4. It’s really HARD to write keymessages that will get used,guidelines that people can follow,and good copy that uses them.
Immediate need (theone I get paid for)Bigger need (the onethat really matters)vsThe Problem
Top tips• Start with practical applications – review whereyou are and what you really need• Start with the level of expertise your team has• Explain values and how to use them• Start with a realistic appraisal of the copy you willneed to write (look for the most difficult pieces)• Start where your audiences are• Where are the rubs?
Look for the rubs and work with them• I have to talk to someone with a learning disability.And the Health Secretary’s chief adviser.• I have to convince someone to support my mental health charity. Andtalk sensitively to someone with a mental health problem.• I have to talk to adults with autism.And people who’ve never heard of autism.• I have to tell someone to stop smoking.And console someone who’s just lost their husband to a heart attack.• I have to convince someone to rehome an ill-treated dog.And tell someone to stop ill-treating their dog.• What cuts across?
The Mind mental health kitten•How do we talk aboutmental health?•How do we make people care,but not feel weird or guilty?•How do we reconcilecampaigning, policy,fundraising, support?•What matters most?
What we developed• Clear vision & mission• Behavioural and communication values that reflected them• Descriptors that brought vision, mission, values to life• Tone of voice guidelines so people knew how to articulate values• Case for support that rooted fundraising in brand• Style guide to establish a common language• All based on research with key audiences (internal & external)
In summary• Do the work upfront – make values, tone of voice guide usable• Explain how to use values & tone of voice – bring them alive• Be practical and honest about potential uses – find the difficult bits• Make tone of voice carry through all the way to punctuation
Words matter• Words matter to organisations• Words matter to influencers, supporters,stakeholders• Words matter to the people we’rehere for