How to write a media plan: Determining key messages

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For the past four weeks, we’ve been laying the ground work for how to write a top-notched media plan using Hearsay’s expertise. Each week, we’ve shown you one of the six most important elements every plan should include to ensure that your campaign is set up for success. This week, we’re discussing how to determine the best key messages for your brand as part of a successful media plan.

Before we dive in, get caught up on our tips from the past four weeks:

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Now, let’s talk key messages.

Brand your vocabulary

Once you’ve done your research, determined your goals and identified who your brand is trying to reach, it’s time to figure out how to speak to them.

When developing key messages, repetition is key.

Whether you are creating content for your social media bios, writing blog posts, or giving a media interview, you must keep your vocabulary and key messages top of mind.

Now, that doesn’t mean every status update becomes a corporate-sounding message. Rather, think about how your conversations can underscore the key messages your brand is trying to convey to your audience—always.

When developing key messages, you cannot do it in a vacuum. At Hearsay, we suggest you first research the vocabulary and word choices your competitors use in their social media posts and marketing. Write down phrases and wording you see used repeatedly.

As you work to create your brand’s key messages, make sure to differentiate yourself from the competition. At a minimum, select different words and phrases then you see your competition use. Anything else is pure laziness.

Next, embrace search engine optimization (SEO) and its role in your key messaging exercise. Analyze your word choices and phrases to see where they rank SEO-wise.

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  • What words and phrases do you want to rank for?
  • How should SEO ranking impact your key messaging strategy?
  • How do people currently describe your product or service?
  • What adjectives do customer use to communicate their experience with your brand?

Don’t stress yourself out and try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, formalize what’s already floating around in association with your brand. Then polish it up to keep it succinct and memorable.

Key Messages

Beyond the vocabulary, key messages include a handful of overarching points that you want to convey.

When we draft media plans, we deliver key messages in bulleted format. No key message is more than a sentence at two.

If you are offering a technical product or service, consider creating a series of supporting key messages to drive home each main point.

Remember, key messages should be easy to recall and repeat during conversation with current or prospective clients. Always avoid industry jargon and run-on sentences.

If key messages are hard to remember, what do you think the odds are that the messages will be conveyed? Not likely.

Use the KISS principle and keep it simple, silly.

Stay up-to-date

Establishing strong key messages takes time. Which is why it is important to keep your key messages updated and to review them on a regular basis. As a rule of thumb, shoot for once a year or when the brand goes through a change.

Two times updating your key messages comes to mind are when you’ve added a new product or service or if you are targeting a new customer base. Your key messages will need to be updated to reflect these changes.

Remember, key messages are the foundation of a strong PR strategy and media plan. They ensure your target audience views your brand in a certain way and help build greater brand awareness.

Ready to get started? Download our free PR Plan template as your guide.

What are your key messages?

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage or sign up for exclusive Hearsay content.