An internal communications calendar can be an extremely powerful tool for improving the quality, efficiency and consistency of communications—if you know how to use it right.
However, if you create it half-heartedly or a rarely open a file, you’re no better off than you were when you started.
An internal communications calendar should be a collaborative effort that includes communications from every department, location and segment of the business. It should be divided by channel, due dates, deliverables and responsible parties–and frequently updated. Once you have the initial framework, learning how to use an internal communications calendar couldn’t be easier.
Here are four basic steps for how to use and make the most of your communications calendar:
1. Pick your audience. Charting every event, initiative, launch and holiday on the calendar helps give you a birds’-eye view of everything going on in your organization. This can help you target your ideal audience by mapping out exactly who will be affected. A surprising result may be that you realize that communication is important to all audiences and should be communicated companywide.
2. Choose your channels. Another great part of an internal communications calendar is having every channel under one roof. If there are too many emails going out this week, turn your communication into an intranet article. Does your message only need to reach nondesk employees? Schedule it as a digital sign. Cascading communications can now become a science rather than a guessing game.
3. Create an overall theme. Reinforcing important messages throughout all communications is usually an afterthought and or something that happens sporadically throughout the year. A communications calendar does the work for you by scheduling the messages to focus on a different value each month, or spreading out the four pillars of a new initiative over four quarters.
4. Double-check your work. Don’t forget to frequently check your calendar for things you may have overlooked. Finding out you’re launching your new intranet during open enrollment, for example, can help you avoid a major disaster.
Amanda McClay is an account manager at Tribe, an internal communication agency based in Atlanta. A version of this post first appeared on Tribe’s blog.