tailoring your message to your audience

The message you deliver has to be curated for the medium you are using and the person who is breathing it in.

I know it sounds simple, but to make that impression you have to be tuned into the space you are distributing and wearing the shoes of the person who is consuming.

We all have access to a media channel at the fraction of the cost it used to be. You can build a YouTube series, find a voice with a podcast, or throw thinking bombs every day on Twitter. With so much available, the battle for attention is only going to get harder. In the words of Mark Schaefer on his {grow} bog (from Monday 20th), ‘content is intoxicating.’

 

Tailoring Your Message To Your Audience

The medium you deliver has to be respectful to the audience who consume.

tailoring your message to your audienceLet me explain.

I was on the tube in London this week and whilst waiting for my train, I started to wander off reading the tube ads and the longer form content that was on the platform. The story being told to me by Jack Daniels kept me locked in for at least a minute and whilst the screen said the next train was coming in three minutes, I had time to drift.

You have to tune your message to who is consuming and the format they are engaging.

Let me explain.

You are reading this blog now. This is how it becomes dissected for different media:


  • An edited version of this article is sent to the You Are The Media email subscribers (on a Thursday morning). I found that people wanted to read what was in front of them, rather than being teased to click to read more. People said they were happy reading within the format they had received.

 

  • The main points (meaning sentences) are shared throughout the week on Twitter and Linked timelines (normally accompanied by an image created from Canva).

 

  • During the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club, I provide a round up of the main points from the articles produced during the month. I don’t stand and read out the blog, but share 30 seconds of what the article was about.

 

  • I’ll give it a bit of ‘oooomph’ on the Marketing Homebrew podcast and in the ‘our world’ section I will highlight some of the main points raised in my article.

Everything had started from the seed of an idea that took shape in different places, but was tailored to the medium someone else was consuming. The breadcrumbs always lead back to a centre piece (an article, a video, an audio) and it is the experiences that are shared always have a starting point.

This is why I am an advocate of an owned media approach as you have a main message that is then cut and tailored for different spaces. It isn’t an advert that broadcasts and you run out of steam because the focus was just the product. It is a point of view that is shared and is just as relevant from a tweet to being shared in front of an audience in the form of a live blog.

 

Story And Intention

You create a story and match the intentions of the message with the medium that is being used.

The themes, concepts and the way you deliver have to be adapted to the canvas that is in front of you. For instance, a tweet that is cut off halfway as the original message was from somewhere else is just lazy.

Tailoring Your Message To Your Audience

In the words of Mitch Joel in a Talking Content Marketing interview, “The thing to realise is that every channel has its own type of culture with an unwritten role of engagement and connection. Most brands go into channels to sell from them instead of learning to become part of the culture.”

This is all about getting to people where they are and then get them to come to you.

Tailoring Your Message To Your Audience

Discovering The Opportunity

When you understand your audience, you are also seeking an opportunity. This could be to encourage them to make a commitment such as subscribing or get in contact to enquire.

It is not just about who your audience is but why they are there. Is it to be entertained (such as a podcast)? Is it to be educated (reading your blog)? Is it something to pass the time (standing on the train platform).

The media that you use has to be relevant to your audience. I received a printed newsletter last month from a financial planning company. What could have been an opportunity to use as a way to inform, with articles of depth that had relevance to me i.e. the need to plan better for my future, took a route to promote the virtues of the business.

This was their moment, I was a captive audience and the opportunity ended up in the bin. There are some great articles created from their blog, so some of the best articles could have appeared in printed format. When print is used properly it is when it is relevant to your life (I still subscribe to having Campaign delivered every week, I don’t read the online version).

Here are some key pointers for you to take where someone has to be interested in the format that is in front of him or her.


  • Respect the medium. The world is not a cut and paste effort to be seen everywhere because that is where everyone else is. Time to take a breather and understand whatever channel you are looking to distribute, appreciate how other people use it. For instance, would you cut and paste a blog from Medium and put it directly into your Facebook stream? (I really hope you don’t).

 

  • Don’t waste time and money on pure product information or feeling noble because you made a school visit and then posted it everywhere. Does the channel you choose come from a place of being useful, challenging, entertaining, informative and above all else, a bit different? Wherever you appear, you have to be meaningful.

 

  • Less doesn’t have to be more. I realised that we don’t need to tease people, if it is good they will read/watch/listen to it. The most listened to Marketing Homebrew podcast, which was our last show of 2016, is just under one hour (the normal show length is 30 minutes). To say that people’s concentration is dwindling is an absolute misnomer, if the content is being created is relevant to someone else and they enjoy.

 

  • Understand the environment the content is going to be part of. If it is part of a Twitter stream of consciousness it is gone within seconds, compared to an email that is received every week and sits within an inbox waiting to be acknowledged. The difference between what is deleted or clicked is when the message sticks and fits with the reader.

 

  • An original idea can be adapted for a host of media. You don’t have to stick with one message residing one place, if you have an idea it can complement where the consumer is.

Lets Round Up

The companies who are successful are those who are relevant to someone else’s life and the stage they are at. It is up to us to understand the unwritten etiquette of the media channels that we use and who is taking the time to be a part of what we create and believe in.

The places where people interact with you and your message is not just about using a digital channel to distribute but complementing who they are and the time they are willing to spend with you.

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