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The Story Comes First

Why a blog (or for that matter a business) about creating great messages? How can you take hours, days, weeks to perfect your business’ message? You’ve got videos to shoot, webinars to do, posts to get on Facebook, tweets to, uh…tweet. Yet how can you afford NOT to? All of these new media are channels through which your message will flow — so you’d better your story straight!

Like a movie, marketing has a script (your key messages) and production (campaigns, launches, etc.). All of the production is downstream of the script. The story literally comes first. If you’re making a movie, do you want to write your script before or after you spend millions on sets, shoots, and CGI effects? If you said before, congratulations. If you said after, you probably directed 2012! Yes, we all know of cases where terrible movies, or marketing campaigns, have just plain bought their way to the top. But even if your company has that kind of money to waste, why would you waste it when a compelling message will help you spend it well?

Social media make having a clear message more, not less, important. More than ever, if you have a great story, other people will help you tell it — often for free. But free cuts both ways. Social media lower the cost barrier because you don’t need billboards on 101 to get your message across. But they raise the “stupid barrier,” because participation is voluntary. Anybody selling billboards or magazine ads will take your money, no matter how lousy your content. But people won’t relay an unclear story for free. Cat videos, yes. Boring messages, not so much.

Viral marketing succeeds when the “virus” is an idea the hosts are happy to catch and transmit. And that’s, in part at least, why Message Matters.

1 Comment

  • Nigel June 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Succinct is always best. Winston Churchill was the master. He would spend an hour to produce a minute or less of presentation/speech. To speak for 10 minutes take hours to prepare. To speak for hours, takes minutes to prepare!

    Reply

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