The Art of Crafting Internal Communications Campaigns
Planning and executing excellent internal communications campaigns takes work. Like most of the work you do as an internal communicator, it all starts with understanding your objectives. Everything you do should ladder back up to the ultimate goals of the organization. But there are many steps that go into goal-setting, understanding your audience, and then how to craft a campaign. Campaigns aren’t just one-off messages, they are intentional efforts that span time with multiple stages of messaging (and often multiple channels) involved.
Demystifying Business Objectives
Most organizations make the overarching goals of the business fairly accessible (typically they go through your team to share them!). Whether the goal is to increase revenue or to make an impact on the community you operate within, it’s important to keep these overarching business objectives top of mind.
But before you make your goals as an internal communications team, we recommend using your monthly stakeholder meeting to touch base with other departments about what their goals are for the year (or quarter). Since their initiatives will need to flow through your team and be communicated, knowing what their goals are for these programs ahead of time will help you craft more successful campaigns.
You can then take all these objectives and determine what the goals of your department should be and what your priorities are when designing each campaign.
Understanding Your Employee Audience
But no communication campaign will be successful if you don’t understand your audience. While Internal Communications professionals often think they have a finger on the pulse of the employee body, it’s important not to make assumptions.
When was the last time you surveyed your audience? Are you regularly collecting employee feedback from all business units, roles, and tenures? Have you looked at your demographic data to back up the qualitative information you do have on your audience?
And part of understanding this audience is to understand what channels they have access to, what types of messages they receive, and their preferred method of communication. We suggest you check out our Internal Communications Audit Guide for help with this critical step.
Internal Communications Campaign Best Practices
There is A LOT that goes into creating your IC campaigns. (So much that we created a whitepaper all about it because it can’t all fit in this blog.) But I’ll cover three of the basics here:
- Don’t wing it. As much as possible, figure out what you’re going to need to communicate in advance. This is why we recommend a monthly stakeholder meeting. But you should definitely have a 2021 kickoff meeting to discuss everything planned that you’ll need to communicate. When you have time to plan ahead, you can more easily plan your cadence, frequency, and more easily create multimedia content to convey the message.
- Don’t go it alone. There are a lot of ways that you can get help. So many internal communications teams are small, so it can feel overwhelming to accomplish everything you want to.
- To improve storytelling, tap into the employee voice to share stories from the frontlines. Collect these using an open survey you put on your app or intranet, a direct CTA in your newsletter, or word of mouth.
- To improve the localization of content (and therefore the relevancy for field teams), we recommend tapping into communications champions in the field. These could be your field leaders, plant managers, HR business partners, etc.
- Don’t assume you’re done after you send the last message out. It’s a great change management principle to make sure you’ve followed through. Did you send enough messages? Have you reached out to see if there are points of confusion? What did the analytics say? Do you need to have the message reinforced by someone else? Make sure you do your homework after all your planned messages are sent to ensure there are no loose ends. PRO TIP: Throughout the campaign (not just at the end), sync back up with the main stakeholder and ask them how they are tracking towards their goals. This will help you be more agile and adjust your strategy in real-time.
Proving the Success of Internal Communications Campaigns
We touched on this a little bit already, but measurement is really important to creating a kickass campaign. This involves looking into your analytics: who opened it? How many people opened it? How many people took action or engaged with it? And relying on the qualitative data you have access to: did you get an influx of questions? Was there radio silence?
But it also requires a little investigation. We love focus groups for this because they become your ears to the ground—and they should represent the employee body in terms of geography, role, and tenure. Ask them if they have any questions about the change or program, what you could have done better, and generally if they have any ideas about how to get the message out.
And it all has to come back to the business objectives. Did the department behind the program hit their goal? How did the program and your communication of it ladder up to a larger business objective? And how are you sharing these results?
IC professionals can be busy, and that can often leave us reactive rather than proactive. But adequately planning ahead for known internal communications campaigns that we’ll be tasked with each year, is a huge step towards creating more time for you to be creative, innovative, and strategic in your communication strategy.
For an in-depth guide to crafting internal communications campaigns, download our whitepaper.