Following is an excerpt from the recent position paper, “Eleven Elements to Mold a Magnetic Message: How to Shape Your Story for the Press, Policymakers, and the Public.” We’ll discuss each of the Eleven Elements individually to help you get a better handle on each one. Today, let’s turn to Element Five, Examine.
My message isn’t perfectly defined. – Kanye West
Here’s a quick review of some of the questions you’ll need to address as you craft your message:
- Who is my audience?
- What are my goals and objectives for this campaign, issue, or crisis?
- What is the audience’s current perspective and baseline of information?
- What matters to my audience and what benefits can they expect?
- What do they care about on an emotional level, and how can I connect with that?
- What do I want them to support, condemn, or take action upon?
- What is likely to motivate them to take action?
- Where are my vulnerabilities?
- Where is my data or proof weak, making me subject to attack?
- Which are the most concrete proof points I can offer?
- What facets of my personal background give me an edge in their eyes?
- What makes my contention better than my opposition’s?
- What is the single best quotable quote I want them to recall and restate?
- How can I best transform them into disciples of my message?
- What “call to action” must I sound?
You’ll be able to ignore some of these questions depending on your situation. And you will no doubt explore additional questions specific to your issue or industry. The important point is to unearth the concerns that put you on the fast lane of the message highway.
What’s missing from this list? What other questions do you consider during your message development efforts?