What’s in it for me?

fraction of selection model schramm

I read the latest newsletter from Ann Wylie this morning. (If you aren’t familiar with her, you need to be – check out her site.)  In our daily life, messages and information bombard us constantly. As communicators, our goal is to get our message heard, and remembered. Ann shared Wilbur Schramm’s Fraction of Selection model.

He says readers make the choice on diving into our information by asking themselves: “What will I get out of this?” and “What do I have to put into it?”

According to Ann, this means the harder it is for someone to understand your writing, the less likely they are going to spend time reading it. You’ve also got to give them a reward for investing their time with you.

What’s a reward for reading? It’s you, delivering information to makes the reader’s life better or it’s entertaining to them.  It’s even better if you can do both at the same time. I’ve been trying personally to be more intentional with this in my own writing. It really makes you think about the concepts and ideas you are putting on the page. Will someone benefit from the idea? Will it help them achieve a goal? Will it make things easier? If I can’t say yes to those questions when I write, it’s time to delete and try again.

Professionally, I’ve been incorporating more video into our communications. I think this medium allows us as communicators to hit that target easier. People are relying on their phones and tablets more and more to get and retrieve information. Using video allows us to tell stories not only with our words, but with visual images that capture the attention as well.

Being strategic with our storytelling is vital. According to Hubspot  information paired with a relevant image is retained longer by the viewer than those reading the information without one. Hubspot also noted in 2017,  74% of all internet traffic consists of video content. Just using the word video in your email marketing increases the chance someone will open the message.

Schramm’s communication model is even more effective in today’s digital world. As we compete against more and more messages, it’s up to us to create content that provides our followers, readers, and viewers with something real and relevant. Using video is a great way to get noticed. The “what’s in it for me” messaging is key to getting heard and remembered. By pairing the right visual, with information showing real benefit, we’re increasing our chance of successfully delivering a message creates action.

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