Internal communications

An oft-repeated phrase in internal communications is “preaching to the choir.” The implication is that your internal audiences have already bought into the organization’s mission, vision, values, etc. While that might be true in some cases, often your internal audience is only slightly more attuned to what’s going on than your external audiences.

This perception that everyone knows what’s going on and has bought into it already is dangerous and problematic. Most organizations have no internal communications plan, processes, or guidelines. A monthly or quarterly e-mail from a director or CEO is supposed to suffice, because the people who really matter are all outside your walls, right?

Internal communications is such a vital aspect of marketing that we hesitate to make a distinction between it and external communications. A few years back, at a social media conference, a speaker boldly predicted that it wouldn’t be long before there wasn’t “social” media or “traditional” media — it would all just be media. We haven’t quite seen that happen yet, but we’re getting closer. Really, there isn’t external and internal — there’s just communication.

Internal communications is such a vital aspect of marketing that we hesitate to make a distinction between it and external communications.

Internal Audiences

Even within an organization, there are discrete audiences. And just like external audiences, they don’t necessarily act or consume information in similar ways. Breaking them into groups is useful and practical, and indicates respect for people’s time by trying to deliver relevant information to the right audiences.

If internal communications is part of your job, consider going through a similar planning process as you would for communicating externally. You may have an advantage being able to distribute information to some sort of mail/distribution list, but we all get too much e-mail and key information can fall by the wayside. Also, if you include design in an e-mail (even if it’s just a photo inserted), you need to think about your recipients who use plain-text e-mail and won’t see it (and won’t open the attachment).