Say what you mean – succinctly.

I’ve been doing a bit of research lately for a client who’s about to launch their first mobile game. (The game is fantastic and has the added value of raising awareness and contributing to an important social issue – but more on this soon).

During the hours I’ve spent surfing the web for background on gaming trends and communications, something very interesting and surprising occurred to me. Having not spent much time previously on tech and gaming websites, I had the very stereo-typical impression that communication (especially online) about wireless games, devices and other personal tech would be, well, techy. But I found, reading through gaming blogs, sites and app store copy, some of the clearest and most well-written, targeted communication that I’ve seen. They simply say what they mean – succinctly.

With the gaming world being such a fast-growing and competitive industry at the moment, a lot of effort is put into writing content for game websites, app copy and blogs. The success of a game could depend on how quickly people engage with a written description of the game, before they even click to download and try it out.

To say what you mean is often very hard – especially when you have less than 25 words or 25 seconds to share.  For example, in non-profit marketing you have very limited time to spend on ‘pitching’ to engage people to support your cause. How much time does it take to fully describe the issue your cause is addressing, what someone’s support would achieve and the good it will create? Generally more than 25 words.

Spending time creating the right message and narrative and getting it to a succinct set of points that means something is so important – especially when you have a product that’s a choice, not a necessity. When you’re creating your messaging think about these 3 things:

  • Say what you mean – what is the product or issue about, what do you want me to do?
  • Make it intriguing – do they want to know more?
  • Ensure it takes just seconds to say/relay – can you pitch it in an elevator ride? Can you pitch it in a tweet?

Take a leaf out of the gaming world’s book and say what you really mean – succinctly. Catch them before they choose not to download.

Three hints to do this are:

  1. Have a tagline that means something. If the minute I land on a website, pick up a brochure or read a tweet and see a catchy line that I relate to, I’m likely to read more. Sometimes taglines can be tacky but as long as they say what you mean and mean something to your audience, it can be the difference between click on or click away.
  2. Mix it up over social media. Twitter has provided the opportunity to catch people’s eye and describe your cause or product in lots of different ways, as many times as you want (though it’s best not to overdo it). As long as you remain consistent with your brand and always say what you mean, this can be an effective way to grab your audience’s attention, encouraging them to find out more. Just one click into your home page or Facebook is the start of the download process, giving you that extra chance and time to pitch.
  3. Make it sharable, stand out with words that are fun – tell a joke? Most people are receiving messages to do, buy or support something hundreds of times a day. In addition, we’re all engaging with our family, friends, colleagues and twitter acquaintances, sharing and receiving new ideas and messages with them. We often subconsciously choose which messages we take in and definitely what we remember. Although I’m one who can never remember a joke, I do remember things that I want to share with friends. Even though I’m one who likes to do good and get involved, it’s usually not the plea for support or detailed description of a world problem that I share with friends. Hit your audience with something that instantly intrigues them or that makes them laugh or ask a question. They’re far more likely to first read it, and then share it.

photo credit: Johan Larsson via photopin cc

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