This is my new mantra!
I find myself saying it over and over again. The temptation for organizations is to just keep creating more and more messages while sending them across the most efficient and established models for the organization. The lie that organizations buy into is that they constantly need to have something new in order to break through the clutter and reach their target audience. While their intuition isn’t entirely off (breaking through the clutter is vital to success), I’m becoming more convinced that new ideas aren’t necessarily what people responds to. Rather, they crave compelling content that provides a call to action which reaches them using their preferred or native habits of content consumption (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Blog, Email, etc.).
- A nonprofit might depend solely on direct mail (and rightly so given its sustained performance) but never consider the impact direct mail is having on online interactions. Some studies even suggest that traditional direct mail is driving online donations and transactions. If I only give online, you lose.
- A church might be launching a new program, and it wants to let the community know about it. Only they do this once a month. The church thinks that “new” will attract the prospect. Maybe. I tend to think it will just underline how confused you are about your purpose and identity. If I’m the prospect and I’m confused, you lose.
The problems created by sending too many new messages are…
- Not everyone in the organization has time to assimilate them into their strategy and planning.
- Not enough time is spent testing and refining the idea to determine whether or not it’s a success or not.
- The prospect will shut you down immediately if you don’t take steps to establish trust. Always presenting yourself as something new — running after a new cause, objective, or product — doesn’t establish trust. It’s the same thing as if you went out with the same person multiple times and each time your date changed their name. You’d begin to wonder what’s going on and what you don’t know.
Fewer messages means more time for…
- Refinement of ideas, concepts, and calls to action.
- Ownership of vocabulary in your space.
- Expectations to be set that refine and protect the relationship with the intended audience (e.g. client, prospect, etc.)
- Expansion of distribution channels based on audience segmentation and preferences. People want organizations and causes to communicate with them through their native filters and habits.
Building trust is about being the same person in multiple situations. Building trust is about creating a confidence that who you are today is who you will be tomorrow. Building trust is what content strategy is all about.
What’s more important to you and your organization: revealing your next BIG idea or nurturing the relationship you have with your target audience?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.