Chapter 3: Strategic Messaging

Know Your Message

Over the years, I have written about downtown housing construction, prison inmates training therapy dogs, technology that stores and protects electronic medical records, video games and presidential elections. I am an expert in none of those areas and spent hours researching and interviewing to have the knowledge to craft messaging that was accurate and compelling for the intended audience.

A writer who can read or hear complicated concepts or jargon-filled content and translate it into content that the average reader can easily digest is a diamond among professional communicators. Even when you’re writing about information that isn’t especially technical or difficult, it still takes time and effort to know a topic and message thoroughly enough to write accurate and readable content. Public relations planning and writing requires a constant learning curve.

When Geben creates messaging for both traditional and digital platforms, the starting point is always a clear understanding of the message that needs to be shared. “If you don’t know what you want to say, it doesn’t matter how you’re trying to say it,” says Whaling. “Messaging has to be foundational to everything that you’re doing. Understanding what that message is and then storytelling, how you want to disseminate that message, is the core of what we do.”

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Know Your Message by Mary Sterenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.