In a recent blog I discussed the incredible value that has been created by helping people communicate in new ways (e.g., inventions like the telephone, TV, AOL and Facebook). In this blog I follow up with two factors intrinsic in creating that value, personal connection and slipperiness.
Personal connection is something you should always try to include in your content, as it's a main ingredient in generating readership. Think about the content you now post – for example a notification about the enrollment period for the 401k program. By itself that's pretty dry stuff, particularly if it looks exactly like every other memo of that type.
But you can make it much more effective if you connect the reader to the subject. One way of doing this would be to call out that matching part of your 401k program (assuming you have one) that gives the employee a 100 percent return on that portion, in effect doubling their money instantly. Or how about a piece about a recent retiree who bought a cottage or boat with part of their savings? These treatments bring a dull subject alive and make the reader really start thinking about the subject.
Slipperiness is also important. What I mean by this is the reader's ease of finding and consuming the message. When TV was rolled out in the late 1940s it became an instant success because advertisers loved how easy it was to get people to watch their messaging. The reader didn't have to open a magazine or drive past a billboard … they didn't have to do anything except sit there and watch the tube. The advertisers could slip in ad after ad and watch their sales go up and up.
Those banners you see pulled behind planes along the shoreline in the summertime are another example. The reader doesn't have to do anything; the message literally appears before their eyes. Ads on buses and trains work the same way. The reader sits down and there's the ad. Very slippery. Examples of non-slippery content would be an ad buried in the back pages of a magazine or digital signage content swamped by dozens of other pieces running at the same time.
Is your content slippery? Or do you bury important points in multipage PowerPoints, 10-minute talking-head videos, and memos crammed with hundreds of words in 8-point type? Assuming you're using a good workplace digital signage platform, you have a great vehicle for being slippery because people naturally walk by it or sit in front of it; that is, it takes very little effort to get people to see the content. Just be sure that, like those plane banners and TV ads, your messaging is concise, clear and well designed.
Content slipperiness comes down to just two factors: Make it easy for the reader to find it, and then just as easy to consume.
/ Frank Kenna III is CEO and President of The Marlin Co., which helps improve safety, employee morale, productivity and performance through its workplace digital signage products. He is responsible for setting the companys strategic direction and developing new ideas to help implement workplace communication programs.