Content marketing for internal communications…
We all know valuable content is key to effective communications, particularly for B2C and B2B communications, with content used to educate and inform audiences in order to achieve the goal of turning prospects into customers.
When it comes to internal communications however, content marketing is viewed and treated (if even acknowledged at all) differently to it’s aforementioned external counterpart. It’s understandable as to why this is, as you’re not – in the truest sense – trying to convert prospects into customers. And so it can be said that internal communicators have much more of a captive audience, which has arguably led to internal communications content not being as engaging, rich or creative as it could and possibly should be.
We are however noticing more and more clients realising the need to create content differently. Clients come to us clear on the information and knowledge that they want to transfer to their employees, but they’ve recognised that the way in which they would package it up would possibly not be the best and most engaging way of speaking to their audience.
Clearly its time content in the internal communications world is given the same treatment as it is in the external communications world. As upon closer inspection it becomes apparent that internal content marketing isn’t too dissimilar to external content marketing. At their core, both are providing valuable content to help the user answer problems and inform decisions, in an attempt to ultimately influence and when needed, change their behaviour.
Here are some things to consider when creating internal communications content.
While we are well aware the need for visual content should come as no great surprise to you, it surprises us as to just how many companies are still not using visual content within their internal comms – even some of those who are, are not doing it very well. Vince Vaughn recently showed us this when he poked fun at the office stock photo. These are the types of visuals that are still in widespread use. Fake looking employees in fake environments, not really the most engaging pieces of content.
When it comes to photographic shots, where possible use the organisations own employees or failing that, actors shot within the organisations actual environment. Authenticity is key.
Videos / animations, infographics, illustrations, these are some of the visuals that should be used to frame content. They are far more engaging (when done well) then stock photos ever will be, and more effective than a page of heavy copy.
The use of visuals is even more crucial given the way people are now choosing to consume internal communications content…
We focussed on the importance of mobile in internal communications in our ‘What 2015 holds for Internal Communications’ ebook. Worth a read if you haven’t already done so 😉
Within it we said how when designing content for mobile there needs to be a greater focus on shorter more visual pieces of communication, as employees will look to consume (snack) content quickly on mobile devices. The goal should be to provide employees with easy to consume regular pieces of engaging content. By doing this, they are likely to take in a lot more company information over time.
Useful content is useless, unless it is found. Content will need to be delivered through an effective channel strategy, which will need to be managed and cultivated for content amplification to occur. Once the content has been disseminated, it must then be easy for employees to discover on company intranets and on other digital platforms – user experience needs to be strong with a focus on mobile UX.
Make it easy for employees to interact (respond, comment, share) with the content. Not only will this add another layer of engagement to the content, but it will also help to engage and grow the organisations overall community and culture.
Again, look at what works well in the external communications world. Some of the best performing pieces of content have the element of fun running through them. We’ve actually created another blog post that looks at using humour in internal communications, you can read it here.
Hopefully, in terms of the way internal communications content is framed and presented, it is clear there is still some room for improvement. In essence, content in the internal comms world needs to be very much like the good content found in the external comms world – USEFUL, informative, and engaging (with a bit of fun sprinkled in now and then). Visuals (good visuals we should add) will play an important part in achieving this. Equally, for certain types of content so to will the narrative and copy, as speaking to the audience in a way that resonates is crucial. Business talk and corporate jargon isn’t going to engage the majority of your audience.
Internal communications now needs to pay more attention to what is working outside the organisation with external communications, and incorporate the best bits for when creating internal content. Internal communicators need to start pushing the boundaries a bit more and being braver.
Until next time…