A group of thirty AP US History students sitting in a classroom are assigned a research project. As expected, one of the students raises his hand to ask, “How long does this need to be?” – to which the teacher responds, “How long is a piece of string?”
The students look around befuddled by the seemingly irrelevant question. The teacher then responds again with the final answer: “As long as it needs to be.”
Like the confused students in this parable, business professionals today are under the same antiquated assumption that more words equate to more thought. The truth is that the extensive worth of buzz words and industry jargon are counterproductive to your brand’s message. The more you add, the more convoluted the central message becomes.
“Business professionals are under the antiquated assumption that more words equate to more thought.”
As PR professionals, one of the most valuable services we provide for clients lies in perfecting the company messaging to be clear and concise for media and target audiences. This is especially important in the B2B technology and financial sectors where complex concepts and technical language can dilute a brand’s message and turn away potential customers.
Below are three techniques to help simplify and clarify your brand’s message so that key audiences can get behind your brand’s mission:
Get clear with ‘freewriting’
The first step is to perform a brain dump of your unobstructed thoughts on what your audience wants to learn about the topic at hand. Include information on what makes your topic worth discussing, potential objections, and key takeaways for readers. This method is proven to stimulate creativity and allows you to visualize all of the different pieces that connect your customer and message together.
Establish a plan for your brand message
Next, focus on clarifying who it is you are trying to reach and the action you want them to take. When crafting your brand message, remember that people are persuaded by what they understand and not what is said. Therefore, it is pertinent for you to stop and ask “Is this how my audience would communicate in a real-life setting?” If the answer is no, then readjust your plan to ensure the brand message is clear and persuasive.
Cut the clutter
When you begin writing content like blog posts, press releases, and marketing copy, remember that less is more. Reduce the word count to help readers understand, digest, and reflect on the information provided. Eliminate unnecessary jargon, longer descriptors, or small text that might confuse or distract the reader from the main message.
To put this into practice, challenge yourself to take the following steps when creating new content:
- Eliminate filler words such as “that”, “just”, “basically”, “actually” and “totally”
- Cut out passive voice – this not only takes up less space but also helps the writer to appear more confident in their message
- Break up long sentences into short, punchier soundbites. There is no reason to have one sentence take up three lines on a page.
Taking the above steps will ensure your message is not only heard but persuades your customer into taking a desirable action. For help with simplifying your company’s key messages for 2021, contact KCD PR.