We’ve talked about the importance of creating a segmented database and determining the “voice” of your different messages depending on the audience you are targeting. Now let’s discuss what is worth saying. This is probably the biggest challenge our clients face. What should we talk about?
To help them answer that question, we’ve found that interviewing them on a regular basis can be beneficial. Most of the time, the interview starts with a simple, “What’s new?”—and the response is usually, “Same old, same old.” That’s to be expected, but because we approach these interviews from an “outsider” perspective, we’re able to help the clients uncover topics that might be interesting to their audiences even if they aren’t so interesting to the clients themselves.
A 15-minute chat can often yield three or four great ideas to write about. If you don’t have access to someone from the outside to do interviews like these, have one of your employees do it. Just sit down and talk about what the business is up to, and you’ll probably find that the process will help you to formulate messaging.
It’s a common theme among manufacturers—they are so busy with day-to-day operations that they don’t realize that what they are doing can be really interesting to someone from the outside, particularly prospective customers. For example, maybe you just bought a brand-new piece of equipment and brought it online. Does it increase your capacity or give you a capability that you didn’t have before? Customers and prospects will want to know about that! Is it a great new technology? Employees and recruits might really get excited about it!
You also should think about what you are doing in relation to what’s happening in your industry or in the world at large. Since early spring, the focus of almost every aspect of our lives has been the pandemic. What did you do during this time? Did you focus on helping, like encouraging volunteering or making donations? For instance, several manufacturers in Berlin created a Local Lunchtime Challenge in which they purchased lunches for their employees from local restaurants. It demonstrated their appreciation to their workers, who were going above and beyond to keep the manufacturers going despite the overwhelming challenges, and it also funneled business to restaurants in the community. And by making it a “challenge” and sharing it, they encouraged as many companies as possible to join in. That is a great story!
If you can’t come up with a story from inside your business right now, you can always share other information that you find interesting. Look for articles about manufacturing, business ownership, COVID-19, or anything else that you find informative and helpful. Simply write a quick introduction about why you find the piece worthwhile and then share a link to it. People always appreciate good, practical stories that give them information they need.
So, when you set out to create a message to share with your network, look for something that falls into one of the three categories we’ve talked about:
- What are you working on?
- What is going on in the industry or the world? (e.g., COVID-19)
- What is something I’ve found interesting and helpful?