All organizations communicate their vision and product value, but not all communications efforts are effective. Successful brands put a lot of thought into their messaging, how they want to deliver those messages and through which channels, and how they want to evolve them over time. Key messages are the essence of what you wish to communicate, serving as the foundation of your communications strategy and giving it focus and control.
While the right messages can shape what you want your audiences to consider and to do, ultimately, communication comes down to what the receiver perceives. That’s why it’s important to measure whether your messaging is resonating—internally and externally with stakeholders including employees, management, customers, partners and the media—and how your messaging is influencing actions.
Understanding which messages are gaining traction can empower you and your team to not only develop impactful communications strategies and campaigns, but also help to integrate these messages into other business functions, such as marketing, product and human resources.
Why message resonance is important
Being ranked on the first page of Google search results under specific terms related to your company is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and equity. Online search makes us all informed investigators, meaning we make purchase decisions based on the plethora of information available online.
Your prospective customers make up their minds about your brand long before they ever speak to a salesperson, send an email inquiry or click “checkout” on that shopping cart.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to leverage every piece of data you have in order to cut through the noise and increase your “signal” in the overcrowded digital environment. Understanding how customers search and what messages are resonating with them is a key part of connecting the dots and making important business decisions.
Search psychology: how people search
The search behavior of your audiences has important implications for communications and marketing pros, because how people think about something related to a brand is often unrelated to how they search for it.
As a communicator, if you are unable to cross the psychological chasm between “what a customer should know about your brand” and “how a customer searches based on how they they think and what they already know,” you run the risk of losing them to a competitor or worse, to the internet vortex.
Here’s a great example by Bill Tancer, the preeminent expert on online behavior and author of New York Times bestseller Click:
“As [former] General Manager of Global Research at Experian, I [spent] a vast majority of time working with large data sets to give companies — mostly Fortune 500 — insights into audience segments’ online behavior so they can make better decisions about marketing, advertising, and the list goes on. What people do online — search for, buy, etc. — is probably the most important information a company can have for understanding their customer.”
“One such customer (who will go unnamed!) tapped us to provide insights on the Games part of their business. When we started, we were told that they were optimizing around the term walkthrough. As it turns out, when we looked at actual search traffic, consumers would search for:
<insert the name of the game> then the word ‘cheats’”
“This is a great example of how we often have preconceived notions of how consumers search. Sometimes those notions can diminish how we buy or optimize search traffic. We have to look at external data to really be able to understand.”
When your digital marketing and PR efforts match the “search thinking” of your customers, your ability to see a return on your efforts increases exponentially.
Message optimization (SEO for PR)
Messaging is made up of keywords, or “soundbites”. Soundbites are 1 to 10 word phrases about your product or brand that:
- You continuously use in messaging assets in order to reinforce their significance
- You want people to associate with your product or brand
Example soundbites: “PR measurement,” “insights,” “media monitoring”
Keyword tracking and optimization, a practice that’s usually thought of for search engine optimization (SEO), is central to most companies’ ongoing data analysis efforts. It is widely used to inform marketing and communications strategies, large-scale public relations efforts, lead generation campaigns, and other PR and marketing tactics.
News Engine Optimization (NEO™) helps you ensure that the keywords you want to be associated with your brand are being used in the media and in content about you. NEO provides insights into how the media, influencers, and ultimately customers are responding to and amplifying your messages: messages that can then be used to drive future marketing and public relations activities, owned media content creation, and speaking opportunities.
Your message matters. Measure how much.
In our upcoming webinar, “How to Optimize Messaging & Soundbites To Drive Success,” we will discuss how NEO can help your business cut through the noise, differentiate itself and accelerate future growth. Register for free for our webinar on July 15 at 1:00 pm EST.