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August 19, 2014
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Digging Into Initial Messaging

August 19, 2014

We just underwent a short headline writing and concepting sprint for our work on an employee experience hub. These sprints are all about iterating – there's no right answer, no wrong answer, just as much short-burst writing as possible in a limited period of time.

Drew whiteboarding. Employee experience hub team.

But we don't go in unprepared. Here's how you can get a headstart on initial messaging...it's like making a stew:

  • Prepare the Stock – Begin by brainstorming a healthy-sized list of value propositions, along with unique qualities, identifying key concepts, and listing words that resonate during this conversation. What separates your idea from other ideas? What's better/different about it? Get all of these words, phrases, and concepts down in a big list on a whiteboard or another visible surface – these will be the basis for the rest of the exercise. 
  • Start Choppin' – With your big list of values and unique qualities as reference points, now it's time to diverge and write, write, write. We use Post-Its or notecards with one idea on each scrap of paper, in order to allow them to be grouped or collated later. The headlines should encompass the qualities without merely being a list, and letting individuals work on their own is a great way to inject a little extra flavor into the process. The key result of this? A pile of ideas to add to your initial stock!
  • Finishing Touch – After ideating, collect all the ideas and let team members explain their thought process. This allows everyone to feel a sense of ownership and participation in the process, not to mention may inspire new ideas!

    Depending on how many ideas were generated, you may want to group them in similar themes, angles, or word choices. The last step is to vote on favorites, after which you can rinse, wash, and repeat for as many messages as you need! Or, continue to iterate and refine, including a new group of people for fresh thoughts. Just remember to collect all your ideas (separating the standouts from the rest) to use while actually writing. 

What's your recipe for a collaborative messaging session? Let me know if you have a secret ingredient.