How to build an internal communications strategy that shows your value

By Darian Mavandad
March 30, 2022
5 min read
Woman using sticky notes to create an internal communications strategy

Being reactive in your internal comms is a bit like being Will Smith at the Oscars—you’ll be scrambling to make up for mistakes later and no one will really take your messaging seriously.

No one wants to think their organization’s internal comms are haphazard or poorly planned—so don’t let them be! Having an active and well thought out internal communications strategy can help you not only save time to accomplish your other duties (we know a lot of you are marketing, HR, or IT folks who also own internal comms off the side of your desk), but also increase employee engagement, create a better employee experience, and show the value that your internal comms brings to your organization. And at IC, we believe that a happy culture is a thriving culture.

There are 4 things to keep in mind when building an internal comms strategy:

  1. Where? (Where is your audience going to see the message? Push? Pull? On which channel?)
  2. Who? (Who is the message for?)
  3. When? (When do you want your message to go live?)
  4. What? (What is the crux of the message you want to get across?)

Let’s keep these in mind as we move through the steps of building an absolutely stellar internal communications strategy!

Step 1: Start with the foundation

Any solid building needs a good foundation, and the same goes to your internal communications strategy. How do your internal comms look currently? Start with an analysis of everything that has happened up until this point. If you had a previous plan (and it’s okay if you didn’t!), how close were you to achieving the goals you set in that plan? What were the biggest successes and pitfalls of your internal communications? Running this post-mortem analysis will help you shape your strategy for tomorrow!

Step 2: Set key goals and performance indicators

Woman sets KPIs for her internal communications strategy.

After doing an analysis of how your current internal communications are performing, the next step in your communications strategy is setting some realistic and achievable goals for what you hope to accomplish in your internal comms. Do you want to increase open rates? Click rates? Intranet visits per day? Make sure you have the tools to measure your goals properly. Good internal comms software will make all this easy, as IC’s solutions do.

Step 3: Decide how you want your organization to interact with your internal comms

What channel will your message reach its audience? To make an educated and informed decision about channels, perform an analysis on which channels currently get the most engagement. Does your team respond best to messages on Teams? Then focus on that channel!

But not all messages need to be pushed to your audience! Your internal comms should be more than just a series of pings, so utilize your intranet and post messages there. This not only gives your employees a break from all the notifications, but it also helps reinforce that your intranet is your single source of truth. Of course, knowing exactly what types of messages should be pushed, and what types should pull employees back into channels to check for information themselves is a strategy of its own, and this blog will help you figure out exactly how to balance those types of communications.

IC’s intranet solution is unique in that it features a multi-channel messaging tool, so that you can reach your audiences on their preferred channels. For example, if one team member prefers Slack, another prefers SMS, and yet another prefers email, you can ensure that the same message is pushed to each employee exactly where they’re most likely to look.

Tip: this is especially useful in moments of crisis.

Step 4: Segment your audience in your internal comms strategy

A key part of your internal communications strategy should be choosing which audiences need to see which messages. When laying out the groundwork for your strategy, continuously ask yourself “who does this message benefit the most”. If it’s very relevant to only one group (e.g., board members), ask yourself if it’s necessary for the entire company to have to see it. With good internal comms software, and a laid-out strategy, you should segment your audiences so that messaging is targeted to the people who most need to see it.

Creating groups based on departments, teams, and hierarchy can help you organize your internal comms, and ensure that your measurables are not affected by disengagement due to irrelevancy. The more targeted your internal communications become, the more engaged your audiences will be, and the easier it will be to reach the goals you set for yourself from the get-go.

Step 5: Use an internal communications calendar to organize your strategy

Woman creates an internal communications calendar using IC's free tool on her computer.

Now that you have your strategy laid out, it’s important to stick to it. To make sure you never forget a key message, use an internal communications calendar to map out exactly when each internal comms campaign goes live, to who, and where. After taking the time to strategize your goals, your audiences, your channels, you owe it to yourself to stick to it.

Tip: check out IC’s free internal comms calendar template here!

Step 6: Evaluate, review, and recalibrate

Set key dates in your internal communications strategy so you know exactly when to evaluate and review your campaigns. Compare your current numbers to the goals you set. Are you on track? If not, what should you change? You do not want to be left scrambling for why you did not reach your goals 15 minutes before a presentation with your manager, so make sure you are constantly checking in and adjusting your strategy as you go!

Want some help with your internal communications strategy?

At IC, we don’t just provide state-of-the-art software to internal communicators, we also provide best practices, guides, and tips. If you want to start building your internal comms strategy (and we guess you do since you’ve read this), check out our free template designed to make your life easier.

And if you want software that can measure analytics, segment audiences, and so much more—book your free demo here and see IC’s software in action! We wish you all the success in your internal comms!

By Darian Mavandad

Darian has a degree from McGill University, and joined IC to empower internal communicators by creating content that inspires. In his free time, he loves traveling, reading, and skiing.