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.
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