What’s in it for me?

… or making your message relevant.

Behind every successful campaign, message or brand story is the simple phrase ‘What’s in it for me?’.  If you’ve created a great communication, whether you know it or not, you will have been asking yourself that question (and here’s the catch) – not from your perspective, but from that of your audience.

All communication relies on relevance to be effective. Whether you’re trying to hook the next big prospect or sending a memo about the office party, it’s all too easy to assume that relevance is a given. But we really need to stop and think. It’s time to wear someone else’s shoes.

Your website, the next board presentation and that office memo all have communication objectives and desired outcomes but if you’re not asking yourself why your audience will find it interesting it will fall down through insufficient relevance.

So how do you make a communication relevant?

  • Define your audience

Who are you talking to? Instead of writing for yourself, think about who the communication is aimed at and write for them instead. You wouldn’t buy your grandma a skateboard for her birthday, no matter how much you’d like one yourself. You’d buy her something she really wants (like a motorbike). Making communications relevant is a bit like that.  You have to know what your audience is really after.

  • Make it easy for them to understand

In business to business, as in life, we don’t have time to work hard to understand something. We need it handed to us on a plate: bite-sized and easy to digest. Keep your language simple and to the point.

  • Make it about the win-win

You have a message you need to get across: a new HR process needs to be implemented for example. Your audience will understand that this will, in some way, benefit the business. You need to tell the story from their perspective and think about what they get out of the transaction too. The HR process will mean more work for them. How will it help them advance their career or support their teams better?

  • Be part of the tribe

Psychologists* have found that when a company is felt to have shared values and expectations, customers are more likely to buy from them. It’s about immediately establishing a common ground. In other words, to answer the questions “Is this about something I care about or that has some impact on my life?” and “Can I relate to this company, does it fit into my world-view?”

If you can make your communications relevant to your audience, and answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question, you will close the gap between your business goals and their needs and desires, ultimately creating loyal advocates for your business who will help spread the word. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Interested to find out more? Get in touch

* Source: Brandon Walsh, 2010