Adopt a marketing mindset to improve internal communications

Want to create more appealing, relevant content for your colleagues? Plan your campaigns, segment your audience, use visuals, and streamline the feedback process.

Communicating a message well is as important as the message itself.

That goes for all forms of internal and external communication. Unfortunately, internal marketing is often an afterthought. Most leaders would agree it’s important to keep staff informed, but few grasp the need to continually appeal to employees.

That lack of compelling “preaching to the choir” is a missed opportunity and a strategic misfire. You must market to your internal stakeholders, too.

For more effective internal communication, here are tips from the marketing world:

1. Plan your campaign.
Before you craft an internal communication plan, ask:

  • What do you want to achieve for your teams and your company?
  • What are you doing now and in what way is it effective or ineffective?
  • What tools will you need?
  • How soon do you want to achieve your goals?
  • Do you need help from your designers or marketing department?
  • Should you create a schedule to define when and how to send your messages?

Mismatched internal and external communications can threaten an employees’ perception of the company. Make sure your internal messages align with your public advertising, marketing and PR efforts. They should be like interlocking parts that enhance one another.

To achieve this sort of harmony, reach out to your communicator colleagues to ensure you’re on the same page and aware of what’s in the offing. Try to get an idea of what initiatives they’re planning so your work can complement theirs.

2. Define your message.
Be clear in your messaging. Write with your audience in mind. What matters most to them? How will they benefit from your communication?

Emphasize the most crucial bits of information, and make it easy for people to grasp your key points. Also, adopt a marketing mindset as you remember to:

  • Inform your team of training, job announcements, sales and marketing metrics or industry news.
  • Inspire colleagues by touting goals, accomplishments, successes or challenges.
  • Keep it light with fun, engaging content.
  • Motivate people with specific calls to action.

Remind your team that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

3. Be visual.
Visuals tend to stick with people far longer than text.

Use video, infographics, photos and other visual formats to back up and bolster your messages.

4. Use communication tools and technology.
Use technology to your advantage. Try getting your team on a chat platform like Slack, Yammer, Google Hangouts or Facebook’s Workplace.

Cloud technology like Office 365 or Google Drive can streamline collaboration as well.

Just remember, communication tools are worthwhile only if they streamline your processes and make life easier. Cut out channels people don’t like, and consolidate wherever you can. Try to get everyone using the same platforms.

Segment your employees by contact data, campaign interactions, activity on your website, interests or department. That’s how marketers trim their lists and craft targeted, relevant campaigns.

5. Make it easy to give and receive feedback.
Providing a platform for staff to send feedback and share ideas is a great way to build engagement and morale. You could use a company forum, social networking software or even a whiteboard in the office. Just give people a voice.

Great internal communication—just like great marketing—starts with feedback and collaboration.

Issy Nancarrow is the managing director at Campaign Learning. A version of this post first appeared on Training Journal.

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