It’s no secret that creating a consistent message across your brand can be challenging.
Aligning everything from packaging to content to IT support is complex. Even within a single department (like marketing), utilizing the plethora of digital promotional channels available — and maintaining the same message and brand voice across them all — can be tough.
Toss in the fact that your team is probably remote, works asynchronously, or incorporates a freelance writer or two, and the disconnects and differences in opinions can make consistency feel impossible
That’s when a good message map can make all the difference.
What Is a Message Map?
Message maps are a simple tool designed to give you a quick overview of how your brand positions its products or services. However, this is much more than a definition or sales sheet breakdown of what your brand’s offerings are.
A good message map combines products and services with the intended target audience, their pain points, and the benefits and features that best address them. Message maps look further than your primary audience, too. They break that group down into different segments, enabling you to create targeted, compelling, personalized, and applicable messages for each group.
The Benefits of Message Maps for Content Creation
Many benefits come with having a quality message map. The primary advantage is providing a central theme to your brand’s core message. This helps every aspect of your business maintain consistent messaging at all times.
Salespeople can tailor their pitches. Content marketers can create informative content. Email marketers can write compelling emails. And all of these activities should send the same, consistent, synced-up message to consumers.
Having your company aligned through a central document also avoids siloing. It ensures that you’re sharing critical information and the same message informs everything, from building brand awareness to product development to marketing and customer support.
In addition, if you hire contractors to work alongside your full-timers, you have a streamlined resource that can keep everyone on the — literal — same page.
When to Use a Message Map
What’s great is that message maps aren’t just meant for your marketing department. Every area of your company can and should use them. Sales, marketing, administration, IT, everyone can use a message map to align themselves for consistent messaging.
A good message map should go right along with your brand style guide. The latter helps with tone, voice, rhetoric, and how your brand comes across to your audience. Your message maps complement this by ensuring that your brand is speaking the right message (in the right tone) to the right audience at the right time.
How to Create Your Own Message Map
There are many message map templates out there. No one is the same as the next, which is good. This gives you the flexibility to adapt your message map to the needs and preferences of your organization.
If you find a template and are still uncertain how to proceed with creating a message map, here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you get off the ground and running:
- Start by figuring out who you’re selling to: The first step is defining your audience. This includes figuring out each segment you’re trying to sell to and building buyer personas for each group. Before you create detailed buyer profiles, though, review the next step.
- Study audience pain points and unique characteristics: As you define each audience, take the time to detail what makes them unique. What pain points do they have that you can address? What individual factors do they possess that you can focus on when trying to get their attention? How are your competitors communicating with them? Use all of this information to inform your buyer personas (and, by extension, your message maps).
- Identify what you want from each audience segment: Once you’ve identified who you’re selling to and how the needs and biases of each group differ from one another, it’s time to flip the script. What do you want from each group? For instance, a manufacturer might want to sell something to consumers but may be looking to create long-term relationships with retailers. What do you want from each audience segment on your message map?
- Establish your core message: At this point, you’ve thoroughly defined your audiences, what they want, and what you want from them. Now, consider your company’s offerings. What is the primary, overarching message of your products and services? What are you trying to communicate that generally applies to everyone? Start by figuring this out and adding it to your message map.
- Assign and prioritize features and benefits: Once you’ve determined your core message, go over all of the features and benefits that you offer. Assign each of these to the groups that will be the most interested in them. In addition, prioritize these sub-groups so that you know, at a glance, which things are the most important to each segment. As you do this, themes will emerge, and you can use them to inform your content and message creation for each group.
- Test your message map: Finally, consider testing your message map before implementing it across your entire company. Use it in targeted and controlled scenarios to collect feedback and see how effective it is. Then make changes if necessary.
Because there is no clear “right way” to make a message map, every business and organization has slight alterations and opinions about what matters most. Rather than worrying about making your message map correctly, focus on creating a tool that can genuinely benefit your brand.
This means your message map should be consistent, streamlined, available to access, and easy to reference. Also, make sure to keep it updated at all times.
Using Message Maps to Boost Your Content
Message maps can impact every part of your company — including your marketing content. When you utilize PowerPublish to outsource your blogging services, you can use message maps to keep everyone on the same page.
The important thing is that you take the time to create high-quality message maps and then keep them up to date and readily available. That way, your team can use them consistently as they create the best content possible for your brand.