Do your key messages differentiate you?
- 14 November, 2001 13:48
Are you the leader in e-business solutions for the financial enterprise space? How about the only provider capable of delivering an end-to-end solution? Perhaps you are, but if those are your key messages, you're putting yourself in the same basket with hundreds of other companies that define themselves the same way.
While those key messages may work in advertising or direct mail copy, they won't work for editorial coverage because the key messages you want to see repeated in the media have to get past journalists before they reach your target audience.
Every journalist in the business and IT media is swamped with news releases making extravagant claims. As a result, journalists can get cynical.
It's a mistake to define your key messages to the media as though they were mission statements full of boastful claims.
The way you define your key messages to the media can make the difference between good coverage and no coverage. For a journalist to include your key messages, you have to meet very specific requirements.
Let's compare two messages and see why one is going to work and why the other is destined for the bin.
Statement 1: "Company XYZ, the global leader in providing high-value, leading-edge e-commerce systems to the world's most successful corporations, is continuing to dominate the market in innovative solutions."
Statement 2: "Company XYZ today signed up two of Australia's top 100 companies for its new privacy law compliance system."
Statement 1 would be in the waste paper bin by now. Even if there is better information further on, it looks so full of hype most journalists wouldn't bother going further with it.
Statement 2 is entirely different. It's not relying on adjectives. It's using nouns and verbs to get its ideas across. Most of all, it meets the following requirements:
It's believable. Saying you have signed two of Australia's top 100 companies is easy to check.
The first statement is full of
claims that would be difficult to substantiate.
It's relevant. The fact that it talks about Australian companies means it's almost certainly relevant to Australian readers.
It's specific. Statement 2 is clearly not talking about a small business product. It's talking about a specific issue affecting major organisations.
It signals a benefit. Anything that will make it easier to comply with the new privacy legislation will be a benefit to any organisation.
It's fresh in terms of news. The claim that it's new would need to be substantiated but at least it will catch a journalist's interest.
It's topical. Privacy legislation is in the news and of great concern to business people. In this respect, it's already news.
There are many other issues in developing your key messages for the media. But if you take the above criteria as a checklist when dealing with the media, you will have far better results.