In a previous Message in a Minute video, you learned that the best way to drive action from your idea is to activate your audience’s attachment to the outcome. And the best way to do that was to frame your idea as an answer to a question your audience is currently asking (the GOAL).
And what’s the best way to do that? Well, that’s what this video is all about:
What does your audience actually care about?
Here’s the video’s Red Thread:
- GOAL: Frame your idea as an answer to a question your audience is currently asking (the GOAL).
- PROBLEM: There can be a difference between what question your audience wants an answer to… and what you wish they wanted to know (or what you “know” they need).
- TRUTH: It helps to remember that, while it’s the enemy of long-term change, pain is the ally of quick action. People always want to know how to quickly remove physical, emotional, or mental pain (or effort, if that makes it easier to think about).
- CHANGE: So, if you’re trying to figure out which question your audience will be most interested in, pose the most pain-relieving question you can think of.
- ACTION: Two types of pain can help you brainstorm further:
- Persistent irritants are those annoying issues that someone has to deal with day in and day out. They’re often things that interfere with productivity, efficiency, or effectiveness. People usually try answer after answer (or idea after idea), and still haven’t found relief—until they understand and act on your idea, that is!
- Urgent issues are exactly what they sound like: often one-time, emergency, or even fluke events (pandemic, anyone?) that suddenly create a whole host of other issues, both known and unknown to your audience. When faced with an urgent issue, people want a good, simple solution—fast. If that’s your idea? Then you’ve found a great question.
- GOAL REVISITED: By showing how your idea is the right or best answer to that pain-prompted question, you’re able to give your audience both what they want (the relief from pain) AND what you know they need. In other words, you not only solve the problem causing them pain right now, but you’re also painting the picture of what’s possible for them next.
How to apply it
The main focus here is on thinking through (a) what problems your idea solves and (b) which of those problems are problems your audience actively knows about now.
However counterintuitive as it may be, you don’t want to anchor your message in an unknown or surprising problem. Why not? Because, simply, if someone doesn’t know they have a problem, they won’t care about your answer to it.
When I’m working with clients on finding these initial “goal” questions, we usually start with those persistent irritant and urgent issue categories. You can do this too.
- Brainstorm what persistent irritants your audience faces (those day-in, day-out annoyances that make their jobs or lives harder)
- Brainstorm what urgent issues your audience faces (those often unexpected crises that stand in the way of their doing their normal jobs or living their normal lives)
- From that list, mark which problems your audience actually knows about now
- Note which of those problems your audience would be most eager to solve
- Frame that problem as a question your audience would be likely to ask
The hardest part of this, frankly, is tamping down your desire to pose the question you wish they were asking, instead of the one they’re actually asking.
Given that, it’s a good idea to test your pick with your audience (in the form of market research, A/B testing, etc.), with someone who knows your audience well (like front-line staff or salespeople), or with a third party who isn’t already convinced your idea is the best or right one (new staff are great for this, as they haven’t fully succumbed to the curse of knowledge, or, you know, me).
What are some of the questions your idea answers? Once you’ve got your list, email it to me —I’d love to see it!If you're trying to figure out which question your audience will be most interested in, pose the most pain-relieving question you can think of. Click To Tweet
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On a previous episode of Message in a Minute, we talked about activating your audience’s attachment by framing your idea as an answer to a question they’re already asking. But how do you do that? Well, that’s what we’re talking about on this Message in a Minute. I’m your host, Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com.
See, it all comes down to making sure that question you’re posing is what your audience actually wants an answer to. Not what you wish they wanted an answer to. Because what they want an answer to is probably something that’s causing them pain right now. And while, as I’ve said before, that pain is the enemy of long-term change, pain is actually the ally of quick action.
So that’s why when you’re thinking about what question to anchor your message in, you want to pose the pain-relieving question. You want to figure out what question will relieve your audience of either a persistent irritant, something that has just been bothering them day in, day out and is something they just can’t find relief from. Or from an urgent issue, something that is sudden, urgent, important, maybe even an emergency. So think about what those questions might be for your message, and you might just find that you not only satisfy what your audience wants, but you give them what you know they need too. Thanks for watching this episode of Message in a Minute. If you want more information on how to find that question, you can find it in my book, which you can find at tamsenwebster.com/book.
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