Have you ever had writer’s block when you’re called upon to produce a new internal comms campaign? You’re not alone! The constant stream of company-wide updates, administrative messages, and employee engagement campaigns is enough for even the most seasoned internal communications professional to feel creatively burned out.
Why is it then that some organizations can create consistently effective internal communications across their employee experience?
The answer lies in the methodology many employee communications veterans implement when producing their internal communications strategy. Like many creative writers, the method they approach creating content can drastically inspire fresh ideas and keep your content engaging.
Here are some tips successful intranet managers and communication leaders use to keep their content initiatives engaging.
Step One: Choose an Audience Persona
Before approaching the campaign creation process, it is crucial to understand your audience and how they will consume the information. Different audiences will view the information you give them in different ways, and it is essential to ensure that the desired message is not only delivered but understood appropriately.
Write down who you are addressing and what they want out of the campaign. You can have multiple audiences for one campaign; ensure you clearly define who they are and how they will view your content.
Step Two: Set The Campaign’s Objective
The second step should be defining your campaign’s desired outcome. This definition can include which pieces of information you want your audience to walk away with, an action you want your readers to take, or numerous other outcomes. Before you start creating your campaign, define the objective and prioritize it in your copy and design creation.
Rather than making a list of general outcomes (Engage employees, fill our editorial schedule, etc.), clearly state one action you want your audience to perform after consuming your campaign. Use that guiding statement as a beacon to focus your creative efforts and ensure your campaign is effective.
Step Three: Find the Right Voice
There is a common fallacy that the person writing the communication should always be the attributing author, which isn’t always the most effective strategy. Instead, consider your content’s audience and desired outcome to identify if there is a stronger voice that would be more effective in conveying your message.
For instance, while you may be the one writing about new company policies for compliance with SOC2, it would be more effective for that piece of content to come from the CIO or IT leader (with their consent, of course!). Once you’ve finalized your campaign, send it over to the most influential voice on the subject and ask them for attribution.
Step Four: Write and then Right
The hardest part of any new piece of content is always the first draft. The most successful communicators always use the first draft to get out all of their ideas and thoughts, and you should follow in their footsteps. Sit down and set a timer for a set amount of time—it could be 5 minutes or 30 minutes—the constriction of time will give you urgency to get all your thoughts out. Once the time is up, take a look at your draft and start sculpting your communication from there.
Use your audience and outcomes guidelines as a compass to navigate your editing process. If you choose to use an alternate voice, ensure the communication sounds appropriate to their unique style. Once you’ve finalized your first edit, try getting feedback from a sample of your selected audience.
Step Five: Distribute
Now that you’ve finalized your content, it is time to make sure it reaches the right audience, and that they consume it. Knowing your company’s engagement behavior is critical to successfully driving engagement to your content and chose the right communication channels to meet your objective. Whether you have engagement data to draw on from previous campaigns or know when your company intranet has the highest live users, timing your distribution is vital. One step further, knowing when and where your targeted audience will be active is critical intelligence you need to gather so appropriately distribute your content at the right time and in the right channel (or site). Having access to modern communication tools can make informed distribution easy.
Step Five: Follow-up and Engage
Your job is not done once your campaign is out there; it is crucial to follow up with your audience to develop the conversation. Remember that your company is a community where a common goal unifies everyone. Like any thriving community (and just like on social media), being interactive and responsive to questions, comments, and other employee feedback will assist with growing relationships with your audience. The opinions and questions you receive can often be a source of inspiration for new content ideas themselves.
Step Six: Draw Inspiration from Analysis
Analytics can be a powerful tool in understanding who is reading your content and how they understand it. Whether you are using an intranet with advanced analytical capabilities or only have access to primary data, the final step of every campaign should be an analytical review. As a baseline, you should understand if the correct audience consumed your content and how they interacted with it. This information will help you plan your editorial calendar and ensure messages get delivered in highly engaging ways.
The next step should understand what the content’s audience took actions and how effectively it completed its set objective. Catalog the impact your campaigns have and jot down any ideas on how to adjust them in the future. If you have access to a highly advanced platform, you may collect data on how employees felt after reading your content and how it affects their affinity with the company.