The Four Os of Messaging and How to Build a Content Strategy

The following insight came from my podcast interview with Ryan Rhoten. I took away a ton in terms of content marketing, website design, sales pitch, and connecting with other people.

If you want to make your brand message clear, do a little exercise called the four O’s of messaging. The first one is objectives. So ask yourself what the objectives that your customers obtain are. What do they want from you and your company? First, ask that question. Do not relate it to what you sell yet. Then ask yourself what the obstacles in their way that prevent them from getting what they want are. 

Once you know the answers to those two questions, now you take that information. You look at your offer thoroughly, and you say how your offer solves those obstacles so that your clients can meet their objectives. Because if your offer helps them resolve the first two O’s, then the fourth O, outcomes, is easy to find. You should be able to say if you work with me, here’s what you can expect to receive as a result of this. That can be more sales, more leads, more confidence, or whatever it is that your product or service helps people do; however you transform your client somehow. Those are the outcomes that they can expect. And that’s what you should talk about.

So once a brand or an individual has clarity on their message, then how do they start building a content strategy around that? Here’s the truth, you could have the clearest, most succinct message on Earth, but it’s not going to help you that much if you don’t know what to do with it. So once you have your message and go through the exercise, you have a lot of information. You need to create some awesome content. Now you know the objectives that your clients are trying to get to and the things they want. Talk about those things. You know the obstacles that are in their way, the problems they face, and their symptoms. As a result of those obstacles, talk about those things. If you make your content lead with those things, your engagement will increase dramatically. 

What most people want to do is tell you something; hey, I learned this great thing. Here’s what it’s all about. And they don’t provide the context. Knowing objectives and obstacles provides context for people, and it sets the stage for them to pay attention.

Could you imagine if movies all started with a solution and in the first three minutes people solved all their problems? Nobody would watch. Nobody would pay attention. So the reason that movies follow a similar pattern, is that they introduce the characters, and the character has this thing they want to achieve, but they’ve got this problem that’s in their way. And then the whole movie is them just resolving that. So always start with what your clients want, and why can’t they get that on their own. What are the things that stop them from doing it? In this way, you have a clear idea of how your content strategy should be; identify the need, find the problem and provide the solution to it.

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