I’ve been very fortunate to learn from the same communication coaches who’ve worked with giants like Google, Skype and Microsoft.
The lessons I’ve learnt from these coaches have shaped the way I now communicate in all forms. I certainly feel like the insights have given me the edge over others these past 8 years. So, I want to pay it forward by sharing what I’ve learnt and what’s worked in the real world.
What follows is a loose framework on how to write engaging yet simple communications to capture any audience.
These are the 3 keys to a impactful message
- Tone – how you speak with your audience
- Structure – What, why, how, what’s in it for me/why is this important?
- Timing – know when best to share messages with your audience
To know how to weave these together as organically as possible, is to know how to get your messages heard every time.
Let’s investigate each of these 3 key attributes in more detail…
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, so craft your messages as you would an authentic conversation with a co-worker. Be human.
The caveat to this would be to make sure you’re clear on how the audience likes to converse and tailor your message where needed. You do want to be as authentic as possible, but you must also consider who you’re speaking with and what is the best approach to connect with these people.
The way you connect with a team in Finance is not going to be the same as you would with those in technology.
Knowing your audience matters!
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:
This needs to be bold, attention-grabbing and on point – no fluff or drab headlines. Think about the headlines that would make you open an email.
What are you asking of your audience? What do they need to know or do?
The most important component of your message is the why – why is this message important? Why should we care?
4/ What’s in it for me?
What are the benefits for the reader if they engage with your content?
5/ What do I need to do?
Always be clear on the action(s) you want your audience to take. Optimise those calls to action like your life depends on them.
Place yourself in the audience’s position and ask:
- 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 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. Remember those messages that drop in at 5 pm on a Friday? Of course you don’t. And that’s where the tool of time must be respected.Tweet
Yearly research on external messaging channels like social media gives us a good indication of when people are most active to receive content. We can use these insights for the workplace too.
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 and social media channels
There is so much research and analysis into the best times to post across social media platforms that I will not repeat everything here.
Instead ,you can use this blog post from the team at Hootsuite to discover the latest insights from their detailed research. But, I don’t want to leave you hanging, so let me share data from some of the biggest platforms today from the team at Hubspot.
Best time to post on Twitter
Best time to post on TikTok
Best time to post on LinkedIn
The main lesson here is to post when your audience is active.
This might be what’s shared in the images and it might not. You’ll discover more through trial and error, and of course, if you operate with consumers across multiple timezones, you may not need to pay too much attention to this.
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 you can apply this framework
You can use this across many channels.
Of course, it would 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.
The idea is that this framework can flex to your scenario.
As we’ve talked through, keep in mind that knowing your audience, being able to explain the why and doing this in an authentic and humane way is what works to get your messages seen and heard
Before you go… 👋
If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.