Rebel Uprising Podcast

What the Hell is Messaging & Why Does Your Business Need It?

 

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Now, you might think that I'm thinking about the song because it's election season and it feels like the end of the world, but really I thought of that song today because I've been thinking a lot about my time on the speech and debate team in high school and college.

And if you don't know the folklore behind that famous REM song, let me educate you. REM one day stumbled into a policy debate tournament on the campus of the University of Georgia, and what you should know about policy debate back in the day is that every thing, every policy would end in total annihilation of the planet Earth.

So as a former debate geek, I love that song. And so do most debaters. But one of the other things that I learned from my time in debate (aside from every policy action ending in nuclear war or how to rip an argument to shreds), is the importance of the defining terms so that every person is on the same page.

Recently it's come to my attention that people don't really understand what messaging is about.

It started when someone slid into my DMs on Instagram and said, “Hey, so what is a messaging expert? Do you teach me about a sales strategy or how to talk to people in the DMs so they can be converted to clients?”

And then I also asked on a webinar if people understood what messaging was. They get parts of it. They see how a message could apply to a specific marketing campaign or a launch or your sales strategy or a social media strategy, but what they don't realize is that messaging actually encompasses everything in your business.

So like a good debater who doesn't want the end of the world to come, let's define our terms and talk about what messaging is, how to use it in your business, and why you need a message that matters for your thought leader business.

Listen in or read through the transcript below:

Resources mentioned in this episode

Scaling Empathy with Kira Hug
Michelle L. Evans
3 Word Rebellion: Create a One-of-a-Kind Message that Grows Your Business Into a Movement
Three Word Rebellion Service and Pricing Guide

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Now, you might think that I'm thinking about the song because it's election season and it feels like the end of the world, but really I thought of that song today because I've been thinking a lot about my time on the speech and debate team in high school and college.

And if you don't know the folklore behind that famous REM song, let me educate you. REM one day stumbled into a policy debate tournament on the campus of the University of Georgia, and what you should know about policy debate back in the day is that these debaters spoke 200 to 300 words per minute. Every thing, every policy would end in total annihilation of the planet Earth.

And so that is a song that is a debaters anthem. So as a former debate geek, I love it. And so do most debaters. But one of the other things that I learned from my time in debate, aside from every policy action ending in nuclear war or how to rip an argument to shred, is the importance of the defining terms so that every person is on the same page.

And for a debater, that means you know what the hell you're debating, what are the parameters. And recently it's come to my attention that people don't really understand what messaging is about. It started when someone slid into my DMs on Instagram and said, “Hey, so what is a messaging expert? Do you teach me about a sales strategy or how to talk to people in the DMs so they can be converted to clients?”

And then I also asked on a webinar if people understood what messaging was. They get parts of it. They see how a message could apply to a specific marketing campaign or a launch or your sales strategy or a social media strategy, but what they don't realize is that messaging actually encompasses everything in your business.

So like a good debater who doesn't want the end of the world to come, let's define our terms and talk about what messaging is, how to use it in your business, and why you need a message that matters for your thought leader business.

Let's do this.

You're listening to the Rebel Uprising Podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping passionate business owners become recognized leaders who make more money and impact the world by turning their messy, complicated ideas into thriving, thought leadership businesses. I'm your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur, and I'll be your no-BS guide in the art of building a business that gets noticed.

Each week, I share strategies, tools, and insights on how to turn your complicated ideas into great messaging and solid business structures. Are you ready to create an uprising in your industry? Let's do this.

Before I define what messaging is for you, my dear rebel business owner, I've been trying to break out of my internet bubble lately, just like Kira Hug suggested in her scaling empathy interview.

One of the ways to break out of that internet bubble is to look at other industries and see how they define messaging and how they're using messaging. So I want to talk about corporate America and politics real fast. And, trust me, we're not going to go deep into politics, but there's a fun fact that you might not know about me.

Before I started this business, I worked in marketing and market research for large corporations like Microsoft, Kraft, General Mills, and Burt's Bees, just to name a few. One of the projects I PM’d was for message testing for the Xbox One rollout. And did you know that Microsoft has a messaging guide for each of their products, whether that's Windows or Office or XBox -- they have a standard way a team communicates about a specific product.

So for XBox, since that's what I'm most familiar with, it was their positioning, their talking points (also known as brand pillars and the stories they were telling). And they use this guide to standardize the communication about the brand, whether that's talking about the brand in media, PR campaigns, marketing, advertising, and sales. At Xbox, it's like the Bible. It ensures everyone on the team is talking about XBox in the same way. So everybody is rowing in the same direction, always on message.

Now, in politics, you might be familiar with the concept of a political platform. So a political platform is basically the ideas that the candidate is for or against, and the change they want to create in the world. They call it a platform because it's what you're standing on as you run your campaign.

Their platform then gets turned into a stump speech. In normal years, not this year -- well, the Trump campaign is still doing campaign rallies and he has pretty much a stump speech, but that's neither here nor there -- but in normal years, politicians would go place to place and give the same speech over because they wanted to convey a specific message. They wanted to make sure that would-be voters knew what they stood for so that when they cast their ballot, they know what they're voting for.

And another benefit is that everyone who communicates about the candidate is communicating in the same way. So we can always see how well a candidate is doing at driving their message by looking at how well they stay on message or off message.

What does this mean for your brand and your business? How do we take these lessons from big corporations and politicians and apply it to your thought leader business?

Messaging is a standard way that you communicate about your business across all of your initiatives, whether that's marketing, PR, advertising, sales, or media, you should be communicating in a standard and consistent way.

So at its core, the definition of messaging, or as I like to think about it, a messaging system, is really this entire system of words, phrases, and topics your business repeatedly speaks to in order to inspire, persuade, and convey value, which then leads to sales and your business being recognized in its industry.

So at its core, messaging is a system. It's very important. It's a system of words, phrases, and topics. Your business repeatedly uses to inspire, persuade, and convey value that leads to sales and to your business being recognized in your industry. And so that means that what you're saying on sales calls is aligned with what you're saying on Instagram, which is aligned with your latest podcast interview and that's aligned with whatever you're posting on your blog. It's one big system communicating one core message, having the same conversations that convert people into subscribers, into followers, and into clients.

So that means that every time your business communicates, you’re rowing in the same direction.

And I see a lot of people self-sabotage themselves because they feel like, “Oh, I'm so bored saying the same thing.” And if you want to be known for your expertise, you've got to say the same thing.

So what are the benefits of having a system for messaging for your thought leadership business? The one big benefit is you can tell if you are on message or off message. Here's the deal -- when you're off message, when you're not talking about those key topics that drive conversion (and by conversion I mean, people wanting to say, “Hey, I want to be on your email list” or, “Hey, I want to be your client”) -- then you’re confusing the crap out of your audience.

So if you are committing “random acts of marketing,” as my friend Michelle Evans likes to say, thinking, “Oh crap, I haven't emailed my list in like five months,” or, “Oh, I haven't posted on Instagram for a long time. I better post, you know, a selfie and an inspirational quote,” that's not actually being on message. That's not driving your business forward. And the goal for myself and for my clients is that I want you to be radically consistent.

I call this also the Brené Brown effect. This is one of my signature stories, so you've probably heard it before if you're a long-time listener to the show, but Brené Brown is incredible at being on message and consistent in how she talks about the work she does in the world, from her stories, her definitions, the topics she covers, she is always on message.

And if you think of the Netflix special that she did -- if you're a hardcore Brené Brown fan, you realize, “Hey, there was nothing new I learned there,” and that was exactly the point beause she knew she was reaching new audiences so she needed to be on message. Be radically consistent.

Another big benefit of having this messaging in your business, this system, is ease.

You always know what to say and how to say it so that you're driving people toward an action or even a belief shift that gets them closer to buying into the work you're doing in the world. And that means there's no more blinking cursors or randomly posting shit on Facebook. You know what you should be saying. You have a guide for this in your business.

And then finally, another big benefit to this is you become the go-to authority and recognized leader in your industry when you're on message. When you're radically consistent, you're known for something and people spread your message for you. So it's really powerful to have this foundational messaging and use it in all parts of your business.

So you might be wondering now, “What parts does this messaging system have, Michelle?” And I'm going to talk more about this in a future episode of the podcast, but to give you a little bit of a preview is that every messaging expert has a different take on what needs to be a part of your core messaging.

So some people just focus on brand voice and tell you that, you know, you're the rebel archetype, and these are the words you should be using. Although, I always think it's funny to tell someone they're a rebel and then please use these words, like we're going to do that. No, I don't think so. But anyway, that's my aside.

Other messaging experts focus on how you, the individual, show up and communicate. So that's more of the personal branding. The way that I approach messaging is from a conversion standpoint. Really, I want people to get in action, because I know that an idea needs to do more than spread. People need to act on your ideas in order for you to have an impact.

So here are some components that a messaging system can include, and you might have some of these and you might not. And that's all right.


So obviously since I'm the Three Word Rebellion girl, I believe you should have your Three Word Rebellion, which is your thought leadership positioning.

And, really, it's the only positioning out there that allows people to spread your message for you. And if you don't know what the Three Word Rebellion is or if you're interested, you can always get more information from my book about the Three Word Rebellion. You can find that at 3wrbook.com.

It also should include an audience deep dive, so understanding who your audience is, how they talk about your area of expertise, what are they struggling with, how can you empathize with them, why do they resist changing? Those are all key component points for the audience. And I always believe that messaging needs to be other-focused in order to matter.

And then there are your Rebel Themes. So what you're rebelling against, the change you want to create, the villain you're fighting against, your words that have wattage, that have energy to them.

And then finally, there's the client journey and signature stories. So the client journey is how you move people from not knowing you at all to wanting to do business with you. So these are talking points or brand pillars or content buckets with the goal of having people either have a belief shift or take an action that moves them closer to your business. And signature stories are how we emotionally connect with people so that they get to know us, like us, and trust us.

When you have those raw ingredients, you can make a plan for how to use them every time your business communicates, no matter the context -- no matter if it's marketing or sales or a podcast interview, you use the same message. It is a system for your business.

Now I realize I've given you a ton to think about when it comes to messaging, and hopefully I've shifted your perception of what messaging is, how it fits into your business. So to implement, I think the best place to start is to have you reflect on your own messaging right now. You don't have to change a damn thing right now, but I do want you to take stock and to think, so here are three questions that help you do that:

Question number one: how on message are you in your business?

So are you sharing the same topics, the same ideas, the same message again and again? 

Number two: how radically consistent is your business?

How often are you showing up? Do you have a schedule to show up? How often are you sharing that message again and again?

And then number three -- this is a biggie and this is one you should definitely dig into -- is what do you want to be known for?

What do you want your business to be known for? If you have an idea or multiple ideas for that last question, I would love to hear about it. You can always DM me on Instagram (I'm @drmichellemazur) to tell me what your answer was, or to ask me any questions that you have about messaging.

So remember, messaging is a system of words, phrases, topics, some stories that you use repeatedly that inspire, persuade, and convey the value of what your business has to offer. And that will lead you to sales and being the go-to authority in your industry.

And one last thing. If you're already in authority and you're sick of hiding in plain sight, wishing more people knew about your business, I would love to help you with that inside my signature one-on-one program, the Three Word Rebellion Messaging Intensive. It's a place to get radical clarity on your message so you can show up consistently and on message throughout your entire business.

So if you're ready to package up your big ideas, your skills, your expertise, and your vision, into that one-of-a-kind message that attracts your right people, grows your audience, and helps your business make more money while making more impact, I'd love to be your guide in creating that messaging.

The first step is to go grab the Three Word Rebellion Pricing and Services Guide at drmichellemazur.com/guide. And after you get the guide, you can book a call with me and decide if the Three Word Rebellion is the right decision for your business.

So here's to revolutionary clarity that leads to radical consistency so that you’re the go-to in your industry.

Thank you for listening all the way to the end of the show. Your support means the world to me. Did you know the Rebel Uprising Podcast has a quiz that can help you pinpoint the number one way to build an audience of superfans while staying true to your unique personality? We do. And it's called What's Your Rebel Roadmap to Exponential Impact and Influence, and you can take it at therebelquiz.com.

If you're loving the podcast, do us a favor and rate and leave us a quick five-star review wherever you listen to your podcasts. It helps more people like you find the show.

Until next week, remember: your ideas matter. And now get back out there and cause an uprising in your industry. You got this.

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