Conveying Your Message

When crafting your marketing message, only one thing really matters: resonant clarity. A strong marketing message clearly indicates who you work with and what results you help them achieve. To be effective, it also must resonate with the people you wish to serve.

Clarity without resonance fails to capture anyone’s attention and falls flat. It’s easily dismissed, just a little more noise in the cacophony of marketing messages we hear every day. Resonance without clarity stands out from the crowd, announcing its presence like the herald’s call. But the attention it receives is fleeting.

You need both clarity and resonance to attract and keep the attention of the people you wish to serve. Your message will resonate with people if you meet them where they are in their journey. To truly connect with them, craft a message that expresses your point of view and captures your distinctive voice.

Crafting a Clear and Resonant Message

A well-crafted message is designed to attract the people you most wish to serve. There are countless ways to craft your message, but I always find it helpful to start with just one process and see where it leads.

I love formulas. Not because I believe the resulting message is well-crafted, but because formulas give my inquiry some much needed structure. And structure is immensely helpful when you’re not sure how to get started. I also need structure to help me get beyond the formula. Natalie Goldberg, an author, artist, and teacher, encourages people to break open the structure in order to dig into the wisdom that lies at its foundation. And, well, it’s a lot easier to break open the structure when you know what the structure looks like.

For this inquiry, we’ll start with a typical formula for a marketing message:

I help [ideal clients] who [problem they are facing] get [solution] by [services offered] so they can [core benefit they experience].

This formula will help you craft a relatively clear marketing message—clear, but dull as dirt. To craft a message that is both clear and resonant, break open the structure.

Breaking Open the Structure: Finding Your Voice

Formulas like the one above are wonderful tools. They can help you get clear about your ideal client, their struggles, the solutions they seek, how to provide those solutions and the true benefits of ending the struggle. But the real strength of the formula is in breaking it apart, examining each piece separately, and playing with new combinations.

To dig into the wisdom that lies beneath the formula, break it apart and use each piece as a writing prompt. Grab a notebook and pen and ask yourself who is my ideal client? Then start writing—think on the idea for a full ten minutes. Don’t edit yourself and don’t stop moving the pen. If you get stuck, ask yourself what do I really want to say? Keep going. Allow yourself to get lost in the process.

Repeat this exercise for each element of the formula. When you’re done, put the notebook away for a while. When you return to it, read what wrote and pick out the pieces that resonate with you. As you start playing with the written word, you’ll recognize your voice—your particular style and phraseology. This is the raw material you need to craft a compelling marketing message that can grow and evolve along with you and your business.

Taking the Message Live: Tapping Into Your Passion

“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”

 ~ Mark Twain

The preparation you’ve done to craft your marketing message will also help as you convert it from the written to the spoken word. But the conversion isn’t direct. Instead of reciting a well-crafted message from memory, take the time to really connect with the people around you. And when someone asks what you do, tap into your passion. Remember why you started your business and what you love about it and share that part of you with your new acquaintance. It doesn’t have to be slick or fancy or perfect, it just has to be real and heartfelt so you can build a connection.

In personal conversation, you and your business are evaluated on more than your choice of words. According to Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, the words you use are evaluated along with your tone of voice and body language. The words alone may convey the message you want to get across, but your tone of voice and body language convey important information about how you feel about what you are saying. It’s better to have a messy message conveyed with passion than a perfectly crafted message conveyed without conviction.

Whether you start with a formula or follow your own process, your marketing message is most compelling when it resonates with your right people and is in keeping with your brand. You want your people to feel at home with your business—whether that home is full of people and energy and excitement or a cozy safe place to enjoy a cup of tea.

This week, take some time to play with language and reconnect to your passion. What is it that you love about the work that you do? How can you convey that excitement and your personal approach through your marketing message? Please share your questions, tips and experiences in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo Credit: Kevan Davis

About Erica Holthausen

Erica Holthausen is the Chief Instigator behind the Honest Marketing Revolution and creator of the 10 Steps to Honest Marketing. As a marketing mentor, she helps solopreneurs and microbusinesses fall in love with sales and marketing so they can help more people while building thriving, life-sustaining businesses. She believes marketing is an integral part of how you serve the world. Sound good? Sign up for her email newsletter and join the revolution!


  1. Deborah Zawislan says:

    Great advice! Formula writing gets started and gets you known but really connecting with your audience builds lasting relationships. Thank for another great article!

  2. Wow. I LOVE this approach and the permission it gives to find my own voice and style. Super helpful to know that formula to start with, and then to move onto playing with the language so it sounds like me. I especially love the suggestion to play with each part of the formula and put the notes away for a bit. Coming back with fresh eyes will help me really identify my style.

    Thanks for another super helpful article!

    • Kerri, I’m so glad this article resonated with you! Yes, it’s all about finding your own voice and style and tapping into your passion for your work. You want to convey as much of that as you can in your written communications, but when you’re speaking to someone or to a group, your tone of voice and body language are even more important than getting the words just right. And I highly recommend play! There’s a lot of wisdom in play!

  3. I think this is a good piece of advice: “To dig into the wisdom that lies beneath the formula, break it apart and use each piece as a writing prompt.” It’s always good to have a place to start from.

    • Eric, that is the power of a formula. It’s a place to start. It gives you a structure to break apart so you can dig deeper. Every endeavor needs a starting point, but where you go from there is entirely up to you! And I find that it’s nice to have something to return to when I’m not quite sure where to go.

  4. Janine Grillo Marra says:

    Excellent article, Erica. Love the formula and how you presented it regarding structure as well as with the writing exercise. Very helpful on both ends.

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