3 Marketing Strategies Internal Comms Pros Should Use
Internal comms and marketing have a lot in common…but we don’t always learn from each other. That’s why we’re focusing on the strategies and tactics that IC pros should borrow from their colleagues in marketing.
Marketing Strategy: Social Listening
Ask any social media marketer what the most important tools in their arsenal are…and Social Listening will be at the top.
Social listening is the practice of tracking conversations, engagements, and activity on social media, and then analyzing them for insights into your audience. And it’s a way to develop buyer personas, make informed predictions, and course-correct in real-time.
So, how can this be used internally? Well, it’s called employee listening, and it is essentially the same premise.
Pay attention to your communication channels and track the comments, engagements, and questions. Then set up focus groups and pulse surveys to get more employee feedback.
Build the trends out of this data to get a sense of employee engagement and well-being and use it to inform your strategies to improve the employee experience.
Marketing Strategy: Lead Nurturing
Prospect, or lead nurturing, is a fairly straightforward marketing concept. It’s the strategy of moving a sales lead through the stages of the buyer’s journey.
You might have heard of the lead nurturing funnel, which is a visualization of the stages a lead goes through from the time they discover a company or product to the time they actually buy.
The steps that marketers take at each stage of this funnel are incredibly strategic and are implemented across many channels. Marketing teams select the right content and copy to show a prospect at each stage of the funnel to continue advancing them towards their ultimate goal: the sale.
There is A LOT we could say about the strategies here, but the most important part is this: it takes a multichannel strategy, a deep understanding of audience personas, time, and multiple messages to get a person to TAKE ACTION.
And that’s how it relates to employee communication. As internal comms professionals, every message you send has an intended effect. We want an employee to do, say, think, or feel something after each message.
But a little too often, IC pros don’t have an evolution of messaging. Or those messages aren’t optimized based on the channel. It’s often a one-and-done approach, maybe with some reminders.
But the reality is, employees need to be “nurtured” too. And change management is a great example of this. The Prosci ADKAR method takes into account the multiple stages of communication that are required to get employees on board with a change. And it’s a great example of how you can nurture employees and get them to take action.
Marketing Strategy: Content Marketing
Content marketing is the branch of marketing focused on the creation and distribution of content that attracts, engages, and activates an audience.
There are many content marketing tactics we could talk about, but we’re going to focus on two: writing for your audience and repurposing content for distribution.
Writing For Your Audience
In marketing, writing for your audience is an important consideration for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Essentially, your content ACTUALLY has to be good to be shown high up in search results these days.
And how do we do that? One, we are very strategic about the words–also called keywords–we use in our writing to ensure Google knows what we’re talking about. And two, we’re hyper-focused on writing content that makes sense, is well-researched, and is helpful to our target audience.
Google is your employees in this analogy. Your employees have to be able to quickly scan a message and pull out the topic and takeaways. And employees, like search engines, can spot bullshit and writing that isn’t thorough, accurate, and clear.
To write content worthy of being read use relatable, concise, and easy-to-understand language. Understand that your employees might be busy and always on the go, so maybe you write more in bullets rather than paragraphs. Every choice you make about your content should come back to your audience’s needs.
The second tactic to use is content repurposing. Most IC pros know to do this or at least want to do this, but content marketers are the pros.
Why? Well, for one, they understand their channels and what type of content performs well on each. Two, they know that it takes an average of 8 touchpoints for a buyer to take action, so they aren’t afraid to repeat themselves. And three, they get creative.
Here’s what it looks like in action. A company hosts a webinar where they have a client come on and speak about a topic. That marketer is likely to do the following:
- Create a case study
- Make quotes for Instagram
- Produce an episode of Internal Comms TV
- Break that video up into 20-second clips for LinkedIn
- Host the webinar on the website
- Quote that client in future blogs
- Turn that webinar into a blog.
I think you get the point. One single message gets used time and time again and can be completely transformed based on the channel and the goal of the new piece of content.
IC pros can take this same process to work smarter and not harder. Your town hall recording can be transcribed and put into writing. You can pull leadership quotes from it to use in other communications to explain the “why” behind a change. Maybe you break the recording into smaller videos to share over time.
Bottom line: whatever your goals are, it can take more than one touchpoint and more than one medium to achieve them.