Do you repurpose your internal communication?
How do you make your IC channels work collectively well together?
These are some of the topics I’ve examined in this week’s episode of the Candid Comms podcast.
This episode includes:
- What does repurposing mean?
- What type of content can be repurposed?
- What mindset is useful when creating content?
- What are the benefits of repurposing
- Mistakes and pitfalls to avoid
and much more.
Do let me know what you think of this episode and don’t forget to rate, review and follow, so other Comms pros can benefit too.
Resources mentioned in this show
What is the podcast?
The Candid Comms podcast launched in January 2021. It is a weekly show designed to connect internal communication professionals to the advice and guidance, to help you thrive in your role.
The show is Produced by Debbie West of Seren Creative.
Transcript of this week’s show
You’re listening to the Candid Comms Podcast with Rachel Miller. Join me very week for practical advice and inspirational ideas to help you focus on all things internal communication related. Hello, and welcome to the show. On this week’s episode, you and I are going to be focusing on re-purposing our internal communication. And as ever, you will leave with one thing to know, one thing to do and one thing to think about. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Let’s start this week’s episode by being really clear what we mean when we think about repurposing. So when I talk about repurposing content in an organisation, what I’m looking for here comms friends is what are the opportunities to really maximise my internal communication channels and content? So what I’m looking for is how can I use or reuse certain content?
Now it’s important here, just to be super clear, this isn’t about taking the same information and peppering it across multiple channels. That’s not what we want because feedback from employees, normally in those sorts of situations is, “Well, I’ve already read this content in an email newsletter, I’ve already read it on the intranet, therefore, this isn’t for me. I’ve already seen this,” and they just switch off.
When you do that, when you just repeat the same content across multiple channels, I find that the quality goes down and I find this when I audit internal communication inside organisations or my team audit internal comms, is we find the feedback from employees is, “I’ve already seen this content elsewhere,” and it just turns them off, it switches them off from it.
So what I encourage you to know today is who the different groups when it comes to your internal communication.
So who are your audience groups or your employee groups? I’m not a fan of the word audience because it implies a performance, which is not what we want when it comes to internal communication. We want to be having conversations in two way channels, going from monologue to dialogue inside organisations.
Now the best way I find of really drilling down in terms of the type of content we have and the type of people we have is to get really clear. So something I want you to know today is if you and I were having a conversation today and I asked you about your audience, your employee groups, what would you say? What do you know about those people? Very often comms friends, we fall into the trap of needs versus wants.
So when you’re thinking about internal communication content, very typically inside organisations, we ask our colleagues, “What information do you want?” And if you ask what information they want, they normally answer on a very channels based conversation. So they will typically say things like, “I want an app,” or, “I want to be able to access this content on this device,” or, “I think I want more posters,” for example.
And then six months or 12 months later when you’re asking them again, they’ll probably say, “We can’t move for apps and posters.” Because the problem that you’re solving is their wants. The question we need to ask is need, so what information do you need to help you do your job? I ask that question when I audit organisations, that’s one of the questions that my team and I ask, is what access do you need, what content do you need to help you do your job?
Then you can make really informed decisions based on content and based on channels. Because if we’re simply talking the language of want, we’re not drilling down into what our people need. So just thinking that through in terms of your organisation, what do you know about your people and their needs?
If you have an intranet, for example, for whatever reason, you know that your frontline workers cannot access that content.
They either don’t have an email address or they don’t have company devices, or you don’t have a mechanism to extract the information currently from your intranet, what’s the impact?
What do you think those particular workers need from the content that’s on your intranet? So if you were to do that as an exercise, and I encourage you to do that, if you’re out and about in the moment having a run, walking the dog, walking around a supermarket, come back to this point in this episode.
Think about your employees and what you know about them when it comes to content. So what information do they need to help them do their jobs? Is it the latest sales figures? Is it the latest blurb of your products and services and how they’re selling them externally to your customers, for example, your clients? What do they need to have at their fingertips?
And then think about your channels, and we’ll go into this in a moment, something I want you to do. But just sticking with know for right now, what you need to know is breaking down those groups of employees. So you might decide to do personas, for example, where be cautious with this comms friends, employee personas can be super useful.
So you’re taking a frontline worker for example, and you’re looking at what information do they need to help them do their job and where do they get that from? Where do they get it from now and where are the opportunities, where are the gaps?
And the reason I say we need to be careful is, done well, employee personas be super useful. Done badly, they can be so generic that they’re not useful to anybody. So top tip from me to you, if you are using employee personas so you’re creating a caricature if you like, we don’t have to do a caricature, but you could do, but you’re creating a persona around a certain type of employee, then what are their preferences?
This is the language of needs here. What are their preferences when it comes to your channels? What do they need and what do they want? How do they access content currently? These sorts of questions are important to know. So top tip from me is get to know people who actually fulfill those personas.
So if you’ve mapped out all of your different types of colleagues, and this is an exercise that actually is in one of my online master classes, which is the internal communicator’s guide to hybrid working, which is helping guide internal communicators through the future of work and ways of working and culture is available at allthingsic.thinkific.com. The personas exercise is one of the modules within that course.
And in particular, what it’s encouraging you to do is to map out the different kinds of employees that you have, and then make sure that you know people who are those personas. You have people who are frontline, or you have people who are homeworkers or you have people who are in head office and management level, for example, to bring those personas to life. So don’t make assumptions, test this with your colleagues.
Ask your employees, is this accurate? Does it make sense? What have I missed? Questions like this are always brilliant to ask as internal communicators. So the second thing for us to focus on today, if we’ve mapped out that audience, if we’ve looked at our demographics and we’ve looked at who do we have inside our organization and what are their needs and wants when it comes to content, for example, then what I want you to do is dig out your channels matrix if you have one.
If you don’t have one, I’m going to encourage you to listen back to a show in season one about channels where I talked you through how to create a channels matrix. And I’ve linked that in the show notes at allthingsic.com/podcast. But look at your channels matrix and think about the opportunities you can have to repurpose your content.
So imagine that you and I have just done a virtual town hall and you have videos of your leaders, either from a conversation that you recorded live of them or a prerecorded content of your leaders where they were talking about the latest financial results, the latest feedback from customers and how you’re doing in the market, for example and you’ve got some excellent content now, really rich content, really great ideas and energy and enthusiasm from your leaders.
Now, if your colleagues were on that call, then they would have seen it, hopefully they would have heard it, they would have understood it and hopefully been really infused by it. But what about your employees who weren’t on that call, who are on shift patterns or they’re not in front of devices so therefore couldn’t dial in and join live?
What do you do with that content?
Now you and I know whenever you put anything like this together, the time, money and effort that we invest in creating these sorts of events is pretty vast. So how can you make the most of that content? And this is where your repurposing comes in. So consider this. Could you strip out the audio from the videos and turn it into audio files or podcasts, for example?
When you’re recording your leaders, if they say certain things that you think are really useful and evergreen, so in other words, they don’t date, how could you then repurpose that for an end of year video, for example, or an end of quarter video? So as you are going, make a note and trust me, your future self will thank you for this, make a note of the sort of content that you’re creating and curating inside your organization and just bank it in terms of this will be really useful in future.
So either strip out audio, turn it into podcast, or maybe you can create some posters from the content that has been created through the town hall, for example. Could you perhaps create an infographic from the data that was shared during that video and turn it into a really visual poster, which could then maybe be put in your depot areas or the areas where your colleagues go further west areas? Think about that.
How can you really repurpose that content?
So if you know that your frontline workers will not get a chance to see the content in that town hall but you don’t want them to miss out because it was really inspiring or really super useful and valuable, how can you repurpose that content? So when you’re looking at your channels matrix, what I want you to do today comms friends is look how you can join the dots between them.
So don’t just think about your channels as individual channels, think about how well they can collectively work together.
Now, this is often missing. Think about your channels in a channels strategy mindset. So you have all of your individual channels, but where are those golden threads between them? How could you share across the channels? There’s a top tip for you. One thing that I really like to do within an organisation when I’m looking at a set of channels is I want to see how I can sign post between them.
So it’s not about repeating the same content over and over again, but it might be in my email newsletter, for example, I might say, “On our inspo social network, so on Yammer or on Workplace this week, you will find X, Y, Z.” Short, sharp, glanceable content. Do not be tempted to repeat the same information over and over again. Also I want to share with you the importance of ring fencing your channels for their intended purpose.
So when you’re looking at your channels and you feel super clear about this particular channel is the go-to place for X, Y, Z, brilliant. Don’t be tempted to overload successful channels with information that you think your colleagues should have read elsewhere that they haven’t done. So when you’re thinking about re-purposing content, be really clear, how does this content fit within the purpose of all of my particular channels, does it muddy the water?
The best way to check this is to ask your colleagues, is that check for understanding whether you have an editorial board or an employee forum or an eyes and ears group or a comms champions, ask for feedback. So if you’re making tweaks and changes to your channels because you’re trying to make them work collectively well together, maybe you’re trying to retire a certain one, or wean colleagues off a certain channel, or maybe you’re trying to really maximise what you’ve got, is that working?
It might be feeling from your perspective that it’s working, but is it resonating for your employees? Do check with them. I wonder whether you are repurposing the content inside your organisation already. What does that look like for you? Another example for me when you can think about repurposing is think about all the content opportunities that you have inside your organisation, and this isn’t just from us.
So one of the roles of an internal communicator is not only to create content but to curate it. That is such an important role for us. I think I’ve shared with you before through this podcast how I wrote on my blog back in 2012, on the All Things IC blog how I saw our roles shifting from content creators to content curators and I got quite a bit pushback.
Fast forward eight years and the profession map from the Institute of Internal Communication has got as one of those core six areas in the middle, the need for us to create and curate internal communication.
That curation piece is really important because it’s not just us, it’s peer to peer employee generated content that’s happening inside our organisations. So how can you make sure you repurpose that?
So how can you make sure that you use it in the very best way? Harness all that energy, harness all those great, rich stories and storytelling from your employees. How can you spread it across the organisation in a way that feels right?
Something I’m going to leave you with before we take a short break is thinking about employer brand, that’s your reputation and promise as an employer.
Now I find this is a really great opportunity for us to think about repurposing content. Because if you look at your recruitment site, for example, or your job adverts, what do you say about the organisation? And then think about when people come into your organization and maybe you’re onboarding them or inducting them, what do you say then?
I am certain comms friends, that you will have some amazing content from inside your organisation that you can repurpose for those two different places, employees before they come in and employees when they come in. And all of that is your reputation and promise as an employer. If you say, for example, that you have amazing values and you talk about your ethos of your organisation and how you nurture and guide your employees and how they’re so important to you, where’s your evidence?
It’s probably locked away in stories that you shared through your internal communication. So think about how you could repurpose that for your advocacy schemes or for your recruitment schemes. I’m certain you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You will have a rich variety of content that you can draw on and curate to help you focus on your employer brand. We are going to take a short break and when we come back, I’m going to leave you with something to think about. See you in a moment.
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Welcome back. In the final part of today’s episode on repurposing our internal communication content, I’m going to share something for you to think about, and it’s this. When you are planning your internal communication, think about how else you can use the content that you’re going to be creating. So when you’re creating a brief, for example.
So a brief is when you’re having normally a chunky paragraph with this is what we’re planning to do, this is the intention behind it. So let’s think of an example. Maybe we want to create a video featuring your chief executive. And we know it’s going to be a very informal piece to camera. We know they’re going to be outside, we know it’s going to be really interesting for our employees, for example, and there’s a clearly defined purpose there.
So the purpose of this video is they are talking about our financial results in the last six months and looking ahead to the next six months of the year, for example. Why not think about what else you could get them to record while you’re set up? So if you’re already looking back and looking ahead, what else is going to be coming up in the next six years months that you could encourage them to film at the same time?
So really what we’re doing here, comms friends, is we’re repurposing our CEO’s time if you like. So for example, if you have new joiners and maybe you do a weekly message, or you do a monthly message for your new starters, why not about getting your CEO to record a welcome message for those colleagues at the same time while you’ve got them recording a video about your financial results? Or maybe you’ve got some awards coming up or recognition coming up or there’s a certain day coming up, make the most of their time and make the most of your time.
So this is not necessarily just repurposing the content, but creating opportunities while you’ve got them, while you’ve got that camera rolling, how can you maximise that? Now, if you’re super organised comms friends, and I know that you are, you could encourage your CEO to have different outfits as well. So while you’re making the most of having them on camera, I mean, you and I probably would notice details like that more than anybody else if they happen to be wearing the same outfit, but let’s just set that aside for a moment.
Why not make the most of this opportunity and get them to have a couple of different outfits, couple of different tops, or depending who they are and how they dress, a different scarf or a different tie or whatever it looks like to give you the opportunity of the illusion, if you like, of multiple videos. Actually, you and I know that it’s a one session of filming, but we’re maximising their time and we’re maximising our time.
So I encourage you to think ahead. Always think about your brief in terms of what’s the purpose of this session that we’re going to be doing and how can I really push it, stretch it, maximise it to make the most of this content? I’m going to share a recommendation with you and it’s for a podcast series that I really like, and it’s a lady called Amy Woods, who I met a few years back with both parts of the Youpreneur community.
And Amy is the queen of repurposing. So she runs Content 10X, which is how can you take your content and 10X it or maximise it to the power of 10, to 10 times it. And she’s brilliant at that. So she looks at if you have a podcast, for example, how can you take podcast content and repurpose it into a blog post? Or if you have blog post content, how can you repurpose it into an infographic? Or if you have an infographic, how can you… I mean, the list is endless, right?
So Amy Woods is a brilliant person, and so follow her online if you’re interested in learning more about re-purposing. In my mind, she is the queen of re-purposing and she’s written a great book on it.
I’m curious to know what you do. Do you repurpose content at the moment? And if not, if it’s not something that you’ve thought about before, could you?
I wonder what’s top of mind for you as you’ve been listening to this podcast today. Is this a topic that you’ve thought about before? Is it something that you’ve totally nailed? If so, brilliant I would love to hear from you. If you are an in-house internal communicator and you have a great repurposing content story that you would love to share with your peers, why not write for my blog?
You can get in touch with me at allthingsic.com/contact and you’d be very welcome to get in touch and tell me what you’re doing and offer to write a guest post, to share your wisdom with your other comms friends. I know for certain that we’d love to hear from you. So I hope you found this episode useful to help you think about repurposing.
If you’re still not quite sure what repurposing is or what it could be for your organisation, take a step back and look objectively at all of the content that you have inside your organisation and think about, did I miss a trick with this particular video? Could I have repurposed it and used the audio? Or if you have an audio file that you’ve created, could you repurpose that somewhere else?
Just take a step back and be super objective. Look at your channels through fresh eyes in terms of how can I make them work collectively well together?
And I’m going to repeat what I said right at the start comms friends. This isn’t about sharing the same information over and over and over again, because then the quality goes down. It’s about re-imagining, reusing, re-inspiring, hopefully, our colleagues by being mindful and intentional about the content that we’re using inside of organisation, both from us as internal communicators from our leaders and employee generated content.
Post author: Rachel Miller
First published on the All Things IC blog 18 July 2021.