How to master internal communications: create strong content
Internal communications is about sending the right message to the right audience at the right time, through a channel that they prefer, with some metrics to measure success. All this starts with developing a great strategy, supported by ongoing analysis against company objectives.
Our latest blog series is a deep dive into each of the 7 Principles in our Drive 7 Principles Methodology! The aim of this series is to help you become a masterful internal communicator, no matter your experience level.
Today’s principle is a big one—content!
The content principle looks specifically at the purpose, make-up, and format of your internal communications materials—the content of your messages. No matter what department you’re in within your organization, anyone can create internal communications content that is effective in furthering your organization’s goals.
Why is internal communications content so important?
In its barest bones, internal communications is about engaging with employees, not overwhelming them with information they neither want nor need. If your content is strong, effective, and engaging, your message will always deliver, no matter what.
Start with a plan
Many internal communicators are so focused on getting individual messages out that they forget to see the bigger picture. Before creating content for your internal audience, you must have a plan that clearly defines channels and audiences. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself when planning and creating content for internal comms:
- What is the key message you are trying to communicate?
- Who is the message for?
- How are they getting it?
- What do they need to do with the information and when?
- How will you structure and present your message to maximize its effectiveness?
What does engaging internal communications content look like?
Communication is complicated. There are thousands of ways to package a message, and even more ways to deliver it. Done right, each message has the power to shape thoughts and enable meaningful results. Here’s how to ensure you create content that hits the mark every time:
Whether your organization consists of corporate lawyers or young startup professionals, never forget that you are speaking to real people, humans with thoughts and feelings.
Instead of broadly targeting a group when communicating, speak to a specific person and try to answer their questions and provide individual guidance, even if that means communicating “in-person” (these days, “in-person” means video calls, so keep that in mind).
Consider voice & tone
It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it. If your message is serious and important, are you speaking with clarity and empathy? When it’s something fun, is your excitement palpable through your language?
Using appropriate voice and tone in your content elevates your message further and lets it truly connect with your audience. Think of voice like the personality of your language!
Four popular content trends
Striking the right tone and figuring out who to target is one thing, but how you present your content is just as important. Here are four fool-proof content marketing trends to ensure your message gets delivered in the most effective way:
The main goal of personalized content is to speak directly to the needs and interests of your target audience(s). What are their unique pain points? For example, if your warehouse staff are less likely to check weekly company newsletters, how can you ensure they are receiving the same messages in a fun, engaging way?
Studies have shown that visuals help increase people’s willingness to read content by 80%. This is key, as staff are usually too busy to read a lengthy, wordy document and are more likely to consume content containing video and images.
Especially when it comes to certain content formats, like email, it’s key to keep your messaging short and concise. Don’t skimp on details when they’re needed, but avoid giving unnecessary information, and lead with your main message. Check out this article on how to craft snappy internal comms emails for more tips.
Nowadays, especially during COVID while most teams work remotely, it’s not enough to simply produce static content. People are looking to be active participants, whether through adding their two cents to an email thread, replying with their own video messages, or engaging on company social media accounts. Also included in this list? Surveys, polls, quizzes, and conversations!
This form of two-way messaging allows teams to have fun and stay connected. Now more than ever, this level of engagement is crucial as we continue to work apart in the weeks and months ahead.
There you have it! Internal communications content is arguably one of the most important of the 7 Principles, but it’s also the most fun to work on. To wrap up:
- Start with a content plan
- Determine your target audience(s)
- Keep your content engaging by using the right voice and tone
- Present your content in the right way by keeping it personalized, visual, and interactive
Follow the guidelines above and you’ll become an expert content creator (and internal communicator!) in no time.
The Drive Internal Communications Assessment
Feeling overwhelmed and out of depth in your internal communications role? Take our 5-minute Drive Internal Communications Assessment!
You’ll gain valuable insights and resources to help you improve your internal comms strategy, so you can build a collaborative, efficient, and morale-boosting work environment.
You’ll also walk away with a detailed scorecard, complete with handy resources to improve your internal communications overall.