WRITE ONE SIMPLE MESSAGE FOR BETTER RESULTS
This week, IMAGINANTICS is busy writing a speech with a strong message for a client in London – a full, forty minutes’ discussion on how to train young people for leadership in business and the community at large.
Forty minutes of monologue is a long script – surely long enough to convey a powerful message, you’d think. The truth is, though, that long scripts take as much careful structuring and bold, ‘stripped down’ writing as thirty second radio commercials … perhaps even more.
From the opening line, through the development of the argument and then on to the closing full stop, the script has to grab the audience’s empathy and hold its attention.
That’s no mean feat. Plenty of business owners who’ve tried to ‘wing it’ through a speech have found that out the hard way.
The key thing to remember is to write one simple message.
It might be tempting to squeeze as much information into your allotted time as you possibly can, but resist it at all costs.
Well, if you imagine lobbing twenty tennis balls at Andy Murray all at the same time, chances are that even HE will only be able to respond directly to one of them. Okay, maybe two, as he’s pretty quick, let’s face it. At least eighteen of them will fly off all over the place, causing confusion and mild injuries to the linesmen.
Give him ONE missile to focus on, though, and you’ll be on the receiving end of a very fast, direct response. Champion.
How many sales messages have you heard or seen that make three different offers, rush through a street and website address, phone number and details about their ample free parking, the family business and a testimonial or two? Then there’s the rollicking musicbed that does little to help you focus …
An advertising message like that can’t hope for an emotional response from its audience. “Hey! That’s EXACTLY the answer to my problem!” is not the first thought a normal human being can have to a bucketful of information chucked at it.
More likely, all you’ll get is, “HUH?”
So, as always, IMAGINANTICS is crafting this speech to cover one simple message, in a distinct way that is a natural fit for the speaker. Everybody will leave the talk with a similar feeling that you have when you leave a great movie. The speech may be over, but the thinking about it will carry on for ages afterwards.
Radio writers with client and producer testimonials know this, as there’s only one sense (audio) with which to work. All of the pictures and assumptions of the missing bits of the ‘story’ are filled in by the listener’s imagination. That’s why radio is termed the ‘primary medium’: if a concept works on radio, in all likelihood it will work on all other media. It strips the creative idea down to its bony framework, and if it can still stand up without all the filled-in sinewy bits, it’s a strong ‘un.
If you don’t have a background in writing for radio, though, remembering to stick to ONE SIMPLE MESSAGE is a good place to start for writing a script of any length, be it a blog, a speech, an advertisement or even a book.
Two past radio advertisers shared one, simple message: “WE’RE OPEN”.
Romans Estate Agents (aired 2TEN, GWR, running six different ‘one simple message’ ads. over several months) had just set up its headquarters in Reading, and Ravensworth Nurseries (aired STAR RADIO, UKRD) continued trading after one of the worst hailstorms the North East of England had ever seen: the stones were as big as golf balls and smashed every window and dented every vehicle for miles around.
Good job it didn’t happen at Wimbledon.
Both clients provided lovely testimonials.
Remember: ONE SIMPLE MESSAGE, whether you’re blogging, speechwriting or advertising.
If the temptation to add more is too strong, outsource your professional writing to an experienced writer and save yourself time, money and creative angst.
Happy scribbling –