My writing partner and I recently agreed to help a colleague from the Association of Fundraising Professionals promote a course on fundraising. I suggested that we write a set of strategic messages, the first of which would be only 140 characters.
I’ve been so steeped in social media this year that when faced with a messaging need, the first thing I think of is a tweet, not the traditional elevator pitch. UK marketer and blogger Neville Hobson may have said it best in his post, Focus your business in 140 characters:
I think companies need to better define themselves for the Twitter age…they ought to provide absolute clarity about who they are and what they do in a way that makes it easy for others to repeat or mash-up that message with accuracy and in the way that the organization wants.
Out of curiosity, I read a 140-character tweet aloud and it took me less than 10 seconds. The standard elevator pitch takes anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes.
Of course, short messages had their place before Twitter. I used to write marketing kits for HP’s value-added resellers and distributors, and these included 30- and 45-second radio commercial scripts about the new PC or server being promoted. However, I’m thinking even shorter now.
Overall, I’m being asked to write less copy yet be more informative and more strategic than ever. I don’t mind telling you that this is really a challenge. Anyway, to complete the AFP messages, we asked for the following input:
With this information, we’re going to provide for each audience a short message, 140 characters or less, that can be used on Twitter and repurposed on Facebook and other places where a “blurb” is appropriate. Then we’ll provide a longer version that could become an e-newsletter article or blog post.
How are your organization’s messages changing? Feel free to react, question, contradict, or even agree.