How Can I Create an Effective Message?

This page is about the "what" of your communication. What exactly is the message you're trying to get across through your marketing?

The main goal of any marketing is communicate a specific message to an audience. For example, the message could be that students are invited to participate in an Outdoor Activities event, or that all students are invited to attend Devotional every week. It is definitely important to think about how this message can be communicated creatively, but you will want to be careful that the main message you're trying to convey doesn't get lost in the process.

There are two key considerations to keep in mind when developing a message that can be communicated effectively to your audience.

First, be clear and concise.

There is probably a whole list of things you could say, each point seemingly crucial for people to know. But if you're not careful, you can lose your audience. There just isn't time or space to include everything. Distill all the information down to the key ideas. If you're clear and direct, people will pay attention.  

Second, be creative without masking the clarity of the message.

An original approach to a well-defined message will catch people's interest and help them remember what you have to say. A creative approach is good, but only if it's not hard to figure out. Do a little testing. Ask others if they get what you're trying to say.

Our "Effective Message Checklist" (below) will give you valuable insights into whether or not your message is clear and effective.


Effective Message Checklist


  • Who do you want to reach? Who really needs your message? Be as specific as possible.
  • When you know who you are targeting, figure out what method of communication they prefer? What is the best place or method you could use to reach them?


  • What tone or style might be appropriate for the message you're trying to communicate? Humorous? Serious? Sacred? Urgent? Is there a tone or style that might be inappropriate for this kind of message?
  • What tone or style would connect the most with the particular audience you're trying to reach?
  • Is the style of language and imagergy in harmony with BYU-Idaho's standards and principles?

Good Communication

  • What do you want people to do as a result of your communication? Is that crystal clear in the marketing?
  • Have you described why someone would want to do this? What is going to make people want to do what you're asking them to do?
  • You will want to make things as concise as possible. Is there anything you can cut out or is there information on the advertisement that people can get elsewhere?
  • Would you take the time to read this message if someone else had written it?


  • Have you clearly provided details such as dates, times and locations about any specific events? Do participants need to bring anything?
  • Is your message intended to educate about an ongoing project, campaign or initiative? If so, will your message work as a series of different advertisements with common ties?
  • Is everything spelled correctly? Is the grammar correct?
  • Have you asked someone else to proofread your message?

Now that you understand a little more about what your message should be in order for it to be effective, read about how to communicate that message successfully.