Saturday is Groundhog Day, which is traditionally about rodents and weather. However, thanks to Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and their movie Groundhog Day, it is also about repetition. And doing something over and over again until you get it right.
Natasha Lyonne’s new Netflix show shares the format. Russian Doll is about a woman who continually dies, only to find herself reanimated back to the same party where the story begins. Again, the theme of repetition as a means of knowledge and understanding pops up.
You can see where this is going, right?
When you’re creating marketing content, you should be repeating yourself. Not in that, your-kid-in-the-backseat-asking-”are-we-there-yet?'“-nonstop way, but in a measured, strategic way.
It’s the reason I spend so much time working with my clients on owning their voice and honing their message so that their core messages — the things they say over and over again — are exquisitely clear. It’s the only way to be sure they are always writing on purpose.
Spoiler alert: several of my core messages are in the paragraph above. Raise your hand if you’ve never heard me say them before.
You weave them into what you say and write whenever you can.
Trust me, I know that it feels weird. You are Phil Connors, having the same conversation over and over. But your audience is Ned Ryerson, the former classmate he meets up with over and over, is not aware of the repeating time loop (unless you buy the theory that Ned is the devil…but that’s a discussion for a different blog.)
So let’s go straight over the edge of repetition, shall we? Please enjoy an encore posting of this 2018 blog I shared a year ago.
And when you’re ready to start repeating yourself, give me a shout.
Last week, I repeated myself a lot.
I led multiple sessions of a new workshop on building content calendars, which meant saying essentially the same thing for 90 minutes, 3 different times. And within the individual sessions, I repeated myself. Frequently.
It was perfect.
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t all that repetition make me sound a little goofy? Wasn’t it annoying to the audience? Didn’t I sound like I had a dangerously thin amount of material to offer?
No. It was perfect.
(See what I did there?)
Because I wasn’t just repeating any old thing. I was hitting, more than once, the key, most important, core messages of the 90-minute session and of my business. At the end of the day, there were a few ideas I wanted to make sure my audience came away with:
“Always write on purpose.”
“Content that doesn’t link to the core of your business is a waste of your time and of your audience’s attention.”
“Always be clear on the why of what you’re writing and the channels you’re choosing.”
These are not just core messages of my Content Calendar Build Workshop, but they’re also core messages of 4.23 Communication. They represent what I stand for and what I want my clients to achieve through working with me. They are the foundation of what I call my WordBrand™ -- all the things I say about my business and how I say them.
I certainly did not invent the concept of core messages. I’ve been using the practice since the earliest days of my corporate communications career where it would go something like this:
“You have a new business strategy to announce to the global workforce, Mr. CEO? Okay, here’s how we get started: we need to define the 3-5 things we need people to absolutely understand about the strategy and what it means to their work."
Then would come a period of writing and rewriting and review and rewriting until we had a set of core messages defined. It took time and it required some concentrated upfront work, but the payoff was huge.
With those core messages in hand, anyone who had to write or talk about the strategy change had a solid starting place for their message. They'd use consistent wording so employees wouldn't get confused. Soon, employees were hearing the core messages in the speech by the C.E.O. The messages were woven into the email from HR. Client wins were described using the language of core messages.
The core messages of the strategy change, discussed using consistent language and repeated* in context of the business helped employees understand over time** what the new strategy was and what it meant to them.
“The marketer’s job, then, is to tell a true story, one that resonates, one that matters to people, and to repeat it often enough that it creates value.
Do you know what the core messages of your business are? You probably do, even if you don’t realize it. Ask yourself:
1) What do I find myself saying over and over again to clients and prospects?
2) What outcomes do I help my clients achieve?
3) What are the things my clients thank me for most often?
4) What do I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt about what I do and how I do it?
When you get clarity around what your core messages are and you build them into your content, you know you will always be writing on purpose (wink wink).
And that’s the whole point of creating content for your business. You are not meant to create content for content’s sake. Content is meant to advance the upsides of working with you. Content is meant to help your core audience see itself in your words and draw closer to working with you. Content is meant to offer your unique point of view.
Want to dive deeper into your core messages, your business’s voice and more? In March, I’m launching a multi-week, 1:1 coaching program designed specifically for solo-entrepreneurs who write for their businesses. Together, you and I will co-create your WordBrand™ and you’ll learn how to use it as the springboard of everything you write and say.
If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll get the launch information automatically (and will probably get a crack at a beta version before I go public with it.) If you're not, you can sign up here.
If your need is more immediate or you have a specific question, drop me an email.
*Repetition: There’s an old marketing adage, The Rule of Seven, that says your audience has to interact with your message or information seven times before they’ll connect with or buy from you. Is seven the exact number? I don’t know. But I do know it ain’t once.
**Over time: Content, marketing, sales, prospect nurturing … none of it is a once and done operation. I know, I know, it's annoying, but true.