Improve your internal comms

8 killer writing tips that will improve your internal comms

It can be easy for internal comms to become dry and boring if you don’t take the time to craft the perfect article. We know it can be tough to keep engagement alive when you have a thousand things on your to-do list. But it’s essential that you keep your readers interested. This is why we’ve created a list of our favorite writing tips to help you keep your comms sharp, focused and interesting. We tell you why your posts may be disinteresting to your audience and what you can easily do to change this.

#1 Have a clear call to action in your posts

Behind every post, there should be a compelling reason as to why your employees should care or what they should do. If it doesn’t then is there really any point in writing about it? You need to give your workforce clear instructions about what they should do next.

For example, if you are telling employees about your new strategy and vision. Don’t just tell them about it, have a learning module ready for them to brush up on their knowledge and remember everything that you’ve said.

Maybe you’re telling them about a company firework night, direct them to the page where they can get their tickets, or to a page where they can look up how to get to the event.

Or perhaps you are telling them about a new recycling scheme you have going on at work, don’t just tell them about it. Ask them to share what they’ve recycled on a group chat or announce a competition for the region who has recycled the most etc. Always have a clear call to action so that your posts are actually useful and actionable.

#2 Forget everything that you’ve learnt in your English lessons

Internal comms throws the rulebook out of the window. It’s more about breaking the rules and writing in a way that excites and engages your readers rather than just writing because it is grammatically correct.

At school you were probably taught to always have an ending summary, this isn’t necessary in internal comms because people don’t really care once they have read the important points.

You are also taught to always have a beginning, middle and end. Again this isn’t always necessary, especially when you’re writing something urgent or quick.

You were probably taught that a sentence should always be in a paragraph and never stand alone. In fact, stand alone sentences are great for making your copy clear and concise.

Perhaps you were advised to never use ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘because’ at the beginning of a sentence. If it fits and makes sense to have these words at the beginning of the sentence then go for it!

The less complex the words the better when it comes to internal comms. However, back in your school days you were probably told that your simple vocabulary was too colloquial. Forget this, and remember that complicated sounds clever to stupid people. Keep it simple, clear and concise.

#3 Remember the importance of punctuation!

A lot of people get into the habit of just slinging punctuation into their sentences without really giving it much thought. When used correctly it can give your copy a whole lot of meaning and make your message resonate with your audience a lot better. A full stop is your most powerful punctuation mark. Have a look at our example below.

Example 1

We would like to announce the opening of our Kensington factory, it has taken years of hard work but the day has finally come.

We would like to say a special thank you to everyone involved, it really wouldn’t have been possible without you.

It sounds a bit more casual, a bit like nothing that special is being said?

Example 2

We would like to announce the opening of our Kensington factory.

The factory opening has taken years of hard work but the day has finally come.

We would like to say a special thank you to everyone involved.

From the bottom of our heart it really wouldn’t have been possible without you.

This one sounds a lot more impactful and more like an important speech, wouldn’t you agree?

#4 Be a person not a brand

You probably hear this one bounded around a lot but a lot of internal comms really do lack personality. Because you are trying to be the voice of the whole company you can end up sounding robotic and bland. Always try to make your copy sound like you are chatting to your audience in person. Read your sentences out loud. If you wouldn’t say what you’ve written then you need to change it. Always try to sound friendly, warm and humble. Keep this in mind and you’re on the road to success.

#5 It’s not always about what you’re saying it’s the way that you’re saying it

You could be giving employees the most exciting bit of news but if you deliver it in a bland way then it’s going to lose its appeal. Equally, you could be giving the most boring news but if you deliver it in a great way then engaged people no matter what you are saying. A great way to do this is to always deliver your news in a way that is interesting and relevant to your employees.

For example, rather than saying “there have been changes to the annual absence policy please read the updated article.” You should say “We have now made it easier for you to select your time off, see the updated policy to find out how this affects you.” Or perhaps “there have been changes to your annual leave requests, see the updated policy to find out what you need to know to book your time off.” People don’t care that you have changed your policy they care about how it affects them!

Keep it converstaional and always look for the most interesting angle of what you are saying.

#6 Be current and topical

Try to link your updates to what’s going on in the real world. Rather than just broadcasting bog standard business updates try to stay relevant by making links to real-life events. These could be funny links, factual links or issues which could be affecting your employees.

For example if you are writing a comms article about people missing the deadline to read your health and safety policy you could say. “The UK have now missed two deadlines making us late to leave the EU, are you getting bored of hearing about Brexit? We know the feeling, please read your latest health and saftey policy and stick to the current deadlines that have been set.”

#7 Use opposites to reframe your copy

All internal comms professionals know how hard it is to grab the attention of busy employees. A great way to combat this is by using opposites to make your article stand out. You’ll make people stop and think about what your saying rather than just seeing yet another internal comms post.

This may sound odd, but hear us out. If you are talking about employee training, the usual post is about providing more training because there is more to learn. However, you could reframe this by saying you are providing more training so that they have less to learn in a one big chunk. Therefore you could switch your title around to say “Learn more by listening less.” This is especially true if you are deploying a microlearning solution where learners top up there knowledge in small bite sized chinks on the go.

#8 Think about what you are writing in the first paragraph

As they say you never get another chance to make a first impression. Remeber this when writing your comms, if you write a boring intro then you’ve lost your audience already. Try to adopt the who, what, where, why, when approach in the first paragraph of your article. Go for the most interesting angle and make it relevant to your audience, wrap all of this up in your intro to ensure that your audience carry on reading.

 

If you need help with your internal comms, and are looking for ways to better reach and engage with your employees then get in touch. Call us on 01273 778289, say hello at hi@oplift.io or fill in our contact form and we’ll get back to you right away. Our solution makes it easy to engage, train and motivate your workforce.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 9th September 2019