This is a Messaging Strategy Template to help you to plan and create effective copy to market your business.
Your copy is your written content. Your text.
Copy is text that has been created, specifically and strategically, to effect a desired outcome.
To write ‘COPY’ you must know what you want to say and then think about how you are going to say it.
A Messaging Strategy can be very helpful for this.
In marketing, it is helpful to always think in terms of messaging.
What messages do you want to promote about your business?
How can you make those messages clear, but memorable, and possible for the reader to understand and believe?
Clear – see in front of you ‘what you want to say’, written in the clearest simplest possible way. This is the basis for your headline.
Memorable – Now fashion your headline into ‘How you want to say it’. Add a bit of intrigue or cleverness, but keep it user-focused and still clear.
Understood – Add a sub-heading, bullet points or short paragraph to clarify and expand upon the headline.
Believable – Add some proof. A statistic, or testimonial. Photos and specifics are both good forms of proof.
Here we will look at firstly creating a Message Strategy for the blueprint of your brand. This will give you messages that you can use across all platforms and campaigns. Secondly, we will look at how to do a Message Strategy for each of your web pages on your website.
Branding Blueprint Messaging Strategy
Write down 5 key messages that you would like potential customers or clients to know about your brand.
Put the messages in order of importance. This is an important step. We call this a Message Hierarchy. People tend to scan read, magazines, newspapers, brochures and online. They may only read the message at the top of the page, so make sure that is where you put your MOST IMPORTANT message.
You should consider giving each message its own headline, and possibly a sub-header.
A headline should be clear, concise, informative, and ideally somewhat intriguing. The purpose of trying to make a headline intriguing is to make it memorable and also to encourage the reader to read on.
Mostly headlines need to be supported with some extra information. Perhaps a sentence or short paragraph of explanation, or some bullet points.
It is really important to try to give evidence that your message is true. It is easy to make a claim, but to support that claim is going to increase trust and make people pay more attention. You only need to give some ‘proof’ to increase trust.
Proof tactics you can use include:
• A photo, image, an award or partnership logo.
• An info-graph, some statistics, some specifics.
• A testimonial from a customer or user.
In fig 1. you can see how a table can help you to separate what you want to say and how you want to say it.
How is this useful?
Once copy is created it often gets edited through a collaborative process or just through you re-editing your original draft. In this process decisions can be made in terms of what ‘sounds good’. What sounds good can sometimes end up being far off the mark in terms of what you were originally wanting to say.
Be clear about what you want to communicate, and then as a second step start to fashion how you will say it. This is the key to effective copywriting.
HOME PAGE Messaging Strategy
This may well be exactly as it is in your Branding Blueprint Strategy. After all your main messages should all appear on your Home Page.
For your web pages, it is good to have a Call to Action after each message. This could be a Call Us, Book Now or Add to Cart button, or a contact number or prompt, or a link to another web page, perhaps a products or services page, or a contact us page.
*TACTIC – When a website visitor is considering clicking on a button or link, studies show they tend to go into high attention mode. So this is a really good time to give them a bit more of a ‘choose us’ kind of message. Perhaps a ‘booster’ message that crushes any objections they may have in accepting the call to action.
For example, if the call to action is Sign Up for our newsletter, you may want to add some trigger text about how quick it is to sign up and/or how valuable the newsletters are. If the call to action is for a Book Now you may want to put something about how great an experience the event will be.
See example below. Fill in the table with your ideas for –
- Message – what to say
- Message – how to say it
- Support – more info
- Proof – stats, images, testimonials
- Call to action
- Trigger text
Do this for all of the 5 messages you would like to see on the page.
I recommend filling in a table such as this for all your content heavy pages, such as About Us, History, and possibly product/ service pages.
I also recommend this Message Strategy Table for the creation of blog articles, and as a starting point for newspaper and magazine articles, and print materials such as brochures and flyers.
In some cases you may not want to have as many as 5 messages, and in other cases you may want to extend beyond 5. But 5 is a good yard stick.