“Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
We’ve all heard that one before, right?
But, as Forbes so kindly reminds us, if only that were true in the business world.
Covers are normal. Necessary, even. Because what good is any information if it’s not presented in a way that is really, truly meaningful and connected to its intended audience?
We are, however, taught that ‘covers’ are bad. That they do, somehow, disguise or allow for the misinterpretation of information as it was intended.
We can’t say we agree.
Rather, perhaps it’s so that the choices we make with regards to how information is presented to stakeholders - whether internal, external or prospective - can be seen as an opportunity to engage and empower the audience.
What if we always reframed our marketing campaigns to the tune of audience engagement.
Moreover, what if we shaped our internal comms to better suit the interests and needs of those at whom they’re aimed?
It’s an interesting question. Why not ask yourself what messages your ‘covers’ offer up about you and your business?
Here are our top 3 tips for encouraging effective and compelling messaging in your content and content strategy, with a nice lil’ focus on internal communications:
1. Shape it to your audience
Big business or sole trader?
18-25 or 45-60 years of age?
When it comes to positive and effective messaging, differentiation couldn’t be more important.
You’re probably aware that the key to segmentation is understanding who your audience is, and what it is that’s ‘in it’ (your business or product, that is) for them.
But how about in the case of internal comms?
We have, for example, written a lot about onboarding recently. When you think about your employees (or any other portion of your workforce), what is it that you think they need to see, hear or experience to feel supported and engaged?
Of course, if you’re not sure, you could/should always consider directly consulting your workers.
But for the purposes of this exercise, why not do a little brainstorm yourself?
Here are some tips. HR Daily Advisor reports that in order to feel fully engaged and invested in their workplace, most employees need:
An accompanying package of (at the very least) basic benefits/perks
Investment in their development
Solicitation of their opinions (see point no.5 in this post!), and
A simple “thank you”
Ask yourself: how can you use your content strategy to better encapsulate these messages? A good place to start is by:
Revamping your onboarding comms: decide on your qualitative/quantitative outcomes for new employees (e.g. helping people feel safe and secure, retaining new arrivals for at least 12 months) and work backwards from there to decide what content you need to produce
Auditing your content strategy: what messages are being delivered? How? When? For what purpose? Maybe it’s time to start a fresh...
Sending a video “thank you” to your colleagues (this is especially useful/effective for teams working offsite)
2. Make it visual
Video is currently the only digital medium engaged with by over 500 million people every day.
Yes, you read correctly: over 500 million.
So, is there really any reason not to up the amount of video and animation that you and your team commission/produce?
Visual media is literally taking over the (marketing) world. Why? We’d argue it’s for qualitative reasons; that video is able to so concisely, consistently and effectively pull together sound, visuals, text and narrative so effortlessly, in one place.
Put simply, it’s likely that video is your most compelling option for delivering a message, marketing-related or otherwise.
Here’s a list of things/processes/operations you might be undertaking via other means that could, perhaps with your approval, be video-fied:
Meeting notes: really, does anyone actually read them? Why not try a video summary instead? Show employees you value their time...
Employee handbook: do workers really need another document to read? Why not transform it into a piece of visual media?
Staff newsletters: surely all that tired copy can be turned into a fabulous, sparkling, on-brand 1min video update?
At the end of the day, “making it visual” tells your employees three things:
We value your time
We care about good communication, both with you and with external stakeholders
We’re invested in your future, and the future of the company
You can’t go wrong, really.
3. Be open to employees’ opinions
While this may seem like an obvious one, actively incorporating employee opinions and feedback is a different kettle of fish to simply talking about doing it.
Why not use the process of developing/approving your external-facing content to heighten your connection with employees?
Trying to dream up all of your business’ online content and internal comms work by yourself is likely going to be quite stressful and, by-and-large, ineffective. At any rate, depending on the workload, it’s likely you’ll be forced to compromise on quality at some point in time.
Why not tap into your staff’s knowledge, skills and interests?
Customer service staff (e.g. customer relations or box office staff) will be able to provide you with invaluable information re: trends in customer needs, feedback and woes
Philanthropy/business development professionals will be trained in approaches that tap into the psychological/thought-making processes of clients, both current and prospective
Staff working in your finance team will understand and be able to empathise with the short- and long-term impacts of attempting brave, new budgeting ideas
But why do all this? It’s resource intensive and a little time consuming in the first instance, of course, but it has a purpose. And it’s backed up by stats.
You see, teams who feel valued and ‘listened to’ may experience up to 21% greater profitability (Gallup). Further, businesses with more engaged employees may realise a 41% reduction in absenteeism, and 59% less turnover more broadly.
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Scott.
But need help with it all? You know what to do!