9 Tips for Solo IC Pros

May 22, 2024

Internal communications isn’t for wimps. As IC pros, we carry a ton of responsibility in our organizations because we know good, strategic comms can boost engagement and retention and, dare I say, help our employees find clarity in their day-to-day.

While the work is important, many practitioners operate solo, nested within larger Human Resources or Marketing teams. With tasks ranging from executive to crisis comms and engagement to change management comms, it’s incredibly difficult to keep up.

However, with the right strategy, tools and support, it’s possible to be highly effective. Let’s dive into how you can get stuff done as a team of one in internal comms.

First Things First: Know & Share The Scope of Your Role

The first step is defining the scope of your role, including the most important part – clarifying what internal comms does and doesn’t do within your organization. Our favorite way to do this is through a team charter and roadshow.

A team charter typically includes:

✅ A purpose statement

✅ Details about what internal comms does (and doesn’t!) do

✅ How and when employees and leaders can get your support

✅ Information about where employees can find resources for self-service

Pair Your Charter With a Roadshow

If getting your role down on paper is step one, sharing this information through a roadshow to set boundaries is step two. A roadshow is all about compiling key information on the support you provide and sharing it widely with your stakeholders. It's a chance to ensure that the goals you're measured against are both achievable and aligned with your scope of work. This can look like a few PowerPoint slides that you circulate and present.

9 Tips for Solo IC Professionals

Master your solo internal communications role with these nine essential tips, crafted to help you enhance your strategy, build meaningful relationships and achieve a balanced work-life dynamic.

1. Partner with an IC agency for support

At the risk of starting this list with a shameless plug, getting support from an agency like ours is important for solo IC pros. Internal comms work is rarely steady. Spikes in communication needs are hard to meet without the support of an agency — unless sleepless nights are your thing.

In situations like yours, a dedicated team on retainer can help you support your stakeholders no matter what else is going on. We can also help build up evergreen content or move your long-term strategy forward. That way, when you’re pulled into urgent meetings with the C-suite, all your progress doesn’t stall.

2. Use technology to boost efficiency

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the talk of the IC world for the past year, and for good reason. AI can help you speed up your content development, skipping over the dreaded blank white screen and skip ahead to the editing and refinement process. Master the art of prompting AI to help you get started with your IC deliverables. Be sure to practice AI safety and avoid sharing sensitive company and employee information.

🔖 Bookmark These Brilliant Resources:

3. Attend Conferences and Keep Learning

Isolation is one of the worst parts of being a team of one. But rest assured, there is an IC conference for everyone. You can meet other solo or small-team practitioners and even hear speakers offer practical, sustainable ideas that you could use.

Some of our favorite paid events include ALI, Camp ICology and PRSA Employee Comms. If your budget is small, consider free events hosted by tools like Poppulo, FirstUp and Staffbase. Some content may be focused on using their tools, but much of it can be repurposed to your individual tech stack.

4. Develop a Strategic Communication Plan

A strategic communication plan is a game-changer for solo internal comms pros. It allows you to prioritize your efforts and align strategically with your organization's goals. This approach boosts your impact and increases your visibility and effectiveness. You can demonstrate the value of your work more effectively and secure necessary resources. Additionally, a well-defined plan simplifies your workflow and helps you foster more creative and thoughtful communication initiatives.

5. Embrace Templates and Standardization

By using templates, you’ll effortlessly maintain brand consistency. Plus, as a team of one, your time is limited. This approach cuts down on the time you’ll spend crafting each message and streamlines your entire communication process. Additionally, templates can enhance the usability of AI-generated content, minimizing the need for extensive edits and adjustments. This can free up your time to focus on more strategic tasks and make you more efficient and impactful.

6. Engage and Involve Your Audience

Even if you’re a team of one, your organization is full of people communicating daily. Creating opportunities for your employees to contribute content engages and empowers your audience. This approach, advocated by the Society for Human Resource Management, can turn passive recipients into active content contributors, enhancing engagement and ownership – a win-win.

7. Measure and Analyze Your Efforts

Data is the backbone of effective internal communication strategies, especially for solo professionals. By measuring and analyzing your efforts, you can pinpoint what's working and what needs adjustment. Start by tracking key metrics like email open rates, intranet engagement and employee feedback. Use this data to drive your strategy and ensure that your communications hit the mark and foster a connected, informed workforce. If you're nervous about your survey savviness, check out these four common survey problems and how to avoid them.

Regular analysis helps you stay agile and allows you to tweak your approach based on real insights rather than guesswork. Remember, data isn't just numbers — it's a tool for crafting more meaningful and impactful communication.

8. Build Relationships Across the Organization

When flying solo, building strong relationships across the organization is essential. Connect with key stakeholders and employees in various departments to understand their needs and challenges. Schedule regular check-ins and have informal chats to gain valuable insights from folks throughout the org. This will help you tailor your communication strategies effectively. You’ll be more tapped into what’s going on around the org, which will help your messages resonate.

9. Take Care of Yourself

All too often, we hear about overworked IC internal comms pros. For example, many internal comms professionals face the challenge of managing their newsletters while on vacation, and even resort to bringing their laptops along and publishing newsletters as if they were in the office. While common, this highlights how hard it can be to set boundaries when there are no teammates to take over during out-of-office periods. Planning for vacations and sick time is essential when establishing your communication cadence and choosing your platform. Remember: Evergreen content and scheduled sends are a great thing! Don't neglect yourself and it'll be easier to stay motivated at work.

Navigate Solo with Confidence

Being a solo internal communications professional can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it all alone. Brilliant Ink is here if you need a hand with anything on your plate. Whether it’s strategic guidance, arms and legs support, or using your own data to boost efficiency, we’re ready to support you.

Sara Forner Howland

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