7 Time-Savers for Internal Communicators
When your every day internal communications job begins to feel more like crisis comms, your department needs to start focusing on time-saving tools and tactics.
I don’t have to tell you that internal communications positions are exhausting. I know communicators who’ve had one to two colleagues hospitalized for exhaustion due to working 70+ hours a week. Even if you or your team members haven’t been affected this drastically, it’s apparent that internal communicators’ are stretched for their time and resources.
You signed on for a 40 hour a week position, and these time-saving tips will help you keep it that way while optimizing your workflows.
1. Create and maintain your Internal Communications content calendar
If every day feels like you’re in crisis comms, then you’re not being the best communicator you can be. It’s not your fault, supporting roles in large organizations are often underfunded and overworked.
While a content calendar may be basic, it’s a staple. Start by planning out what you can control: annual company events, annual surveys and reporting, holidays, industry observances, award submissions, and quarterly musts. Once you have those in place, think about the communications you would need to be approved. A C-suite holiday message, for example, and give yourself ample approval time.
Then, connect with collaborating departments on their campaigns, such as an HR employee health initiative, and ask for tentative dates. Set up a quick meeting with your department’s point person a week before their campaign launches to ensure that things run smoothly.
It’s time to add all of the reoccurring events and materials that your internal comms department is responsible for. This includes your newsletters, town halls, any collateral, or even a quarterly video update from the CEO.
Make sure that you share your calendar internally to be transparent and show the amount of valuable work that you do. Show your higher-ups that you’re a strategic communicator with a well thought out plan, not just an order taker.
2. Let your previous content dictate your future topics
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s quite corny but rings true. Ok, I can’t help it, I love a good proverbial saying and idiom.
If your employees love reading spotlights or updating themselves about local volunteer opportunities, don’t stop giving them what they love. Your past content should inform your calendar, cutting back on content topic generation time.
Make sure that you’re monitoring your stats regularly and comparing topics, headlines, and audience interests to make stronger, data-driven decisions. If you feel like you’ve generated too many similar pieces, our platform provides content opportunities to fill in the gaps of your employees’ interests.
3. Create and design templates for standard communication types
Beautiful, responsive email templates are any communicator’s bread and butter. Not only do they save time during the content creation period, but they keep your branding consistent.
There are a few formatting styles that you should keep in mind when building email templates.
Using an internal communications platform with pre-made templates is a great daily time-saver. If you’re not a fan of what’s readily available, make sure that they have an easy-to-use editor. You shouldn’t have to waste a whole workday putting together one email. You have too much going on already.
If neither of these work for your team, it looks like you’ll be going with the classic HTML approach. Assuming that a team member can build an HTML template, make sure that you plan a quarterly check-in to update and create more templates for different use cases.
4. Establish comms champions and collaborators in each department
Simplifying the submission process for department collaborations will condense your approval time. You can increase your collaborative content turnover by establishing parameters and utilizing different admin levels.
When outlining your submissions process, make sure the author asks themselves, “Will this piece make an impact on my organization?” If it’s fluff without purpose, you probably don’t want to include it.
Require your contributors to include classic 5 Ws and H elements to a story: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. This rule is something you learned in school, but to peers who do not write for a living, this practice is not a given.
If you use a content management platform, giving your comms champions an admin account simplifies the editing process and centralizes everything. Our clients avoid never-ending email campaigns by establishing them as Authors, which allows the writer to create and submit their content. Our internal communicators can approve their work with a read-over and a simple click!
5. Loosen your deadlines with personalized delivery times
Not every message you send will be time-sensitive. Yes, you want to meet your calendar deadlines, but it shouldn’t be life or death if you didn’t get a piece out about new cafeteria options the second it popped-up in your inbox.
You don’t have to scramble to send out casual updates, save some time by approving them as they come up.
Ditch the hard deadlines, have your employees choose their delivery date and time. With personalized delivery times, your employees chose their delivery frequency. The 20 or so updates and news sent out monthly can be condensed into two newsletters. Not every one of your comms requires immediate notifications, and by condensing their emails, employees are more likely to be excited to hear from you.
6. Generating buy-in outside of your department
To save time on future projects, you need to invest time in building relationships outside of your department. I know it’s frustrating after working hard on a proposal, only to have it shot down by another department.
It’s important to remember that common departments IC collaborate with (Marketing, IT, HR) also feel as though they’re drowning. Having someone drop another hour-long meeting on your calendar to something that will not provide immediate value to your team can be annoying.
Speed up your initiative timelines by getting to know your point people and showing them that your visions align with one another.
If you’d like to read more about this, I’ve written a piece specifically on working with your IT department with a disclosed source from Cerkl’s tech team.
7. Simplify your efforts with cross-channel communications
What if you had one platform to approve content from your site, intranet, and contributors, that would distribute to your intranet, email newsletter, and mobile app without your employees seeing the same thing 100 times?
Using your different RSS feeds, Cerkl grabs all of the content you’re already creating and streamlines the distribution process. There’s no need for your team to double their efforts.
Find out how Cerkl can save you and your department up to 40 hours of content creation a month.