If you’ve not read the first part of this tiny little five-part series on content, here’s the link.
The first problem we covered is Content itself.
The second one here is Clarity.
Leading people down the garden path is great if you are taking them to a garden. If not, it’s best avoided.
Remember, it’s a VUCA world. Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous. Life is too difficult for people to figure out what you mean to say when you go about that roundabout fashion. Get to the point. Get straight to the point and stay there. Tell them how you will make their life that little bit easier.
If you are clear about what you want to talk about it, talk about it in crisp clear tones. Make unambiguous statements. Be bold. Be real. Keep it simple. And above all, don’t get caught up in jargon. And please, don’t use those unintelligible words. As David Ogilvy once said,
“Beware of behemoth ponderosity.”
So here are four things that should give you greater clarity in your vision. And of course, your content.
Are you clear about what you want to do with the campaign you are unleashing? Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in deadlines and forgetting to understand why you are doing what you are doing. Unfortunately, it’s like starting out on a road trip without a destination in mind, and yes, without a GPS. While that’s a great holiday to take it’s not going to get the right clicks on your message or for that matter the right numbers on your sales charts. It makes sense to take a step back and define what you want to achieve with each activity.
It would also help to define what success will look like. Is it just awareness you are looking for? Or is it an attitude change? Or is it a call you are expecting from your reader? (If it’s the third one, there’s more to it than this post! So watch out for the remaining in this series)
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
You may not believe this but a lot of people throw communication out into the big wide world without knowing who they are talking to. Or thinking that if they talk to everybody someone will listen. That’s like using a megaphone in the middle of the ocean hoping the sound waves will carry your message across to different shores. Better still, put your message in a bottle. At least your message is out there, it’s well written and you’ve ensured that the bottle is well corked! The truth is, that unless you are sure who you are talking to, it is difficult to craft or direct your message.
Think about it in practical terms: would you use the same tone for your grandmother as your four-year-old niece? Would you speak in the same tone to your colleague as to your local chaiwallah? What about your wife? Or your son? Or a friend? Let’s face it, even your Whatsapp feeds for all these are different. So why would you shout out from the rooftops one single message to everyone in general? Why?!
Take time to define your audience. Make each member of your audience flesh and blood. Personas are not just a buzzword. They are your target audience as real as you can make them. (If you need help with that, give us a shout!) Then craft your message as if you were talking to them one on one. And see the difference.
OMG! You now have an audience and you don’t know what to say! Or maybe you have too many things to say. Sorry is all that I can say. Please do zero in to your message. Make it crystal clear (I know, I know, I am repeating myself). It’s easiest if you choose one main message to convey, supported by three clear points. (Oooops! The word ‘clear’ creeps in again). Consider short attention spans. Consider several social media feeds open at one time. Consider calls, mails, friends, relatives, wives, children and bosses vying for the attention of your audience. Take the moment you have with your audience, deliver your parcel and BOOM! You’re done. Make it short. Make it simple. Make it quick. Oh yes, did I say clear?
The medium is the message. Oh well! That was said before anyone even thought of social media. But it still holds true. You can’t be lazy here. Your message must be repurposed to the medium.
Are you putting wordy stuff on Instagram? The InstaFairy will wave her wand and turn you into a tadpole. Well, maybe not but most likely. You really cannot put wordy stuff on Instagram, right? And yet the cardinal sin of putting wrong stuff on the wrong medium gets committed all the time.
I hate to tell you this, but the social media police are watching. And while they may not step in and use the breathalyzer on you, they will prevent all the lovely people who are your likely audience to be sufficiently interested in seeing what you have to say. And that means a lot of coins down the social media drain.
So, I say, in Rome do as the Romans do. Please repurpose your content appropriate to the medium. Do the LIKE thing on Facebook and the 140-character thing on Twitter and yes, don’t put stills on YOUTUBE! Oh yes, dont, please don’t, use LinkedIN like you do Facebook. Please?Get these four points on clarity. And see how your clear vision helps see newer horizons.
Missed the first part of this series? The one that talks about CONTENT? Read it here.
Want to know what we do with Content Marketing? A workshop. Here’s the link.
Or simply write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And allow us to bring some clarity into your vision.