What’s your message?

Messageinabottle2
Photo by plusW

"If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter"

I've had a tough time taking all the swirling possibilities, plans and dreams of what Mailana can be and boiling it down to a succinct message. This might sound like an academic exercise, but creating a two-sentence explanation of your company creates a foundation beneath everything else you build. The brevity removes any gaps for fudging, vagueness or hand-waving, and forces you to focus laser-like on the core value of what you're doing.

Luckily I've had some intensive help from the master of messages, David Mandell. Here's one of his secret weapons, a simple template where you fill in the blanks:

For _____________ (target market)
XYZ is a ___________________ (elevator pitch)
as opposed to ______________ (competitors/current situation).
XYZ _______________ (tag line)

Try it for yourself, it's deceptively hard! I'm still working on mine, but here's where I'm at:

For people trying to build their networks, Mailana is a way of sharing valuable and real relationships with their close friends, as opposed to conventional networking tools like LinkedIn that don't distinguish between acquaintances and strong relationships. Mailana gets you to "You guys should talk".

As another example, here's what I'd do for Craigslist:

For people who want to trade second-hand goods locally, Craigslist is a free and convenient service matching buyers and sellers, as opposed to expensive and inconvenient alternatives like classified ads or ebay. Craigslist is helping people help each other.

Hmm, I really like that "helping people help each other" tag line, I wonder if it's too general to steal for Mailana?

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