Skip to main content

Start with a messaging strategy

The thread of a successful marketing campaign is a solid strategy—one that is carried out through creative development and delivery. To make sure your campaign materials deliver on the “ask” of your project, you’ll want to start by designing a messaging strategy.

How to carry out an idea consistently across channels

A messaging strategy outlines the creative direction and key copy points of a campaign. It describes the approach your creative work will take in order to best achieve your campaign goals. As an important initial step in the creative process, you’ll use the insights and information in your campaign plan to design a messaging strategy. You’ll then use that messaging strategy to write and design all of your executions, ensuring your campaign communicates a clear and consistent idea across touchpoints.

If you have a brief, use it as your jumping-off point

Revisiting your brief is the best way to begin. Your project (or creative) brief should have most of the necessary pieces of information to craft an effective messaging strategy. If you don’t have one, these are the key things you’ll need:

  • Know what your campaign is trying to achieve.
  • Get familiar with your target audience on a deeper level.
  • Understand the central idea that needs to be communicated.
  • Collect relevant proof points or supporting statements.

Consider how your messaging strategy aligns with IU’s brand positioning. Depending on what your unit is communicating about, it might also help to get inspiration from your campus DVPs or lean into one of the university’s brand truths. But remember, neither DVPs nor brand truths are intended to be used verbatim.

The core components

There are three main pieces of a messaging strategy that define your creative direction.

Verbal approach

Articulate what your campaign materials will say by drafting key messaging statements. Your messaging should:

  • Be clear and concise: Your audience should easily understand what you’re communicating.
  • Be compelling: You want your creative work to resonate with your audience, so make your messaging statements unique, memorable, and relevant. Seek out opportunities to personalize content, when you can.
  • Focus on the unique benefits or value that IU offers to your target audience.
  • Stay on strategy: After you’ve written your messaging statements, check to make sure each one aligns with your campaign strategy and objectives.

These messaging statements are not the final words you’ll use in your executions, so they don’t need to be polished to perfection. At this point, it’s helpful to think about how your primary messages will translate across different media channels. Keeping your audience in mind, figure out the tone your copy will take.

Visual approach

Describe the style your visuals will take, and think about how your art and copy will interact to tell a convincing story. Determine how you’ll incorporate typography, graphics, composition, and other aspects of IU’s visual language to help get your message across in a powerful way.

Technical considerations

Outline mandatories or specific requirements that your executions will need to meet. Identify the branding elements and CTAs you’ll be using for each medium, and make note of your landing page URL, if you’re going to have one.

Discover more about writing effective marketing materials