How to create engaging communications to capture any audience

Here I share a loose framework on how to write engaging yet simple communications to capture your audience.

Keys to a successful communication are:

Tonehow you speak with your audience

StructureWhat, why, how, what’s in it for me/why is this important?

Timingknow when best to share messages with your audience

Tone

It is essential to understand how to speak with your audience in a simple yet engaging manner.

Building a strong narrative that delivers clear messages is more important than a message full of buzzwords and potentially misinterpreted meanings. Use simple to understand language, keep your points brief and speak in a human tone.

On average, people will scan emails for 5 seconds before deciding whether to continue reading.

Messages that sound robotic won’t connect with your audience – you need to be authentic.

Craft your messages as you would an authentic conversation with a co-worker, just be human.

The caveat to this would be to make sure you know the audience you’re speaking with and tailor your message tone to these people. You do want to be as authentic as possible, but you must also consider who your speaking with and what is the best approach to connect with these people.

Structure

The structure of your messages should be clear and provide your audience with the key information they need to know or act upon.

We can break down any messages into the following framework:

Subject – this needs to be bold, attention grabbing and on point – no fluff or drab headlines. Think about the headlines that would make you an open an email.

What – what are you asking of your audience? What do they need to know or do?

Why – the most important component of your message is the why – why is this message important? Why should we care?

What’s in it for me?/ What do I need to do? – be clear on the action you want your audience to take and what the benefits will be for them.

Place yourself in the audience’s position – what would you like to see if you received this message? What would make you act on the requests that have been laid out? What are the key points you need/want to know?

Most people are fundamentally driven by 2 questions when presented with instructional communications:

1.    How will this make me look?

2.   What are other people doing?

Use these insights to craft short and succinct messages that will land with your audience in the way you want.

Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to landing key messages, a perfectly crafted communication shared at the wrong time of day will result in poor engagement.

Research has provided a number of insights on the best timings to share messages:

For corporate environments

  • Avoid trade/traditional busy days – Monday is a big no no here
  • Avoid late afternoon post 3pm and Fridays after 12pm (try to avoid Fridays altogether if you can)
  • Tues – Thurs between 7-8.30am and 12-2pm produce the highest engagement in my experience.
  • As a golden rule, avoid sending any key messages that require action from your audience outside of these times.
  • Do your research, find out when your audience is most active and where they hangout.

For external email and social media channels

There is so much research and analysis into the best times to post across social media platforms available, that I’m not going to repeat all of that great stuff here.

Instead you can use this blog post from the team at Hootsuite to explore from their detailed research, what the best times are to post your social campaigns.

I would advise that the engagement to your communications on social platforms will ultimately be determined by the times in which your particular audience is active.

This is why it so so important to know your audience and conduct your own research on their habits and behaviours.

Use the data from this post as a rough guide.

The difference between a good and a great communication campaign can all come down to timing, so be aware and know your audience.

Where can this be applied?

You can use this framework across a variety of channels, of course it would seem to be most applicable to use as a guideline for your email campaigns, yet you can deploy all of this insight in face to face delivery and adapt it for your short form social media messages too.

Keep in mind that knowing your audience, being able to explain the why and do this in an authentic, human way is what counts in landing engaging messages.

All the best and please do share your feedback, thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

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You might also like:

Why neuroscience is sexy and can teach us how to triple engagement with our marketing campaigns.

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