How to Create and Test Key Messages

test key messages


Health care communications requires a delicate and precise touch. Almost more than any other industry, PR pros should scrutinize how their campaigns resonate with their audience and what is said to the media. The biggest way to do this is by creating and controlling the right key messages.

Key messages are bite-sized pieces of information that articulate what you do, how you are different, and the value you bring to stakeholders.

Culture Codes

It’s critical to understand your target audience when creating key messages. I think all PR pros should also have a grasp on their niche’s culture codes. Clotaire Rapaille’s The Culture Code is a must read! Rapaille includes in his book a few culture codes of how Americans view different aspects of health care:

The code for fat is “checking out.”

The code for health and wellness is “movement.”

The code for hospital is “processing plant.”

The code for doctors is “hero” and the code for nurse is “mother.”

Read chapter 3 to understand how you can apply these codes to your key messages.

How to Create Key Messages

Most of the hard work in creating key messages is already done when you put together your unique value proposition and positioning statement. Key messages are just how you creatively communicate your unique value proposition to a specific audience.

Your messages should be campaign-specific and capture your brand goals and values in just 1-2 sentences. Avoid industry jargon and any phrases your competitive is already using. Key messages should set you apart, make you memorable and have specific takeaways that will stir your audience to action.

It’s important to write your messages in active voice and have a SEO optimize them with longtail keywords.

Test Key Messages with Content Marketing and Social Media

Key messages are the core of your campaign. If they aren’t on-point with your audience and brand it throws off all the potential that comes with good marketing.

Before using your key messages, test them:

1) Social Media: Twitter ads can give you a good idea how effective your messages are through clicks, responses, follows and retweets.

2) Content Marketing: Blog posts are great incubators for big ideas and key messages. You can easily find whether your messages got the point across by seeing how many shares or clicks on your CTA it produced.

Key messages are crucial to keep your campaign focused on what your audience should know about your brand and products. They also assure that clear and concise messages are consistent on every channel regardless how many people may have a hand in the campaign.


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