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  • Denise Hamilton

Stick to the Beats of Your Brand

Every writer I know in the tech industry struggles in some way with shaping and simplifying product messaging, whatever that might be. That’s often because of the depth and many details to draw from. Having a lot of “meat” on our plates isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact, it often leads to the worst mistakes, like trying to put too many ideas into a single asset that’s not intended to capture it.

The “dump in everything” approach often occurs when marketers don’t have the time or resources (e.g., writers and designers) to create all the pieces of content desired. But overloading assets with too many details can be an affront to readers and backfire with reader disinterest.

How to Focus and Win

Everyone thinks of beats in music. It’s the same in screenwriting, where the smallest unit of the story is called “the beat,” or a shift in the narrative. Story beats can be emotional turns, incidents or events, actions, and reactions, or realizations. They can even be small shifts in narrative tone or a character’s emotional arc.

Story beats aren’t an exact science, but they are good indicators of whether your story is moving forward. And while story beats are essential to narrative structure, they aren’t explicitly written into a script. Same idea with an ebook, white paper, or video. Beats should connect in some way and move the story forward: Does this lead to that, and does it drive a clear and compelling story? Keep in mind that readers will remember only a limited number of points or beats before nodding off.

Start by keeping your beats or message clean and spare. Eliminate the bloat and overused adjectives to get to your primary points faster. Mark Twain famously advised, “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” See how many words you’ve used that end in “ly” and delete them. They shouldn’t have the power to make or break your pitch anyway.

Or, try this: Without a deck—or even writing a word—can you articulate your main points of differentiation in one sentence? What makes each one interesting? One way to stick with the main points is to let the reader decide how they feel about what you’re offering. Don’t use “you need”; they can figure out for themselves what they need and probably don’t appreciate being told that.

Freestyle dancer, The D Soraki, blew away his competition at the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Finals in Johannesburg back in December 2022. In one of his winning dance-offs, he went straight for the beat and stuck tightly with the beat of Diana Ross’ 1980 “I’m Coming Out.” Every move was connected, nothing wasted and no showy athleticism that took away from the song.

Stick to the strongest beats of your brand. You’ll make it easier for your audience to stay engaged on what matters to you, and continue reading all the way to your CTA.

Song and Dance of the Day: I'm Coming Out, Diana Ross (featuring The D SoraKi)

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