The Hidden Messages of Marketing Content

Sometimes as a copywriter, you have the privilege of working with a company that makes a difference in people’s lives. Over the past few months, I’ve worked with a company which offers hospital beds that don’t look like hospital beds. Their adjustable features make it easy for people who are elderly or have chronic illnesses or disabilities to be cared for at home, and to improve the quality of their sleep.

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Marketing content can have many hidden messages.

This was the core message I helped the company identify. The challenge was that customers didn’t want to be reminded of their illness or advancing age, so this core message wasn’t one they wanted to hear. Instead, the company wanted me to focus on how great the beds looked and how comfortable they were.

Core Message of Content

Recently, the company asked me to write two pieces of content, one that plainly outlined the core message, and one with the core message hidden. The first was a questionnaire for a magazine editorial and the second was content for three pages of their website. The differences between the two pieces of content was in the information I gave and the words I chose.

The questionnaire was for a public sector magazine, and I had to provide answers which would then be used for the editorial. The emphasis was on the company’s dealings with the public sector, so the emphasis was on the company’s dealings with health professionals and its ability to provide medical backup. There was a stress on dignity and independence, but I also used the language of the medical world, referring to hospitals, carers and patients. I also made references to specific illnesses that the beds could help people deal with.

Hidden Message of Content

For the website, the word hospital appeared nowhere in the content. I didn’t even mention words like dignity and independence. Instead, I used words like “comfort,” “rest” and “ensure.” The company wanted people to feel it was their choice to buy the beds. In my content, I wrote about what made the beds unique and about how they could help improve the quality of people’s sleep.

I also wrote about how good the company was at looking after their customers. I used the words “care” and “looked after” a lot. In this way, I was able to sneak the company’s core message through the back door. People would know from reading the content that with this company’s beds, they could live happily at home for years to come.

How do you decide what your message is? How do you get that message across in the content you create?

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