Tips ’n Tricks
10 ‘How‐to’ Steps to Creating Effective Key Messages
“Key messages” is a term that describes how everyone in your organization communicates who you are, why you exist and, most importantly, why your audiences should care. They communicate the key points your people, or those speaking on your behalf, should use to ensure your benefits are consistently communicated to your audiences.
Key messages communicate who you are, why you exist and, most importantly, why your audiences should care.
Key messages can be developed for different purposes such as speeches, public service announcements or industry presentations. But regardless of how they are used, they need to be well crafted into a set of short, standard phrases or paragraphs to describe your organization, programs and services. As you reach out to more specific audiences, implement new campaigns or communicate programs, these should form the foundational language that is ready to tailor to any purpose.
Following this 10 step checklist is something every organization should be implementing.
- Who are you? Your name and tagline should immediately say who you are, what you do and offer a benefit.
- Define your mission: What do you want to achieve and what is your reason for being?
- Define your vision: What are your big picture goals?
- Create a compelling positioning statement: Create one or two sentences describing who you are, what you do and for whom.
- Define your services: Create a short statement defining the purpose of your services and a list of what you do.
- Who do you serve? Focus in and define your client base. This should be clear internally to your marketing staff as well as externally to your client base.
- State your value proposition: Boil down into one or two short sentences a statement that conveys the value you bring to your clients.
- Create core values: Define four or five beliefs you will never compromise on and which you measure your performance against.
- Define your key differentiators in numbers: Crunch your numbers in such a way that it defines who you are and what makes you stand out from your competitors. These types of numbers are valuable to your sales staff or communications people because they give your team data to back up your organization’s value.
- Develop an elevator pitch: Have you ever met someone that has asked you to tell them a bit about your company or organization? Many people struggle to give that quick, 20 second ‘elevator pitch’ summarizing who you are, what you do and your brand benefits. The elevator pitch is #10 on the recipe for a reason. It’s the boiled down essence steps 1–9 and probably the hardest thing to write because it requires discipline. Resist the urge to throw everything plus the kitchen sink in.