The phrase “content is king” is thrown around a lot in marketing and communications, but it’s sometimes misunderstood. Originally coined by Bill Gates in 1996, the term’s essence boils down to quality versus quantity. In its barest bones, your internal communications plan is about engaging employees through impactful content and not overwhelming them with the information they neither want nor need.
So as an internal communicator, how do you create high-quality content that delivers a message successfully every time? Let’s break this down.
Many internal communicators focus on getting individual messages out that they forget to see the bigger picture. Before creating content for your internal audience, you must have a plan that clearly defines channels and audiences.
Here are some great questions to help you get started:
After you’ve got these answers figured out, conduct an audit of your communication channels! Ask yourself: What current channels does your organization use (i.e., email, video, newsletters, etc.)?
This will help you identify each channel’s strengths and weaknesses and help you tailor your content to your strengths. Oh, don’t forget to include social media!
If you need some help with this, read this best practices guide on creating a Channel strategy. It includes three free internal communication plan templates to give you solid footing as you develop your strategy.
Next, it’s time to segment each channel by the audience. Emails might work better for executives and frontline employees, while factory staff may prefer posters or video screens. Only by strategically thinking about where and how to use different channels can you successfully deliver a message.
The last phase of your internal communication plan is the content calendar—what you’re going to share, on which day, and on what channel.
Scheduling capabilities aside, a content calendar will give you an overview of your messaging tactics and touchpoints:
There are countless more reasons why having a content calendar is important, but one of the biggest is visualization. By seeing all your internal comms content laid out in front of you, scheduled and ready to go, it will be easier for you to factor in last-minute communications with ease or rearrange anything if necessary without messages getting lost in the shuffle.
After creating your content calendar, you need to make sure your messages stick. Most communications professionals know it’s not about what you say but how you say it.
If your message is serious and important, are you speaking with clarity and empathy? When it’s something fun, is your excitement palpable through your language?
Using appropriate voice and tone in your content elevates your message further and lets it truly connect with your audience. Think of voice like the personality of your language!
When setting tone and voice, it’s important to factor in your organization’s brand, too. A tech startup may have a different “voice” than a law firm. That’s not to say law firms can’t have a light-hearted, personal tone! Understanding the brand is simply a good way to ensure your voice is consistent and authentic throughout your organization.
Where you add color to each piece of content is through tone. Have you ever received a text message from a friend and thought they might be upset solely based on their punctuation, emoji, or sentence structure? The tone is what’s said between the lines, which makes it such a powerful communication tool.
If you’re unsure about your tone, read Grammarly’s tone guide. Their grammar tool is excellent for live analysis and monitoring. You can even download our free tone of voice worksheet to help you set your internal communications plan.
When Bill Gates penned the phrase “content is king” years ago, he probably didn’t know it would take on a life of its own among marketing and communications professionals. In a digital age where quantity often outweighs quality in content, it might be time to rethink Gates’ phrase.
No, not all content is king. Content that focuses on quantity may have its place in the king’s court, but meaningful and thoughtful content connects with its audience; that’s the real king.
To wrap up, here’s how to create high quality content every time:
Follow the guidelines above, and you’ll become an expert content creator and an internal communicator in no time. Here are all the best practices for effective communication in the workplace.
Improve your content strategy with our free Internal Communications Plan template. Want to learn how IC Thrive can help you improve your internal communications and employee engagement? Schedule a Free Demo today!