We often start by choosing our communication method first when planning to market our services, products or ideas. But this could be costing you time, sales and money. Why? It all comes down to how you understand the communication method.
Your communication method refers to how you send your marketing message. It could be an email, blog, landing page, web site, video or more. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of how the audience interacts with the message
- Audience’s Preference for Receiving Content
- The Kind of Language Used to Communicate the Message
- Language Style of the Audience
- Context That the Communication Method Is Best Consumed
Let’s find out why these elements are important when it comes to getting your message to your audience.
Choose Your Audience’s Preferred Method for Content
Each person that consumes your content or receives your messages has a preference for one communication method over others. One person might prefer video because they don’t like reading or find it faster to get information. Another who likes details may prefer reading. One group of people may spend most of their time watching YouTube videos while another group may simply prefer listening to podcasts or making sense of their world through emails.
If you’re serious about getting your message across to your chosen audience, you need to choose a communication method that they are most likely to use well.
There is no point sending out an email to an audience that prefers to watch YouTube videos, or a group who travels and has no time for watching videos or reading.
Before you choose a communication method, think of your audience first so you can be sure that you are not wasting your time or theirs.
Once you have chosen the right communication method for your audience, you need to understand its language to maximize the success of your message. see also: How to make a product go viral
Use the Right Language for Your Method
Did you know each communication method has its own language and nuances?
At a high level, video has a language of constantly changing moving pictures supported by sound and some onscreen text. Without the constant onscreen movement people will just tune out. Since people’s attention spans are limited, videos need to be short if you want them to be effective. This all makes up the “language” of video.
Audio communication, typically podcasts, uses a language of sound, comprising of voice (and tone), sound effects, and music. Why do you think there are so many “whoosh” stinger sounds in commercial radio? They’re using sound effects as part of the language to keep their audience tuned in at an auditory level.
Written communication uses what we traditionally see as language—a mix of words, sentences, and paragraphs with nice formatting to get the message across.
There are nuances to consider within each communication method that make it work harder for your message.
For example, since we know people don’t have a lot of time to read emails, short emails work more effectively (unless you’ve got great copywriting that draws the reader in from the first to second and third sentences).
Since blogs are read on the screen, they need to have a particular style to keep the reader reading, such as simple words and short sentences with plenty of subheadings if the blog post is lengthy.
If you fail to use the language and nuances of your communication method properly, you are severely limiting the effect of your message.
On the other hand, if you know how to use the language properly, then you can increase the effectiveness of your message.
Write in a Style That Resonates with Your Audience
Besides working with clients to improve their communication skills, I’m a jazz musician. I get to hear a lot of comments around rock players, blues players or classical players when I’m out at gigs.
You see, while all are musicians, each has their own style when it comes to playing what appears to be the same notes written on the page. Classical players play the notes very “straight” up and down and never deviate from what is written. Rock players may not always play the notes exactly as written, but will play in a “straight” up and down way that’s very different to the “swing” or contemporary feel of a jazz player.
This means that if you got them to interpret the same sheet of music, it will sound different. This is similar to speaking English with an American accent versus a British accent—same words, but different nuances and phrases that mean different things. Try using an Australian phrase like “fair suck of the garlic” with someone outside of Australia and you might get a weird response.
It also means that a classical player can “sniff out” a jazz player very quickly. Just as a rock player can “sniff out” a jazz player after playing a few notes together.
The point in all of this?
When communicating with an audience, you need to use your audience’s style of language so that your message resonates faster and hits fewer roadblocks.
The only caveat to this is that sometimes you may not be able to send a message in the audience’s language style without sounding inauthentic. It would be like the Queen using slang to talk with a bunch of rappers. If this is the case, you need to find the best language that you can use authentically that will resonate with your audience.
Use the Right Context for Your Method
When and where is your target audience most likely to consume your message or content?
I always enjoy reading blogs on trains because it’s a good time to read and blogs are easy to read on my mobile phone or device. Salespeople working on the road often like to listen to podcasts while they are driving between client meetings.
If you can get an idea of where your audience is most likely to consume your content, you can use your communication method to suit that context more powerfully.
Another consideration around context is to think about your audience’s journey and the role of congruency.
If your message is part of a series of messages over a number of weeks (such as a blog series), pages (sales funnel) or branding, make sure it is consistent. When producing a series of videos, use similarly branded openings and closings. If you’re introducing an idea in step 1 of a funnel, continue that idea through each subsequent step.
Your communication method is a critical element of getting a message across. But if you’re serious about your message, avoid the mistake many make by choosing their communication method first and then other elements of the communication after that.
Be clear on your purpose and understand your audience first. Then consider what the best communication method for your audience is and make sure you know the language of your communication method and audience. Consider the context of how your audience will consume your message or content when planning your communication method.
Here’s to your communication success!
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