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.

When the words won’t flow

When the words won't flow

Maybe you sit down in front of the keyboard and words flow effortlessly for you anytime you need them to. Lucky you! If you’re like most of us, there are days it’s hard to get the ideas in your head onto the screen. Each piece of writing has a life of its own. Some jump on the page, others have to be fermented and coaxed into existence.

So how can you make sure quality content is delivered each time?

  1. Keep a journal of ideas. Tear out stories that intrigue you. When you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, spend some time looking through your idea stash. I keep a running list in the notes section of my iPhone. When inspiration hits, I jot it down. If you do this, pretty soon you’ll have a long list of writing prompts to get you started.
  2. Maybe your ideas hit when you’re out for a walk or run. Use the voice recorder on your phone and record your ideas. This short message could get you past a block in your current project or maybe it’s the next feature for your newsletter. Ideas tend to flow easier when we aren’t focused on the problem. That’s why it’s important to get them down no matter where they show up.
  3. Procrastination is a 4-letter word. Ok not really, but you know what I mean. Don’t add unneeded stress to the writing process by putting it off. You know the deadline. Set aside plenty of time to get it done. Life will always throw something in the way – doctors’ appointments, children activities, unexpected meetings and phone calls. If you schedule blocks of time, you can make sure these interruptions don’t keep you from producing. If you feel the procrastination trap pulling you in, think about how good it will feel to check the assignment off your list.
  4. Don’t compare your writing to others. Everyone has their own style. Don’t let your fear of not measuring up keep you from writing.
  5. Make sure your writing showcases your personality. If you love what you do, make sure it shows through in what you write. Others will pick up on your enthusiasm and enjoy reading what you are producing.
  6. Read what others are writing. What tone of voice do they use? How do they set a scene? Why do you like their writing?
  7. Notice the power of words around you. When you see an ad that speaks to you, think about why it got your attention. Does a campaign tell a story? Does it cause you to feel certain emptions? Think about your writing and how you can use these elements to make your message stronger.

Writing requires patience and practice. Don’t get frustrated when the words are slow to flow. Try out a few of these ideas and see if you aren’t soon filling page after page.

Does your message hit the mark?

Does Your Message Hit the mark- (1)


If budget is your first question when it comes to advertising, you’ve already missed the mark. Before you even plan your budget, you need to focus on the message.

  1. Does the ad tell a story? If it just conveys information you’ve left off the biggest draw for an audience. Think of it like a story. Stories have a problem, a decision, and an outcome. Your ad should too. Think about all the commercials you remember. Most of them play on some emotion we can relate to.
  2. Does your ad have a call to action? If your audience doesn’t clearly understand your desired outcome, why are you wasting your money?
  3. Does it have emotion? There are several basic emotions we as humans feel. These include: joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust. If you can successfully appeal to one of these, you can compel your audience to take action.
  4. Is your rep finding the best market for you? Your rep can be a wealth of information. They can point you in the right direction so that your ad will have the maximum impact, or they can just make a sell and move on. Build that relationship so that they care about your success. Help them understand your why and they will be one of your biggest resources for success. If you can team up with the station or outlet your rep represents even better. Special events can go a long way to promote both of you.

These four questions can help you get the most out of your advertising budget.