Content Marketing: Creating a Message Map

How do you create a consistent message for multiple customer personas? What about other people you may need to communicate with? Press, affiliates, partners, suppliers, etc.? What about the need to create content for a variety of social media channels and formats?

Consistent messaging is at the core of good content marketing, but with multiple targets, it can be difficult to stay on message. We are going to look at how you can create a one page message map that the whole team can use to create consistent messaging across a variety of targets and channels.

Why a message map?

Consistency with multiple messages

When you are using multiple channels for your message, it can easily get watered down or lost entirely. Twitter content is different than content for your newsletter or Facebook. A message map ensures that all your salient points will get across regardless of the channel you need to use.

Consistency with multiple authors

Another good reason to use a message map is so that no matter which team member needs to create content, it will always have a consistent voice.

Consistency with facts and clarity in message

A message map is really about distilling your message into its central point. It also allows you to support your message with concrete facts. The combination of this means you can really get to the heart of your message for all your target audiences.

What does a message map consist of?

A message consists of a “home base,” which is your central message. “Positive Points” extend from the home base with the proof points and support for your central message.

Home Base

This is your central message. It needs to answer “what’s in it for me,” for all your target personas. This is the overarching idea you want to get across.

Positive Points

These are the the supporting points for your main message. You should have no more than four positive points to support your central message.

Proof Points

These are the next level out and provide concrete evidence to the positive points. These proof points will be granular and specific and can contain stats and facts or quotes etc. The key here is that the proof points are a logical support to the positive points above them.

Take a look at an example of a blank message map below.

As you can see, everything branches from and supports the central idea. That central idea is something all your personas (including any partners, press etc.) would be interested in and care about.

Below, we’ve filled in the message map with information from a fictitious family music and arts festival:

This one is very basic, but as you see, you can add as much detail as you want to the proof points. The key here is that all the main points are in one place.

But what about multiple personas?

Targeted messaging is a must, and this is where a message map really comes into its own. Rather than multiple maps or multiple messaging docs, you can create one message map for all your personas.

If you think about, messages for each persona are going to overlap. What matters to one persona will matter to another, but not everything will overlap. Within the message map, you can colour code each message that maps to each persona. Overlaps and differences in messages can be easily seen and tracked.

 

In our festival case above, you might consider parent personas, as well as teens and maybe even couples. While couples may not be interested in the kids activities, they would be interested in the cheap tickets, good parking, nice camping etc. By colour coding you can keep all your messaging in one place and have consistency across personas.

The idea here is to have one central message, but with many angles that are all linked. This allows you to create incredibly consistent and powerful messages for your all your customers.

So how do you get started?

One piece of advice here is to get your team together, and have each person create a message map on their own. This will quickly give you a view into how consistent your message is within the team. Plus this gives you a great starting point for creating the message map you will all use. Having your whole team involved in the process will ensure consistency, clarity and buy in.

Message maps can be used for marketing shows, membership drives, donation activities and even interviews. So they are a great tool in your marketing arsenal.

And remember to come back to refresh your map(s) . . . things change.

Why not give it a shot and see how you go? If you are interested in more specific help – let us know!

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