Editorial Slump? 7 Employee Spotlight Ideas You’ll Love

November 3, 2020

One afternoon, a cold and gloomy one where fresh ideas feel out of reach, you may find yourself Googling something to the effect of, “creative corporate communications story ideas” or, “internal editorial series.” Or perhaps, “creative employee blog topics” or even, “how to humanize leaders.” (OK I’ll stop now.) I’ve been there too.

So I’m going to cut to the chase and share a handful of brilliant ideas I’ve come across. Whether you're profiling your employees or helping your company get to know their leaders, hopefully some of these ideas inspire your next editorial brainstorm!

#1. What’s on my desk

Even more relevant for virtual times, ask employees to take a photo of their desk and share commentary about a few of their meaningful items/desk accessories. 

#2. How I work 

I may be biased because I’m fascinated with how people GSD, but this series can be a riff on Lifehacker’s How I Work column. Use it as a way for your people to share productivity tips, tricks, and any quirky or perhaps unusual ways they stay organized. There’s even potential for an interesting IT angle to showcase how folks use and optimize internal tools and systems - but don’t force it!

TIP: Include some questions about what people learned about how they work (or try to work) while working from home. Ask about their favorite ‘co-workers’  like a pet, houseplant, or kiddos to give a boost of relatable humanity. 

#3. Consumption habits 

Ask what people are reading (books, articles, magazine), listening to (podcasts, music), watching (TV, movies, documentaries), or snacking on!

#4. 5 questions with… 

I know, I know, NOT groundbreaking. But responses from questions like these are always enjoyable for readers:

  • What’s one thing about you people won’t find in your bio?
  • What’s the best advice you’ve received? 
  • Who do you look up to? 
  • What do you do when you’ve hit a creative roadblock? 
  • It’s Saturday afternoon and the sun is shining. What do you do? 

#5. Meet the expert 

Whether a business skill or something a bit more unusual, like say glassblowing, profile your people’s impressive and diverse qualities through the skills they possess.  

#6. The Cut 

Was one of your leaders interviewed by the media? Have them share what ended up on the ‘cutting room floor’ and didn’t make its way into the published interview. Maybe it was a personal question, a perspective on the industry, or even a blooper reel! Whatever it is, help your employees feel like they’re getting exclusive behind-the-scenes access to your leaders.

#7. AMA (Ask Me Anything) with a Twist

I like the concept of AMAs because they're adaptable for different channels and leaders’ comfort levels. You can do them as part of a Town Hall, perhaps in a thread on an employee mobile app, or even record a short video. For the latter, how about gathering questions from your people, dropping them into a fishbowl, and having your leader pick a few out and respond while the camera rolls? 

Now grab your pen and paper (or laptop) and start brainstorming! 

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Becky Sennett

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