Internal Communications 101

By Posted in - Internal Communications on February 1st, 2012 1 Comments

While media relations and social media are a large part of our responsibilities as public relations professionals, it’s not uncommon for us to help our clients turn the mirror on themselves for a change.

Whether we help a brand communicate to its internal staff through a memo, regular newsletter, training or another outlet, we have the opportunity to bring an outside perspective to the table. Our clients rely on us to share stories with their team, and we often do better than they are able to themselves.

If you’re challenged with helping a company communicate a message internally, here are a few guidelines I’ve learned along the way:

  • Immerse yourself. If possible, spend time in your client’s office. Learn their culture – quirks and all. You’ll need to know their business inside and out before you communicate on their behalf.
  • Know what needs to be said. While it might go without saying, fully understand what your client is trying to accomplish by sharing this particular message. Ask as many questions as you can, and find out who the experts are.
  • Put on your journalist cap. Pretend you’re the editor for a change, and interview the appropriate sources to find out all you can on the topic or issue (and take lots of notes!).
  • Understand your audience. Who will be reading or listening to the message? Are they senior staff members? Or does the audience represent variety of departments – from accounting to engineering? Tailor the message and your language to who will be receiving it.

These are a few down-and-dirty guidelines that apply across a wide variety of tactics and opportunities – and you probably see similarities between internal and external communications best practices.

It’s important to remember that PR isn’t all Facebook and media pitching. We are communication experts, and that often means helping our clients tell their stories to their own teams.

PR professionals: what suggestions would you add to this list? Let’s hear about your own experiences with internal communication.

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  • Kim Banks -

    February 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Well said, Caitlin!

    Maybe another thing to add would be to ask, “How will this message, memo or newsletter help the reader do their job better, be proud of their company or make them feel like a valuable member of the team?”

    In order to communicate effectively, we also need to know what reaction or action we want from team members.

    Very nice post.

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