Archive for key messages
We all know that a picture paints a thousand words, but few people really stop and think what those words are really saying when selecting an image for their marketing materials.
Using unchanged stock photography is usually a no go. By all means use it to be inspired or to bang up on a blog post, but these days, everyone’s got access to stock shots and you really don’t want to look like everyone else, so consider chaning it up a little. You might crop the shot, change the colour or add a layer, maybe even turn a couple of photos into a photo montage.
Using a good designer might cost you a little more, but your materials will then jump out from the sea of sameness. There are lots of people who know how to use design software (and call themselves a designer), but lots fewer understand design elements and the power of design as a communication tool. Ask to see examples of their work and have them talk to you about why they chose to use the elements or colour they did – you’ll see who knows their stuff pretty quickly.
Regardless of whether you’re using stock shots, your own photography, sketches, etc or images that have been especially created for you, ask yourself these questions before using or posting your next image to make sure you’re using the right ones that deliver the right 1000 words.
- What message are we trying to send with this piece of marketing material?
- What message does this photo/image convey?
- Do 1 & 2 match?
- Would a cartoon, graph, real-life customer/user/insert image of something else grab our customer’s attention better?
- Are the concepts behind the materials and photo in keeping with each other or do they fight each other?
- What’s the hero (or centre of attention) in the shot?
- Is this image about us or our customers – remembering the WIIFM principle is the most powerful of all
- Does it really reflect our brand?
- Have we defaced/obsured or in any other way altered our brand?
- Does the image fit with our brand essence and values?
- If it has a caption, does it deliver the same message as the shot?
- Is it in any way divisive or offensive?
- Does its use send a professional message?
- Is this image so popular, our clients will have seen it on every other site
- Have we infringed someone else’s rights (copyright) by using it?
- If it’s a creative commons image, have we given it due credit?
- Have we used the image at the correct resolution for how we’re reproducing it?
Not all of these questions will require answering every time, but asking some of them might just ensure the message you want to convey and the one you do match up nicely (which is important if youwant to avoid confusing your customers).
Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She’s loves creating content and campaigns that drive engagement (using WIIFM) and capturing customers for her clients. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course when she’s not working on client campaigns, strategy or writing them content. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect - she’s happy to talk marketing and business boosting over coffee.
Image credit – WARNING
© Marilyn Barbone | Dreamstime.com
- Always, always, always prepare your key messages. Typed, handwritten, points on post-its – whatever. Put down the three most important points you want to get across about your business, your product or the issue at hand.
- Find a story or two that illustrates your key messages. Think of it as proving you can do what you say you can do
- Be up to date on what’s going on in the papers/the magazine that’s interviewing you. Know their style of story. If they like to ‘dig’ for an interesting angle (ie: potential dirt) you’ll be a step ahead.
- Practice delivering your key messages. This is the critical piece here. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading them. Put them into your daily conversation as often as you can. Have someone fire (hard) questions at you and practice turning the question into the answer you want to give.
- You don’t have to ‘answer’ the journalist’s question. You have the right to choose the statements you give them. It’s up to you to steer the conversation where you want it to go. If you want to watch great media technique in action, watch the major party Federal politicians. They’re usually prepped and trained to within an inch of their lives. Regardless of what you thought of John Howard as a PM, he was incredibly media savvy and rarely ‘off-message’.
- Be quiet – when you’ve given the answer you want to give, stop speaking. Journalists know if they’re quiet, the interviewee will generally ‘fill’ the space and that’s where they get the ‘good stuff’.
- If you’re asked a question that makes your blood boil, stop, breathe and have a sip of water. Collect your thoughts. Journos are trained to ‘find’ the story. Don’t take the bait.
- Nothing is ever “off the record”. Never assume that what you say before or after the interview won’t be used. Take it as a given anything you say during your time together can and will be used.
- Don’t have an expectation that a journalist is there to help you or your company. They’re not. They’re there to do their job which is to tell interesting enough stories to ‘sell’ their readers to advertisers.
- Once it’s out there, don’t attempt to get it back. Unless what’s been printed is factually incorrect, you’re unlikely to have them return your call. Even if there’s a fact correction, you’re unlikely to get more than a tiny retraction somewhere buried on page 113. So think hard about whether it’s worth annoying the journalist – if you’re difficult to deal with, they’ll look to give a story to someone else (unless of course, you’ve got news they really want, but prepare for some pain!)
Finally, think about getting some good media training. Your trainer will work with you on developing up your key messages, how to deliver them well and how to answer difficult questions. And they will ask you questions you never saw coming – better with them than in a ‘live’ interview.
The other day, a client sent me the following link to have a look at.
It’s a perfect illustration of the power of communication and of how changing our words to speak to the imaginations and emotions of others makes all the difference in the world.
My favourite part – is that sometimes changing just a few words really can and does make all the difference in the world. What words to you need to change today? And better still, what difference can you make in the world today.
I consider myself blessed that I get to watch things like this and call it ‘work’.