things get lost in translation. The message is weakened by going too deep. Instead of delivering a simple, clear message, it’s burdened by a highly complicated explanation that often attempts to deliver far too much information at one time.
The company actually knows the product/service/industry so well, that breaking it down to the lay person becomes challenging. Knowledge can hurt your message, if you’re not careful to write and refine in order to make it stick.
Make Your Message Stick: Get To The Point
Often more words are used than necessary in writing and in speaking,
The solution to creating content that’s informative and influential is to…
Think Like A Journalist…more specifically, a Brand Journalist
TV News journalists typically have about 90 seconds to tell a story. It doesn’t matter if that story is complicated or extremely basic. News shows are arranged to change stories quickly and keep viewers’ attention so they don’t change the channel. A TV reporter needs to be able to summarize the story, include interviews from sources, and deliver it succinctly. A brand journalist uses these same skills to help companies create messages that stick.
Once you Think Like A Journalist, you then have to produce content using the same techniques that reporters use to capture attention and draw news viewers into the newscast.
News Storytelling Principles
Of course, the basics: what, who, why, when, where (and sometimes how) are obvious components. But using answers to those questions alone will merely produce a press release, not a compelling story.
Stories transfer the easiest and help to spread information the fastest. The more a product or service contains a message that can be told inside a story, the greater the likelihood of it being transferred from person-to-person and through social sharing platforms. This is why urban legend emails that often contain scary and false information are passed around the Internet so quickly. The messages in these types of emails are highly sticky (interesting) and easy to remember.
Find the related news hook: when you answer the “what”, remember to search for the related news hook. See if the “what” correlates to an item already in the news. For instance, maybe your company is releasing a new product that helps conserve water and the big news lately is the ongoing drought. Don’t miss the opportunity to tailor the company message around the segments that are airing on the nightly news about the water shortage.
Find compelling voices: interviewees. The CEO or VP of marketing might not be the best person to interview. The story might be better told through the eyes of the customer/user of the product service. This doesn’t mean you have to create a testimonial. Consumers expect that testimonials will feature positive interviews about the company. Instead, tell a story about how the company is making a difference in its customers’ lives. The testimonial will shine through but without being only advertising.
Find the emotion in the story. For brand journalism you want to find the pain point for your audience. This is the emotional spot that, if you provide a solution for them, they will buy from your company. Many times companies overlook this and instead share a message that’s built on benefits that don’t necessarily speak to the pain that their targeted audience is struggling with.
Find the answers…deliver solutions. The story must offer information that not only informs and engages consumers but also influences them to take action. Your story should deliver solutions to your customers’ pain point. Help them understand how their struggles will end and then they’ll buy from your company.
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Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist who teaches: Think Like A Journalist, To Increase Your Bottom Line. She is also the Host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast which features interviews with thought leaders from around the globe on marketing, brand journalism, and entrepreneurship. After 15 years in TV News as an Anchor/Reporter, Phoebe founded PCIN.TV. The Internet TV Station airs video stories from her online publications: Live Fit Magazine and The Plant-Based Diet as well as curates content from other sources. As a brand storyteller, Phoebe produces business videos, articles, and photos to engage consumers and create brand evangelists. Learn more:TheBrandJournalismAdvantage.com
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