There’s a reason organizations have internal marketing departments: marketing takes time. Whether it’s the company newsletter, internal site or other communications form you use, it requires planning and execution.
Marketing also imposes a specific focus on the organization, product and audience. Internally, your audience is your employees. Your product is your business.
And with internal marketing comes more than one focus and audience. Are you focused on your current employees? Do you have separate marketing campaigns to attract new employees? Do you have areas such as health and wellness, safety, employee programs, volunteer activities and others that require additional attention?
Even in large organizations with in-house marketing departments, many employees still find themselves in the position to contribute to the internal marketing efforts. Their plate is full with external tasks already, so the internal aspect is pushed to the side. In smaller organizations, the marketing responsibility is on top of the shoulders of marketing and community relations personnel, so the internal portion, again, is at the bottom of the priority list. (By the way – all good reasons to hire independent contractors to carry the load, in case you were wondering.)
You recognize the internal marketing is important, but how do you balance this with other priorities? What can you do to make your internal marketing effective? And are there ways to manage your time and give an equal balance to all departments that require this kind of marketing?
There is. Develop a routine with these 5 steps:
1. Create an editorial calendar
A lot of the internal marketing and various departments that need such will remain pretty consistent. If your company attends specific events or training sessions, helps non-profit organizations in the community on a yearly basis, or departments focus on a particular need, then you can plan. Mark these items on an editorial calendar to give yourself time to prepare and determine what internal marketing can do to highlight these areas. And instead of retelling the same story each year, think about what you can do that will be different. Would a personal employee story add flavor? Would videos be a new twist? Planning gives you a chance to spread the word of what you’re looking for and time for employees to share their thoughts.
Fill a room with people not necessarily in your marketing department to get different perspectives. You never know when a great idea will appear or from what department. Don’t knock down the ideas – ever – or they’ll never come back to you.
2. Jot down ideas
We’ve all had this happen: we’re driving along and for whatever reason, this amazing marketing idea pops into our head. Except we’re driving and can’t really do anything about it. Pull over, if you can, and write it down. If you’re like me, I’ll instantly forget it. The key is to write down your concepts, even if they might not make sense at the time. Include what made you consider the idea – a news article, a photo, a conversation – and what you’re thinking in that moment of where you’d like to take the idea. Provide as much information as you can because guaranteed six months later, you’ll forget why you came up with that crazy flash of genius in the first place.
You don’t have to have a fancy spreadsheet – although it’s nice to stay organized – but a folder will suffice. Keep post-it notes at your desk and a small notebook in your pocket for those just-in-case moments of brilliance (because no one will believe you were that brilliant without evidence!). Use a napkin or the back of your business card if you have nothing else. That great marketing thought might be just what you need at some point.
3. Make a simple schedule
This is important: make a schedule and keep it simple. After you have your editorial calendar, make notes in your calendar of when you’re going to begin each project and the deadline.
When you schedule, don’t cram a lot in at once. In other words, it would be nice to spend two hours getting started, but you’ve set yourself up for trouble if you get a phone call or have to handle an employee issue or you have the news media on the phone with something more pressing. Schedule 15 minutes to start if that’s best. Schedule another 15 minutes the next day for further focus. Schedule time for research, including phone calls and emails.
Schedule time for drafts and meetings. Schedule deadlines. Stick to the schedule without phone, email or personnel interruptions.
And schedule the execution date.
Many of us have been overwhelmed at times. You have good motives to complete a particular marketing piece, but something pressing stood in your way and set you back. Your deadline is approaching. You’ve been consistent for many months, but you’re not sure if you can make it this time.
Ask for help. Don’t tell yourself you’re the only one that can do this. Or that everyone is too busy to help. You’re busy too, which is why you are on a “team.” Know your team’s strengths and use them. You’re not asking anyone to take over, but you can’t do it alone. Get feedback, too. Ask if there’s a task individuals would like to take on. Figure out what you need specifically, and ask if anyone would like to do what’s on that list.
But what’s important is that you need to delegate. Everyone can contribute bits and pieces to create the whole picture for a smooth end result. And they’ll appreciate that their input and contribution was valued.
5. Edit and execute
If you wait for the “perfect” moment, the “perfect” project or the “perfect” words, your marketing will never see the light of day. Always keep this in mind: you cannot achieve perfection.
Once you’ve gone through your initial steps – you’ve created the project and the outline, and developed a rough draft, whether copy or video – have it edited and reviewed. Pass it around, solicit feedback and get your final copy done.
Then execute. If you don’t execute, what was the point? You’ve had feedback, it’s good material and it will serve its ultimate purpose. Put it out there for everyone else to see. Let your “baby” go.
All of the above will eventually become a routine if you stick to it. If you fall out of it, simply get back in. The idea of planning, scheduling and delegating is to make things happen.
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