New Style Presentation: Online Messages

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021

I was supposed to talk about how to deliver great messages online. Instead of me talking about it, I decided to put the group in the shoes of their audience and evaluate messages from that perspective.

In online messaging, we frequently put the technology and other tactics before the audience. But to be successful, the people seeing your message must come first. (Thought inspired by Nat Ward's Email, Don't Blast post.)

My slideshow omits the usual discussion of analytics or tactics. It pushed us to think first about the people you talk to and the stories you tell them.

Questions We Answered for Each Slide

  1. Why does this message resonate? What makes it work?
  2. What flaw makes this message fail? How could it work well?
  3. How can your political or fundraising messages mimic the successful non-political messages?
Lessons Learned
  • If the largest company on earth can focus people onto their most important priority, so can small campaigns and organizations. Simplicity wins.
  • Sending emails or putting up web pages assumes a relationship between the sending organization and the receiver. Messages should respect and invest in that relationship.
  • Treating the audience like real human beings wins.
  • Stories effectively engage audiences because that's how people communicate. Inviting people into your story as it unfolds is incredibly powerful.
  • In order to successfully foster action, your message needs to cover the what and how questions, but the most critical question to answer is "why now?"

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