When producing any communication piece –whether it’s on paper or digital – it’s your job to make sure the content is relevant to the people who are on the receiving end. Communicators need to spell out benefits for their audience. Hit them over the head with statements that help them understand what all the facts and figures mean to them. Don’t leave it up to your audience to figure out your subject themselves. As smart as your audience may be, chances are they aren’t doing the simple addition of putting together the ideas connected to your issue as thoroughly as you have. People pay attention only when they comprehend there’s something in it for them.
Do your job and help them get to the “aha” point of realization. Sell using “fact” and “benefit” statements. First you tell them a fact and follow it up with a benefit supporting that fact. Think the phrase “what this means to you” the next time you’re developing content or getting in front of a group. You don’t have to utter or write those same exact words, just use that phrase to develop a benefits-oriented mindset. Get the audience to try to imagine how they would profit from whatever it is you’re trying to sell them. Is there a way you can discretely insert benefits into your statements? Can you figure out a way to make the features resonate by helping them see what your topic means to them?
Consider these feature/benefit statements as examples:
- Amazon Web Service gives you access to Amazon’s massive infrastructure. What this means to you is you can use their resources to get otherwise costly services on demand instead of building applications yourself. This will save your company money.
- NetJets offers charter flights for CEOs like you, who wish to avoid paparazzi or protestors. What this means to you is that your identity and destination will always remain confidential.
- The Toyota Prius gets 49 miles per gallon. What this means to you is that you’ll not only spend less on gas, but you’ll be doing less damage to the environment.
“But I’m not a salesperson” you may be saying to yourself. You may not be selling a product per se, but you are selling an investment in someone’s time and attention. So yes, you are a salesperson if you are creating content that needs to engage or influence. To hook your audience, think in terms of features and benefits. Ask yourself why they should care about the information you are to impart. If you can’t think of a reason to include a piece of information, maybe you shouldn’t include it.
Simple? Yes… but effective.