How to deliver the right message to the right audience

A college professor once taught his students a lesson by serving them chocolate cake. With his bare hand, he scooped out a chunk of cake and asked if anyone would like it; no hands went up. Then, very deliberately, he wiped his hand, pulled out a knife, neatly cut out a slice of cake and placed it on a plate, and asked, “Now, who wants this slice?”

It doesn’t matter how good your content is if you don’t distribute it properly. Use three basic steps to deliver the right content to the right person and at the right time: (1) know the channel, (2) get the message read, and (3) send the message at the right time.

  1. Know the channel.

Your first priority is to identify the channel. Before you craft your message, you need to know where you’ll be sending the message and—more importantly—whom you want to receive the message. Use monitoring tools to decide which platform is best for your audience: On what platform do they engage with the most content? Where do they prefer to get information? The more specific your answers are, the better prepared you are to act.

If you’re going with a more direct messaging strategy, be sure to know the etiquette before you reach out. Social Media Week recommends starting with an introduction, followed by stating your intention in a personalized and friendly way. Think about how you’d like to be approached on social media, and do unto others.

Going with classic email marketing? Watch your subject lines, keep content short and sweet, and always have a call to action. Companies like Uber and Buzzfeed have mastered the technique. Both companies design their emails to be consistent in style with the rest of their branding, use short and simple messages, and deliver whatever the rest of their content delivers, whether it’s a laugh or practical benefits. Whatever your message, keep it consistent across channels.

  1. Get the message read.

“59 percent of all links shared on social networks aren’t actually clicked on at all, implying the majority of article shares aren’t based on actual reading.” Yikes. So how are you going to make sure your messages are getting read? By sending your messages to the right people, having the right people share it, and making your content visible. That’s how.

You’re on the right track if you’ve identified your audience and channel, as the above suggestion mentions. Now it’s a matter of identifying influencers that can help you distribute your story to their loyal followers. Scour your profiles and use social media monitoring to identify who these influencers are. Then ask them to engage with and share your content. You can also include them in the conversation by tweeting at them to ask what their thoughts are on the message. If your audience trusts these influencers, then they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Another way to make your content more visible is to incorporate those keyword and SEO principles from our last post, “What Needs to Be Said.” Use analytics to decide which keywords work best for your brand, and don’t be afraid to adjust your message accordingly. It may take trial and error, but the results are worth it.

  1. Decide when to send it.

Ever followed a brand that posts about six times a day? News flash: no one likes that. Optimize your posting times for each platform. With a little online research, you can design a timeline that works for you and your audience. has some great recommendations based on a series of social media studies. For example, it recommends posting on Facebook anytime 1–4 p.m., and to aim for later in the week for best results. In other words, everyone waiting for their dinner reservation Friday night will see your post.

Another way to boost relevancy and readership is to post based on the seasons. Schedule some time to post summer-related content or Halloween-themed posts. You can adapt these themes to match your brand’s voice, whether it’s professional, youthful, or informative.

If you’re posting regular blog content, try to post consistently—perhaps on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This gives you a timeline to follow and gives your readers dependable, regular content.

Nothing feels better than clicking “post” on a message you’ve created. Make sure it gets read by the right people with these distribution tips. If you know your channel, get your message read, and send it at the right time, your content won’t get lost in the noise.

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