A friend of mine told me yesterday that Washington Redskins’ and former Minnesota Vikings‘ cornerback Fred Smoot had been cut. I was skeptical. As a football nut, I follow NFL news quite closely, so had Smoot been cut it would have caught my eye and I surely would’ve known about it.
Turns out Smoot wasn’t cut, at least not during this round of roster moves.
But he had been cut previously and that is why my friend thought Smoot was out on the street. He’d read a headline from a blog aggregator that had not been updated in some time. The headline was an old one and the headline was all that my friend had read of the story; it read “Fred Smoot Cut.”
My friend got the message; it’s just that the message was wrong.
His mistake is understandable. It happens to me all the time. I read only the headline of a vast amount of content because there’s far too much for me to consume. Even if the headline is current and accurate, I’ve got absolutely no context or depth to the story that goes with it.
I constantly preach that you must be able to boil your message down to three words.
As information distribution channels proliferate and as more and more people consume information through an increasing array of media and devices such as RSS readers and smart phones, the importance of developing a micromarketing strategy only increases.
The reason your message must be boiled down to three words is that:
- It has to fit in an email subject line if you’re doing an email marketing campaign,
- It must be easily scannable when read on a smart phone if you’re doing a mobile marketing campaign, and
- It must be easy to digest when read in a list such as a in a blog reader or when you’re doing online PR when using an Internet wire service.
But it’s not just the logistics of where your message will be displayed and how to make it fit that you have to think about.
As the aforementioned Fred Smoot story illustrates, you have to think about what knowledge your three-word message will convey to the recipient now and in the future.