When I first started working with OXygen in summer of 2022, two things stood out to me:
- The team’s dedication to promoting the incredible and varied work of their mission-driven clients
- How messaging strategy played a central role in every project
Since then, I’ve seen how that plays out in practice: how taking the time to understand and internalise the heart and ideas behind our clients’ work has led to better, more focused, and more effective design and communications.
The fact is, you can’t communicate well without taking the time to get crystal clear on what it is you want to get across – and writing it down, so you can cross-check anything you produce later against those central messages.
So, what is a messaging guide – and do you need one?
A messaging guide defines and records what ideas a brand needs to share across all its communication channels and campaigns.
These ideas will come out most strongly on your website and other central communications tools, such as employee onboarding resources or service brochures. Individual sales, marketing, or fundraising campaigns may focus on one facet, but they’ll always be consistent with your core messaging.
Is it for you? Yes, if you want to build trust and credibility by giving people who interact with your brand a clear and consistent sense of why your work matters to them.
How to use your messaging guide
Writing down your key messages can be a helpful exercise in itself, but you’ll get the most use out of the process if you embed your new messaging guide into the way you’re working.
Share it widely
Make sure everyone across your organisation is familiar with your central messages, so that you can present a united front to customers, funders and supporters.
Use it as a reference
Cross-check individual pieces of content or communications campaigns against the guide to make sure they won’t confuse customers by sending a conflicting message.
Keep it up to date
Change is here to stay – so treat your messaging guide as a live document.
Use it to track those changes
- New leadership? An incoming decision-maker may want to take the organisation in a fresh direction; make sure that’s reflected in your key messages.
- Learning from your sales team? A message that inspired support in the past may not be hitting the mark anymore. Track sales and fundraising insights to maintain that connection.
- Moving into a new market? As you get to know your new audience, explore which messages resonate most strongly with them – and record what you discover!
The bottom line
Mission-driven organisations draw support from people who align with their vision and values – so communicating your purpose clearly is key to your success.
By keeping an up-to-date record in one easy-to-access place, you’ll make it that much easier for yourself.
Melissa Russon – Associate Copywriter & Content Strategist
Melissa works to make sure people have all the right information at their fingertips to take a meaningful step – whether that’s supporting a cause, buying a product or making a new connection. As a linguist who has lived and worked across cultures, she’s skilled at adapting her words to speak to people in different walks of life. She’s written copy for websites, sales funnels, fundraising campaigns and promotional videos, and has an interest in helping brands define their voice.Melissa’s background is in the homeless sector and she wants to see a world where there is a place for everyone to belong. She’s a trustee for a charity that helps people rise out of poverty through dressmaking.