This past week I attended The Advanced Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Communications Conference in sunny San Francisco. I loved talking shop with a bunch of new people and chatting about what we’re working on and challenges we face in our roles. Check out some key takeaways from the event and my thoughts around them.
Video, video, video.
Many internal communications teams are turning to video to visually show stories and reach employees in a different way.
Improving “Sad Intranets.”
- Videos can humanize a brand in a way written words can’t. Esurance shared how their video series “Meet Esurance” was successful internally in showcasing an employee, and externally on their Facebook page to make the brand more human.
- My favorite video example was from Scripps Health called Iron Man 3 Movie Trailer. The company has popular employee movie nights so the team produced a “movie trailer” that showcased their CEO as Iron Man. I definitely recommend watching the trailer to understand. how this video was more appealing than a written article.
Do you struggle with readership on your intranet? You are not alone. Many people described their intranets as “sad” and that they are constantly working to improve engagement with the platform.
Storytelling and Simple Language.
- I started a tally…I know of at least 5 company intranets called “The Hub.” Why not get creative? Treasury Estate Wines calls its intranet the “Vintranet” for their “Vintreprenuers” (employees). Kitschy? A bit, but it fits their employees and brand.
- Piloting and organically growing new tools. It’s going to feel like someone doused your employees with cold water if you turn on a new platform with tons of social media bells and whistles and no one is already using them. Find a team within the company to pilot a tool and have them invite other employees to use it with them. Thomson Reuters did this successfully – they were able to get higher participation rates, more quickly, by starting with a test group.
The art of communications is creating easy, simple ways to make your point. As professional storytellers, we can make this easier on ourselves by:
- Forgetting the SEO, and “industry-speak” terms. Write like a human. You’ll get better search results and it will be simpler and more distinct for the audience.
- Take time to define the voice and principles that you want to come across in your materials. Cisco shared how they think about themselves:
- Dreaming and doing (content)
- Short and relevant (structure)
- Bold and human (tone)
- Use the Fleishman Kincaid readability indexes to benchmark your content and find the level that is comfortable for your organization. The higher you score, the easier something is to read. Harvard Law Review scores a 32, The Economist a 58 and Cisco aims for a 60. It’s not about dumbing down content, it’s about making it simple!
Please leave us a comment below. We want to hear if these ideas resonate with you!