Create an internal communications plan in 7 steps
5. Start putting together your internal communications calendar
The good news: you’re almost ready to start internally communicating! The bad news: you need to put some serious planning into what you’ll publish, when you’ll publish it, and how often you’ll publish!
As far as the content calendar goes, it’s important to be able to know well-beforehand what you’re going to publish on a given date. Planning out the year may seem like a daunting task, but it helps ensure that your communications cadence stays consistent throughout the rest of the year. Speaking of cadence, you’ll want to shoot for weekly posts as a rule of thumb. If your organization is larger, multiple posts per week may make sense.
“A whole year’s worth of content? I’m going to run out of ideas within a month!” I promise you won’t.
Think of the ideation stage as a natural extension of Step 3. It starts with jotting down the types of content your people will likely engage with, taking into account seasonality and events, and coming up with a list of relevant topics. To get you started, here’s a list of types of content you can publish to generate discussion. In short, you’ll want to include a variety of content from multiple authors across your organization, including leaders.
6. Interact, interact, interact
Once you’ve started enacting your IC plan, it’s important to remember that once a post goes live, it’s live. This means people are reading it, they’re formulating thoughts, maybe they’re writing a response or raising an issue you’ve overlooked. A big part of modern internal communications is responding to comments to keep the discussion going (if it warrants a discussion).
Think of engagement as an ongoing process, not simply just publishing a Christmas party event announcement and moving on to something else. Even if the type of communication doesn’t require feedback or an involved discussion, just having that functionality built in shows to people that internal communications is a two-way street.
Remember: great internal comms gives your people a voice, too.
7. Measure your results
Finally, the most important step of your internal communications plan is to track your results. Are people reading your posts? Are they liking and commenting on them? Are people more informed than they otherwise would be? Are they regularly using the internal communications tool?
Collecting data and monitoring IC metrics is a great way to learn what’s working and what isn’t. That’s why it’s imperative to assemble a weekly or monthly report to gather your findings, and then discuss with other stakeholders how you can further hone your internal communications plan.
The great thing about putting together an internal communications plan is that it’s always going to be in flux. Naturally, unexpected things will come up, and you’ll have to address them, which means your plan might change. But if you anticipate these in your plan, you’re good to go.