How to create better content for internal communications
With all the digital noise distracting our employees, how do you ensure you’re capturing their attention?
We live in an age of information overload. Did you know that employees typically check their emails 36 times in an hour ? Employees are wasting valuable time checking their emails and attending meetings during their workday; but they’re also staying in touch with work after hours because of smartphones.
If this sounds like your work environment, it’s time to change the way you communicate.
You can communicate more efficiently by learning to develop great content. This applies to internal communications and to the messages you share with clients and customers.
The message and the channel
Each piece of communication you create should have a clear purpose. You can then determine which channel would be best for your message.
Some communications can be delivered internally via a short email, while some information will require a meeting. One of the most effective ways to get your message across is to make the most of video content.
Using video effectively
A recent report conducted by Melcrum suggests that 93% of professionals from the internal communication industry believe that video is an essential tool. While email still has its place, lengthy formal messages can be hard to digest and are at risk of not being read in their entirety. Conversely, videos are easy to watch and can be made engaging when kept short and conversational.
You can use video to keep your employees apprised of developments within the company, any internal news and even interviews that will help them to understand any changes that are being made. You might choose to deliver training via video, a weekly round-up instead of a newsletter, and you can include an encouraging pep-talk from management to help provide some motivation.
Videos are actually quite affordable to produce; you can opt to download some free software packages such as Jing or perhaps purchase a budget editing suite such as iMovie for Apple Mac.
Ask yourself a few questions
There are a few questions you should answer before creating a piece of content. Ask yourself which pieces of information your audience needs to receive. Identify the information that is crucial to your message getting across and look for elements that are redundant or not significant.
Make the information easy to process by structuring your message in a logical manner. Start by stating what your intentions are with this message, or by announcing your topic. Lay out the problem you are addressing, and the solution.
Setting the tone
It’s important to get the mood right when you’re creating content – this is the case whether you’re writing an email, putting together a training course, or delivering urgent news from senior management.
In some cases, it pays to be informal which will help you connect with staff and can even boost morale. However, if the message you’re delivering is one of low profits, lack of productivity, or requires staff to take immediate action, then it’s essential that you demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and provide actionable steps that your employees must take from this communication.
Make your message memorable
Once you are done writing a message or a piece of content, take a few minutes to go over it. What jumps out at you right away as you skim the text ? What do you remember the most after reading the text? This is a simple test that will help you assess how efficiently you got your point across.
You can make your message more memorable by using bullet points or short sentences. Avoid long paragraphs and unstructured content.
Using metrics to illustrate your points
Words are effective, but numbers really help to hammer your points home. Using metrics in the form of percentages, graphs and charts, you can help your employees to achieve the desired company goals.
Communicate with your staff and use metrics in your communications to illustrate where they are right now, and how much growth you expect in a pre-defined period of time, say in a month or six months from now. Numbers make both the progress and direction clear and provide your employees with added motivation to want to improve their performance.
Of course, your employees can only work towards a better company future, if content is used to provide transparency about the company’s objectives. Closed door meetings and secrecy of management does little to inspire your staff and help them to understand their role in the overall functioning of the company.
Make sure that regular communication is delivered from the top, but also middle management, perhaps in the form of an internal social network which gives everyone a voice. This encourages regular connection and verbal communication at all levels. This strategy also gives senior management a clear vision of what is happening further down the chain.
Set clear expectations for communication
What happens after an employee receives your message? If you don’t set clear expectations regarding communication, employees will waste time answering emails that didn’t require a response.
You should always end your content by stating what should be done next. You can request an answer, a confirmation, or explain that what was discussed in the message will go into effect immediately.
It’s also important for you to measure the effectiveness of your communication strategies. Set an objective when delivering an email, video training session or newsletter and then assess whether your goals were met. You might request surveys from your staff to find out how they prefer to receive content from you.
Alternatively, you can use those metrics discussed above to determine whether there has been an improvement in terms of output following your communication. Understanding which methods of expression work best is essential as it will help you to plan future content strategies.
Good content should be clear, concise, and get your point across. Always ask yourself what your goal is when writing a message, make your content easy to read, and check it to make sure employees can quickly get the main takeaway.