First, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2014. Both Kristen and I, together with the Event Garde team, appreciate you following our blog, sharing your comments and post ideas and paying forward those posts that resonate with you most.
This week the combination of snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures delayed back-to-school and back-to-work activities for many in the Northeast. For some, that means a snow day (or two) home with the kids. For others, it means a roaring fire, a cup of hot chocolate and a “Judge Judy” marathon on the television.
And for still others, it means a time to catch up, organize and reflect.
It’s in these moments of reflection I’m reminded that in 2014 we must be briefer and clearer. Forget the top 10 lists and the crystal ball predictions. Forget even the larger-than-life New Year’s resolutions. This year I’m recommending in your communications with members that you simply emphasize brevity and clarity.
So what does that look like?
It means sending fewer communications (electronic and print) that are consistently branded in both look and tone. It also means scaling back those we do choose to send (e.g., limiting our conference brochures, marketing prospectuses and even our one-page letters to only the most pertinent information).
Likewise, I’m advocating for clearer communications. And by this I simply mean identifying and promoting only key messages in our communications with members. When we become too verbose or attempt to share too much information, we often muck up the waters and turn off our audience.
Every couple of months, as I write my column for Michigan Meetings + Events magazine, I have the opportunity to practice this very same exercise. I must routinely edit down a draft of 1,000 or more words to just 400. Ultimately, though, the result is briefer and clearer – and thus more useful and interesting to readers.
Think about it: As the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur, there’s certainly no excess of time or attention as it relates to consuming our various collateral pieces. So if we intend to be briefer and clearer this year, we must think more like a member and less like staff (i.e., What’s in it for me?).
Finally, as someone who often wears the marketing hat by default, allow me to boldly recommend being funner in 2014. Before crucifying me for my use of this non-word, I’ve used it here to illustrate the following point: Have fun, occasionally break from the style guide and use an authentic voice that’s relatable and engaging.
Used together, I’m certain the briefer-clearer-funner approach will increase open rates and readership across your various communications. And, ultimately, this will snowball into engagement, attendance, membership and other success metrics identified by your organization.
Tell us in the comments what you discovered in your moments of reflection this snow day. How might your organization employ the briefer-clearer-funner approach this year?