5 questions about success your messaging guide must answer
Not to put you on the spot, but what’s really so important about your company? If you hesitate—or if answers vary throughout your organization—then it’s probably time to start highlighting what success means in your messaging. A solid messaging guide that highlights everybody’s potential success with what you have to offer will lead you to understand the kinds of content you should create—and how to best deliver it to the people who matter most to your organization’s success.
Whether you’re updating your messaging guide or starting from scratch, see how well you can answer these five questions:
1. What does success look like for your organization?
People skip this one all the time. No one wants to admit they’re not sure about their purpose. What’s more, getting everyone on the same page internally requires honest conversation—and part of messaging’s value is ensuring that people across your organization can answer the existential question: “Why are we here?” It’s often best to address this at the beginning of a messaging guide as you describe market opportunities. It also helps to understand (and list) the shortfalls of your competition.
2. What does success look like for your customers and partners?
Your answer to this one is also for an internal audience. Marketers at most B2B companies should be able to identify at least three target personas, which should make explaining individual success (fueled by your offerings) a breeze. But go further. Explain what success (fueled by you know what) means for each persona’s departmental organization—and their company as a whole. Be thorough. Skipping one of these descriptions will rob your document of its value in creating new content that addresses real needs.
3. What does success fueled by your company look like?
This is your elevator pitch. It’s the high-level view of why you’ve got the goods, and the most important part of your messaging guide because it will be the most used and referenced part of the document.
Some marketers try to craft their value proposition early in the game, which can be tempting after all the heavy lifting of describing market position, competitive advantages, and audience definition. But you’ll also want to examine your differentiating claims and proof points before finalizing the elevator pitch.
4. Why does success depend on your organization?
Don’t wait to handle objections. Shoot them down before they appear with differentiating claims.
Say there are three primary areas in which success really does depend upon what you’re selling. Well, you’ve probably listed your advantages in those three areas. But you still need to back up those advantages with significant business benefits. And don’t stop there, because claims will only get you so far with discerning audiences. They’ll want evidence. Make sure you explain how your company ensures success with quantifiable proof points.
5. How do you speak success?
Remember that you’re trying to create a framework for producing and delivering compelling content. If you’ve done your persona homework, you should be able to list the sources of information your target audiences respect, along with trends that are important to these people. With this intelligence in mind, content plans and editorial calendars can take shape quickly. You’ll be ready to start telling your story in a way that ties success to the very important things you have to offer.
Understand what a successful messaging guide looks like
Answering the questions listed above can be time-consuming, which is why many of our clients rely on us to create concise messaging guides designed to be vital marketing references.
You can certainly create these foundational assets on your own, of course. To help you decide, we’re happy to share a standard TDA messaging outline, which includes all the items we address. Just drop us a line and we’ll send it your way with no obligation so you can choose how you’ll get started describing success.