Act right: how to communicate one message to many audiences

When I moved to Chicago in 2002, I knew very few people and had time and energy to explore my new hometown. I felt ready to step outside of my comfort zone — so, I signed up for an acting class. Which was ironic, because I’d just vacated the city where everyone is an actor. But being mostly a behind-the-scenes kind of person, I was curious to see what it was all about.

I had never really considered what it takes to be an actor. It was quite an eye-opening experience, and something I still draw from in my work today.

Class act.

One exercise in particular, we were asked to pull a simple sentence from a hat and act it out five different ways. My sentence was, “It came yesterday.” And I was to express it with relief, excitement, sadness, frustration, and confusion.

Some emotions were harder than others to convey. (“Excitement” was a complete FAIL). However, in that exercise, I learned the simple but useful trick of how to communicate one message numerous ways.

Encore.

That acting exercise flashed back to mind recently while I was thinking about how a piece of content should be amplified on each of our various marketing channels. Just as I took care in conveying those three simple words five different ways in class — the tone of our content’s promotion would also need proper delivery, specific to each marketing channel.

For example, imagine you have a blog post you want to promote. How it gets amplified through LinkedIn should be different from how it’s shared on Twitter. One channel may tap into the more playful aspects of the content, whereas the other may highlight the business angle. Each delivery is appropriate, depending on the tone set for each channel. That is, each channel should be considered its own unique delivery medium.

Sure, a piece of content can be shared exactly the same way across all channels. People still do it this way all the time. It’s easy. It’s out there. But it’s also lazy and non-strategic.

Pro tips.

Here are a few considerations when delivering one message to multiple channels:

  • Create a messaging document that complements your publishing schedule, listing the channels wherein your content will be distributed.
  • Compose multple messages under each column (for simple A/B testing) and be sure to include any associated links and/or assets.
  • Create a unique short link for each message for more refined analytics results.

Communicate one message over multiple channels (The Right Way)As with any marketing strategy, know your audience and speak their language.

Melanie Barter

Melanie is an executive producer with a creative background in film, digital and marketing. She is originally from Toronto and has worked in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. She has been in San Francisco since 2004.

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