To paraphrase Oscar Wilde borrowing is the sincerest form of flattery, and when it comes to delivering brilliant internal communications there is no better place to borrow from that the world of content marketing.
On the surface, content marketing - mostly external in nature and with a perception that big budgets are attached - might seem to have little to do with internal communications. But, done well, a content marketing approach should enrich the messaging of internal communications.
Any successful content marketing strategy has in mind the voice of the brand, and the audience; every successful internal communications campaign should have in mind the same two elements.
Content marketing delivers on this through the creation of materials – printed, animated, in film or audio, or output in lots of other wonderfully creative ways. The result is to build a conversation with the audience which in turn builds trust in the brand and then inspires the audience to engage more with that brand.
And that is the first and most important thing to remember: any successful communication depends on making an emotional connection as well as a rational one. The shorthand for this is to tell stories well. For internal communications that means showing how colleagues are carrying out instructions or living the brand, rather than simply telling people what they should do. After all, people love reading about their colleagues.
Content marketing tends to get the balance right between talking about the brand, and letting related content shine a light on the brand. There is nothing more off-putting than blowing the corporate trumpet.
Employee engagement should be about getting messages ‘owned’ by the team and communicated in straightforward language, rather than sent as ‘top-down’ messages in corporate speak.
Internal audiences are as time poor as external ones, which means they choose to engage. They are more likely to be stopped in their tracks by great creativity.
Use brilliant infographics to deliver that ‘water-cooler’ nugget of information that can be remembered and shared. Mix up formats to include podcasts and video as well as written emails to better engage the entire workforce. Deliver a proper campaign approach with social elements leading to cool visuals.
An interactive game to "pimp" an A380 inspired nearly a third of the BA team to get involved
Content marketing makes the most of assets and reuses them at every opportunity, maximising any creative spend. If your communications are anchored in a compelling idea or proposition, they should be timeless and able to be resurfaced over many months (or years!).
The final learnings from content marketing speak to the strategy of an approach.
Understand your audience – there are lots of nuances around an internal audience and they shouldn’t be treated as though they are all the same. Be rigorous about analysing how effective your communications are – target messages, measure and adapt.
Finally, be relevant. Take a news-led approach and use real-world angles to anchor content and encourage engagement. People are more likely to connect with something if there is a news-angle.
In 2021 there has never been a greater need for colleagues to fall in love with their companies. A content marketing approach helps them fall and stay in love.
In a nutshell
- Any successful communication depends on making an emotional connection as well as a rational one
- Internal audiences are as time poor as external ones
- Understand your audience – they shouldn’t be treated as though they are all the same
- Take a news-led approach and use real-world angles to anchor content
If you would like to talk more about adopting a content marketing approach to your internal communications, pop us an email at email@example.com – we would love to hear from you.
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