How to write key messages for your business

Person writing key messages in notebook

How to write key messages for your business

One of the most critical things to have in place before you launch your PR program is key messages. Key messages are succinct, easily digestible and clear messages about your business, product or service that will be used consistently across your PR, communications and marketing channels.

The goal is to ensure that as your target audiences hear or read about your business, they are receiving consistent messages which help them to understand what you do, who you are and why you do what you do. Eventually as you raise the profile of your business, you want your target audiences to be able to repeat those messages back to you.

You’ll use your key messages to prepare media releases, draft sales copy, craft media pitches and create case studies – they’ll be used to develop virtually any marketing or PR content you can think of. When your spokesperson undertakes a media interview they will refer to those messages. You can see just how important it is to have your key messages established upfront.

So, what do you need to know when you sit down to write your key messages?

Be succinct

Ideally you want no more than seven key messages per target audience. Remember, your goal is to be succinct and clear. You’re not trying to say every single thing about your business in these messages, just the most important things. Ideally you want each key message to be a maximum of one or two sentences.

Make them targeted, but consistent

Depending on who you’re targeting in your PR or marketing program, your key messages may vary according to the target audience. You want to ensure your messages are relevant and tailored to each target audience, while keeping them as consistent as possible.

Address the who, what and why

Key messages will help your target audiences understand what you do, who you are and why you do what you do. When you set out to write your key messages, the key questions to ask yourself first are:

What problem does our business solve?

What is unique about our business?

What is our story? What is the history of the business? Who founded the business?

What are our products or services?

What is our mission? Why do we do what we do?

Make them digestible

Key messages need to be easy to understand. If your business solves a complex problem, this is your opportunity to explain this simply.

It is essential that key messages be digestible, clear and not confusing. Don’t be too wordy, use the active voice and don’t include any jargon.

Remember that the person hearing or reading the message may have no prior knowledge of your business or industry. If they don’t understand what you’re trying to say in your key messages than it is a lost opportunity.

Get feedback

It is really important to test out your key messages with people outside of the business. When you’re ‘in’ the business and know it inside out, it can be easy to assume that what you’re trying to say will make sense to an outsider, but it actually may not.

Share your messages with your network for feedback. If you can reach your specific target audiences for feedback, even better.

Engage the experts

Workshopping the development of your key messages with an agency is a great way to ensure that you’re maximising the potential of your key messages to cut through with target audiences. At Green Door Co we hold key message workshops to help you define and create key messages which are relevant, clear and targeted.

If working with an agency is out of reach, don’t be deterred, with the right knowledge and skills you can craft your own key messages successfully.

Would you like to learn more about how to develop key messages for your business?

Green Door Co has launched PR 4 SMEs – a comprehensive online course which will provide you with the knowledge and tools to launch your own successful PR program. The course is designed for startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and marketing teams who want to upskill in PR. To find out more or to enrol click here.

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