Merriam-Webster definitions of “clear” and “message”
Clear (adjective): Easily heard, easily visible, and free from obscurity or ambiguity: easily understood.
Message (noun): A communication in writing, in speech, or by signals; an underlying theme or idea.
We all know having a clear message for business marketing is important so why isn’t it easier for us to think about our idea and then make it easy to understand? Because most of us aren’t being CLEAR on what our message is and “Bad Messaging Makes Businesses Broke.” Being CLEAR in our message really goes back to the five Ws in business – who, what, when, where, and why.
Who are we talking to; our audience.
What are we trying to sell, say, or write?
When is our message important? Always – our message represents ourselves, our brand, and our business.
Where do people see our message? Website, marketing materials, social media sites…
Why does it matter? So people will connect with us and follow us; the relationship of know, like, and trust builds.
Let’s Make it CLEAR!
As business owners, coaches, and speakers we can all use these fives tips to make our message CLEAR.
Provide a lot of information so it’s understood, but do so in as few words as possible. Be brief, but comprehensive. Here’s three ways to be concise when writing:
- Lead with the main point. Start blogs, articles, or speeches with the main topic and everything else supports the main topic.
- Cut the jargon. All industries use certain acronyms or expressions and more than likely audiences outside of our industry won’t understand what is being said. For example, up until about a year ago I didn’t know what POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS was about? I kept hearing the media talk about President Obama as POTUS and I did not understand it and the thoughts going around in my head were crazy! We can do our audience a favor and steer clear of using jargon; it only confuses most of them!
- Use simple, short sentences. Remember grade school when we learned to write a simple sentence – put the subject first. Write sentences that are clear and to the point; eliminate the unnecessary stuff.
It’s easy to go on a tangent when writing the first draft of anything and that’s fine, but go back and re-read it and take out all the extra stuff; it’s filler and really doesn’t matter, and yes, it’s much easier said than done for some of us.
If we don’t know our audience we don’t know how to talk to them. What’s the style of dialogue? What’s the tone? Remember to guide the language we use towards our specific audience. Having the audience connect when reading our blogs, website, articles starts the relationship of “knowing us, liking us, and trusting us.
Editing is the most important thing to do when writing our message. Does the content flow from one point to the next? Is the structure of the story consistent? Have all the topics been covered? Proofreading is going over the grammar, capitalization, numbers, punctuation, etc. Editing and proofreading are two of the processes we think about when we hear editing; earlier Peter took a look at “How to Work With an Editor: The 4 Steps of Editing Your Book.” Remember, it’s our professional written image we are sharing to the world.
The use of language came up earlier and the importance of knowing our audience. When the ideal audience has been specifically identified, writing and focusing the marketing to them and not everyone is easier. Be specific. Once the audience is narrowed down, focus on the five Ws mentioned above: who, what, when, where, and why and the message will be easier to write and CLEAR.
So how does reading come into play when writing our message? It makes sense if we think about it. The more we read the better writers we become. We begin to realize the type of writing we like – formal, informal. Our vocabulary increases, our grammar improves, and we start to recognize the difference between poor and quality writing. Stephen King said:
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
In summary, when writing think about being short and to the point, know the language and style to use, edit (or pay someone to), be specific about who is reading the message, and read.
What are your struggles with writing? What strategies do you use to write? Comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.
Until next time,