Align your internal and external communications

Which of the following scenarios is best?

Your company announces an innovative partnership with a major brand – the press release goes out, and the newspapers are engaged. The BBC website mentions your initiative within its business section.

From which of the following routes might your colleagues discover the news?

  1. Your website’s home page;
  2. The BBC;
  3. The newspapers (tomorrow / next week);
  4. A link on your intranet to your website’s news;
  5. An intranet story (the press release);
  6. An intranet story (custom written for employees).

Which comes first? The internal intranet story, or the external press release / content marketing?

If we’re frank, the purpose of a press release is to catch the interest of journalists or publishers and give them something they can easily edit or readily publish. The original press release might not be all that interesting to consumers and employees – press releases can feel a bit formulaic.

If the marketing and internal comms teams are well aligned, it may be that employees can be provided with details days before the press release is published. This shouldn’t be seen as breaking the ‘embargo’, but rather as good, normal internal communications and employee engagement.

In the example scenario, the partnership would have legal caveats involved, meaning that details could not be released, even internally, beyond those who need to know. But once the agreement has been reached, staff should be informed, and the ‘innovative initiative’ explained. This could be done through several internal news stories and blogs from the project leaders.

The project leaders might want to focus on the marketing value of their initiative, and the announcement, so the internal comms team might not even hear about the project until the press release is published. This seems backwards, and shows a disconnect within the organisation’s culture.

Employees can be your brand ambassadors if they have marketing campaign details and the permission to share. If the marketing and comms teams had good inter-team communications, they could each find more and better stories to share, and work together to create more impact with little extra effort.