in Digital Web

Don’t spread your message (too thin)

The Message album cover

It can be really easy to spread yourself too thin. Multiple blogs, content in lots of different places and spreading a message that you feel has power to the point where it can barely be heard anymore.

Do you do this to your key messaging? It happens you don’t have a strategy.

There’s nothing gimmicky about planning your content. You need to go into every web site launch, microsite development or even the creation of social networking profiles like Facebook and Twitter a plan for how you intend to utilize them. This plan can grow, adapt, change or anything else, but before you decide to “push the button” you need to understand some critical pieces to the puzzle:

1. Who are you trying to reach?
If you’re just creating a venue to keep up with the Joneses, that’s fine. But you might want to think more carefully about precisely who will read what you’re putting out there and if it’s providing you with the ROI you want. If not, you need to rethinking whether you should do it at all.

2. What’s your goal?
Increase enrollment? S
ell widgets? Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, there needs to be an overarching goal for what you’re doing. Once you decide, see it through. Changing horses in mid-stream when you are gaining steam (or readership or followers) can be a bad signal and can alienate those who trust your brand. At the same time, it’s a lot smarter to change your gameplan at halftime than it is to just quit or ignore the statistics. If you’re not reaching anyone, you need to do the research to find out why and doing what it takes to get back on the winning path.

3. Think your message through and communicate effectively.
It’s not always about “just saying something.” You need to think about your medium and your audience. Will it do more harm to say nothing than it does to say something that might alienate people who value you for some specific purpose? Perhaps posting less frequently, but being more effective can ensure that your message is clear, effective and is heard.

4. SEO is not enough.
Having a strong SEO strategy isn’t enough. You need to have a well-articulated plan that addresses the audiences you’re trying to reach. Because if people can find you at the top of Google, what will they find once they get there? If you’re driving tons of traffic to a site or to messaging that’s ineffective, have you really advanced your goals or hindered them by putting more eyeballs on your failures?

You need to be ready when people show up to showcase your institution, organization or program. You want people to do the work for you and that’ll happen if you have a message that’s ready to be made viral.

  1. I think the other thing about messages and spreading them too thin is that with the cheap cost of doing it these days, you almost wonder “why not?” I think there’s a difference between having an ubiquitous message and having one that’s effective and has reach. I think however, that’s a happy medium that can be a challenge for all of us depending on what we’re trying to do.

  2. Good thoughts. I think I’m as guilty as anyone of trying to spread the message too thinly. Part of it might be a result of the mass communication mindset most of us older* communications and marketing practitioners still have. We think we need to spread the word far and wide, blanket all channels with our message. But we need to be more thoughtful and strategic in our marketing.

    Compounding the “tell the masses” problem, perhaps, might be our desire to experiment with social media and other new communication streams.

    * Ugh. I hate to say it, but I am. Reading the latest Beloit mindset just confirmed it. Again. ;)

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