Creating Your Message

Once you know who you are talking to (your target market/persona) and how you are delivering your message (your media strategy), it’s time to figure out what you are going to say (messaging).

Start by taking a breath, clearing your mind and asking yourself what it is you actually want people to do. Sure you want them to sign up for your event or attend a class but can they really sign up for a class when they see your poster on the bulletin board at Whole Foods? No, so what can they do? Visit a website? Dial a phone number? Whatever that action is, it is called the call-to-action and your entire message should be oriented around getting the reader/viewer to perform that one action. Don’t get ahead of yourself.

If you met a girl or a guy you found attractive at a party, you wouldn’t ask if they wanted to get married or have your babies, would you? You would ask if they want to go out to dinner or if they would give you their phone number. That’s the call-to-action. Don’t make your messages too complicated by selling the entire program, just get them to “click here for more information”.

So now you know who you are talking to, how you are talking to them and what you want them to do. It’s time to create a message. The number one thing to remember when you create a message is not to talk to yourself. Speak to that persona! If you aren’t a member of your target market (and you probably aren’t in this situation) then the message you are creating doesn’t need to be appealing to you. Get into your persona’s head, listen to the message and say “Why do I care?”.

From our persona and our other background information we know:

  • They are interested in sustainable local food
  • They are interested in healthy, pure food
  • They care about the quality of life lived by the animals they consume for protein
  • There is a good chance they garden and/or raise chickens if they have the space
  • They are quite likely millennials
  • They are probably educated professionals
  • They are much more likely to be female than our traditional R3 market
  • They are more likely to live in an urban or suburban location
  • They have little or no experience with hunting or fishing
  • They are quite likely married or living with a significant other
  • They may have children living in their home

Your goal in messaging is to:

  1. Attract attention in the media in which your message is being delivered (a black and white ad in a colorful publication, a TV commercial with no sound, an attention grabbing photo, etc)
  2. Communicate/motivate the reader/viewer with the simplest, most compelling message possible
  3. Provide an easily understood and executed call-to-action

Once you have a message don’t forget to test drive it against your personas and ask why each of your personas care about the message. If you have children, neighbors, spouses or co-workers who are firmly in the target market you could ask their opinion as well but don’t get too hung up on one person’s opinion.

If you have time and opportunity to thoroughly test your messaging a focus group or A/B online or email testing are great ways to find out if one message is better than another.


Sell the Experience: Marketing To Millennials With Engaging Content

"Millennials" buy "the experience." They don't purchase hiking boots, they buy the idea of protecting their feet on the trail while staying dry, avoiding blisters and looking "cool." The outdoor lifestyle is about the feeling the experience but our marketing strategies don't show it. This session will identify acquisition strategies focusing on content to attract and engage millennials.

Idaho wildavore pocatello workshop offered in pocatello - PR Sample

Last year, our southeast region Fish and Game office rolled out a new mentored hunt program called
Idaho Wildavore. It is a program for the true beginning adult hunter who has very little or no
experience with hunting and does not have an experienced mentor through which to learn the

To pilot the program, a deer hunting workshop (complete with a mentored deer hunt) was offered to
adults last fall, followed by a turkey hunting workshop last spring. Both classes were "wildly" successful.

Slow U: The Locavore Hunter - PR Sample

Slow U: The Locavore Hunter
Do you find yourself looking for sources of meat that are local, free range, hormone and antibiotic
free? Whitetail deer are roaming rural and suburban New York and New Jersey in record numbers and
may be as 'free range' as meat can get.

On March 13 from 2 to 5pm, join Slow Food NYC for an afternoon with locavore hunter, writer and
instructor, Jackson Landers. Learn the basic information that an aspiring locavore hunter needs to
know to start hunting deer for food.

Marketing and Promotion - Best Practices Hunting Workbook

Marketing and promotion are fields of endeavor that can have tremendous benefits in hunting and shooting recruitment and retention activities. Unfortunately, most natural resources agencies and hunting and shooting organizations have only a vague notion of what marketing really is or what it can do to help them achieve their recruitment and retention (R&R) goals. Most do not have marketing expertise on their staffs, and many do not invest nearly enough thought or other resources into taking advantage of what marketing and promotion have to offer.

Outreach and Awareness - Best Practices Hunting Workbook

Most hunting- and shooting-related agencies and organizations are engaged in outreach and awareness activities all the time, and there are innumerable topics and opportunities they could feature in outreach efforts. For example, to reach people who don’t know anything about hunting and shooting, you need to make them aware of the activities, pique their interest, and persuade them to attempt a trial experience – all as a first step. This is a distinct outreach challenge.

Creating Opportunities - Best Practices Hunting Workbook

Every successful company is constantly looking for opportunities to create new customers or to provide new services and products to existing customers. In the past, the shooting and wildlife recreation community has had either stable or growing participation without having to compete for new participants. However, as the Introduction points out, those days are history.