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How to create compelling content 

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How to create compelling content 

Struggling to create content that cuts through the noise and engages your employees? Never fear, Helen Deverell, is here to share her top tips for creating compelling content…

Develop a content strategy

If you haven’t already got a content strategy, put it at the top of your to do list.

A content strategy will help you to be more focused about the content you create, ensuring it’s meaningful and relevant to your employees as it will be aligned with your IC objectives.

It also means you’ll have clarity on what content ideas to say no to – if it doesn’t fit within the strategy, it will simply add to the noise rather than cut through it. Being able to refer to a clear strategy to back up your argument will make challenging colleagues far easier.

And by having a strategy and plan doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, simply that you’re more targeted in the way you bring information and stories to life.

Go behind the scenes

AT PR Week last November, there was a great presentation by Jessica Latimer, Head of Internal Communication at Sky. She spoke about how they shone a spotlight on people around their business by going behind the scenes. Often people in corporate roles didn’t understand how an idea ended up on a TV screen. They shared this journey with people in the form of stories, bringing the experience to life.

Yes, Sky will have a rich resource of behind the scenes stories to choose from, but all organisations are filled with interesting people doing interesting things. And if you want people to really understand how their role supports the strategy it’s a great opportunity to do this.

There was a lovely story in the news recently about how a little boy wrote a letter to his father in heaven. Royal Mail wrote him a letter back confirming it had been delivered, and that they had understood the importance of getting it there safely.

On the surface, it may seem like Royal Mail employees just sort and deliver letters, but people rely on and trust them to take care of letters which have high personal value – such as the letter to heaven.  And what do Royal Mail say they are? The UK’s most trusted letters and parcels delivery company. Think how many stories there would be to bring that trust element to life internally.

Often the most compelling stories can be found in the ordinary.

(disclaimer: Royal Mail may well be doing this type of storytelling internally – the letter to heaven was simply a great way to demonstrate the point!)

Theme your content

The internal comms team at Sky also found that creating themed months was a great way to find and engage people with their content.

Months could be themed around projects and campaigns (security awareness for example) or charity awareness (mental health awareness).

Content based on your values is another great option as it helps you bring them to life and help people understand what they look like in practice. Plus, as a theme it’s broad enough to encompass a range of interesting stories and focused enough to ensure content remains relevant.

It’s much easier to find stories if people understand what you’re looking for, so by communicating what your themed months are, you may find they come to you with suggestions.

Different formats

When you’re busy, it’s easy to default to the standard intranet article format. But there are so many ways to think creatively about your content.

Listicles often prove popular, especially as many people will read them in their personal lives (take a look at Buzzfeed).

Quizzes and polls are fun ways to engage people with lighter topics and you can tie it in with campaigns.

If you’re profiling a senior leader, consider having a more junior member of staff interview them and ask some of their own questions.

Video is a good way of varying content format, for example to raise awareness of a new service you’re offering, you could challenge an employee to explain it in 60 seconds and film and edit it on your phone.

There are so many different options, take a bit of time to consider if you’re approaching a piece of content in the best possible way.

Take a newsroom approach

Creating an editorial newsroom can be a great approach to collating and creating compelling content. Invite representatives from different teams to share updates from their parts of the business, then plan and brainstorm what content needs to be shared, how all the content fits together and how to bring it to life.

Ideally, you’d hold it every month, creating a structured and consistent approach that results in compelling content that aligns to your IC objectives.

You can also review the success of content in this meeting and use that insight to inform future content.

Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to take a different approach to your content creation. We’d love to hear how you get on and let us know if you have your own top tips for creating compelling content inside your organisations!

By Helen Deverell for Alive with Ideas

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Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

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Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

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Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

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DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

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Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

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Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

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Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

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Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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