What is a Compelling Message Anyway?

When developing a powerful message, there are three elements to include:

  • A compelling angle
  • A differentiating point
  • A truthful and accurate account

The one characteristic where I have found most people spend the most time is “being compelling.” After all, it’s the fun part. It is the element where you get to boast about the importance of your product or service and how exciting you are.

But, what does “being compelling” mean?

Hint: It’s not necessarily being flashy or having to set yourself on fire. Granted, showmanship may count during the Super Bowl, but during a normal business day as your customers and potential clients seek help or something to fit their needs, they are looking for relevance.

Providing a compelling angle means you can hold the interest of a potential customer long enough for them to understand where you fit into their world. It also should hold their interest long enough for you to have a conversation with them.

For example, the tag line of Earth Justice, an environmental organization, is: Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer. Not only does this point you in the direction of what they do (truth and accuracy) and how they might differ from, say, the Sierra Club, this message gives you a sense of their energy and how they feel about their work. This message would be interesting to anyone who believes the planet could use an advocate.

Think about when Apple’s Steve Jobs announced the iPad. His story was to the point, calling the iPad the world’s thinnest notebook. It differentiated the product from heavier, bulkier computer laptops and, as he held it up, you could see he was being truthful. It was pretty darn thin. But, also, how compelling is it to believe you could actually fit something in your briefcase besides your computer? He knows his audience – they want efficiency. They want “light” and productivity. And, he knew what would compel them to learn more about this new product from the beginning.

How compelling are your messages?

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