When was the last time your read a press release that started with “XYZ Corporation announced today…”? Now, when was the last time you read an article published by a media outlet that led with the organization first? It’s very common within organizations to look at messaging from the inside out. But, organizations that are truly in tune with their customers look at their messaging from outside in. And this change in perspective is critically important in content marketing and social media.
In order to maintain an authentic voice in your market, you must think like your audience. When I hear “announced today” I’ve already tuned out. This is very old-school messaging, designed for the days of print when the least important points were included at the end of an article in case they had to be literally cut off due to space constraints (I pray that they’ve stopped teaching this writing-style in college PR courses by now). For the most part, today we’re free from that limitation and free to create compelling stories that illustrate the value we bring to our audiences.
Not only is it dull to read about an organization that only talks about itself, it can be dangerous for your brand reputation. Every week, well-meaning companies post something that was intended to be positive, but their audiences took it a different way. I’m sure a few examples have already come to your mind. Now they find themselves apologizing and backtracking. And while there are always going to be unintended blunders (nobody’s perfect after all) you can minimize your risk of becoming the next social media pariah by changing your perspective.
If you’re not thinking as your customer, it’s easy to switch your mindset. Ask yourself the following three questions when working on content and messaging:
- What is in it for the recipient? Knowing your audience, establish a set of criteria that messages must include in order to meet their needs, address their pain points or just plain be interesting to them. Then, lead with it to draw readers in.
- What are all the different ways the message could be perceived? Are there any potentially negative perceptions that we can mitigate by reworking the message?
- Is the timing right? What is happening in the industry or in the world that might make the message appear insensitive or out of touch?
Apply this thinking to the content that you curate or share as well. Does the original message meet the criteria for your organization’s messaging? Is it factual and coming from a reliable and trustworthy source?
We all have our own points of view and see things through different lenses. The most successful marketers are those who can step outside of their viewpoint to understand others’ and provide content that connects with them. Changing your perspective will invigorate your messaging, make you more interesting to your audience and help you increase reach and build engagement.
Need help shaping your content messaging? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how I can help take your organization’s content to the next level.