5 surefire steps to craft content that energizes your employees

You might have an engaging intranet or have mastered the timing of your emails, but if your messages are missing the mark, you’re wasting time and effort. Try these tactics to deliver the goods.

How to create compelling content

Workplace and online distractions abound, but compelling content will cut through the noise and engage your employees.

Try these five approaches to gain momentum:

1. Develop a content strategy.

If you don’t already have a content strategy, put it at the top of your to-do list.

A content strategy will help you focus on the types of content you create, ensuring your messaging is meaningful and relevant to your employees.

It also means you’ll have clarity on which ideas to decline; if they don’t fit within the strategy, they will just add to the noise rather than cut through it. Setting a clear strategy to back up your argument will make challenging colleagues far easier.

Having a strategy and plan doesn’t mean you can’t be creative; it simply shows that you’re targeted in the way you bring information and stories to life.

2. Go behind the scenes.

Jessica Latimer, head of internal communication at Sky, recently detailed how her company shined a spotlight on its people by going behind the scenes.

Some executives didn’t understand how an idea ended up on a TV screen, for example, so communicators shared that journey in stories, bringing the experience to life.

In another case, a little boy in the U.K. had written a letter to his father in heaven. Royal Mail wrote back to him, confirming his letter had been delivered and saying they understood the importance of getting it there safely.

What do the people at Royal Mail say they are? The UK’s most trusted letters and parcels delivery company. Think how many stories there would be to bring that trust element to life internally.

(Disclaimer: Royal Mail may well be doing this type of storytelling internally; the letter to heaven was simply a great way to demonstrate the point.)

3. Theme your content.

The internal comms team at Sky also found creating themed months to be a great way to find and engage people with their content.

Months could be themed around projects and campaigns (security awareness, for example) or causes (mental health awareness).

Content based on your values helps people understand what they look like in practice. Plus, as a theme it’s broad enough to encompass a range of interesting stories and focused enough to ensure content remains relevant.

It’s easier to find stories if people understand what you’re looking for, so by communicating what your themed months are, you might find they come to you with suggestions.

4. Try different formats.

When you’re busy, it’s easy to default to the standard intranet article format, but there are so many ways to think creatively about your content.

Listicles often prove popular, especially as many people read them in their personal lives.

Quizzes and polls engage people with lighter topics, and you can tie them in with campaigns.

If you’re profiling a senior leader, consider having a junior member of the staff interview them and ask their own questions.

Video is a good way of varying content format. For example, to raise awareness of a new service, you could challenge an employee to explain it in 60 seconds on camera. (Your smartphone will do nicely.)

5. Take a newsroom approach.

Invite representatives from different teams to share updates from their parts of the business, then plan and brainstorm what content needs to be shared, how it all fits together and how to bring it to life.

Ideally, you’d meet monthly, creating a structured and consistent approach that results in compelling content that aligns with your objectives. You can also review your top successes and use those insights to inform future content decisions.

Helen Deverell is a communication consultant, blogger and author. A version of this post first appeared on Alive With Ideas.

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