We are continuing our look into how to apply the 6 Rs of Relevant Messaging today with a focus on being realistic.
- Rewarding. The benefits of following through on the call to action in the message are clear.
- Realistic. Following through on the message is doable, because any obvious barriers are addressed.
- Real Time. The message feels timely and works within the context of current events and other influences.
- Responsive. The message proves that you are listening, and taking people’s concerns and ideas into account.
- Revealing. New information or perspectives are shared, or you are telling a dramatic, engaging story that unfolds over time (in other words, you get us hooked).
- Refreshing. The message is delivered with personality — with an interesting, authentic style.
If you ask me to do something even remotely out of my comfort zone, I am going to need LOTS of information and assurances.
My husband took me backpacking for the first time last October and I had to know how long the hike was, how hard the hike was, how heavy my pack would be, what we would eat, how many nights we would be gone, how we would get water, where we would leave the car, what we would do if we got hurt, what would we do if it rained, how close other people would be, how cold it would be, how big our tent was, what would I wear, etc, etc, etc.
Luckily my husband is a very patient man and went through everything with me (usually twice).
He showed me the map of the trail and where our site would be. He picked a trail he knew we could handle (I do hike and camp, I had just never backpacked before). He involved me in our meals and snacks. He had me try out a couple different backpacks to make sure I was comfortable. He only had us go one night in case I hated it.
You may think I was just being “high maintenance,” but you’re going to need to be more like my husband if you want your supporters to follow through on certain actions.
In other words, you have to be realistic in your calls to action. Here are some ways to do that:
Ideas to Make Your Messaging REALISTIC:
Address fears and concerns head on. If you are asking people to do something difficult, or inconvenient, or potentially embarrassing, address that head on by acknowledging the fears and structuring your calls to action so you can make following through a little easier.
Get your timing right. Sending an action alert at 5:00 p.m. on Friday night is probably not your best move. The lives of your readers dictate when something is relevant, not when you get the work done.
Be honest with yourself. Take a good hard look at what you are putting out there. Will your supporters really, truly, find it relevant, or is it really just wishful thinking on your part? How can you take what you want them to know and pair that with something they really do want?
Answer their questions first. Sometimes, to get to the subjects you want to talk about, you have to be willing to first talk about what they want to discuss. Even if you find the questions you get are off-topic, answer those common questions first, which builds trust. Then you can get to your agenda later.
Next up: Be Real Time