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How to create an internal communication strategy

Developing a strategy seems daunting, doesn’t it?


Even the word “strategy” sounds complicated. Surely it's something reserved only for the brightest business minds.


Don’t panic. It’s not that complicated. There is a logical flow and process to follow, and once you do that you can’t go too far wrong.


Today’s newsletter is a roadmap to help you navigate the fundamentals of how to create and structure an internal communication strategy.


By the end of this newsletter, you’ll understand the importance of starting in the right place - with a deep understanding of your organisation’s overall objectives.


Why an internal communication strategy matters

Think of an internal communication strategy as the foundation upon which all of your communication efforts are built. It serves as a compass, directing you towards your goals while keeping you aligned with your organisation’s overall mission.


Your internal communication strategy isn’t about ‘doing’ – it’s about ‘thinking.’


It’s about answering the ‘why’ and ‘what’ before diving into the ‘how.’


A well-crafted internal communication strategy will help you achieve results that matter to the business, positioning you as a credible and commercially-minded communications professional.


Understanding the flow: high-level to tactical

Picture your internal communication strategy as a waterfall – it starts high up in the mountains and gains momentum as it cascades downwards. Similarly, your strategy should follow a logical, sequential flow.


The biggest mistake I see communicators making is starting in the wrong place. People love to start by talking about communication tactics; newsletters, townhalls, employee apps.


Nope. Your starting point has nothing to do with communication AT ALL. (Yes, I said that.)


Your starting point is to understand your organisation’s overall business objectives.

  • Why does your organisation exist?

  • What is it trying to achieve?

  • How do it make money?

  • What are its key objectives?

This information creates the North Star guiding your internal communication strategy. Your role is to ensure that internal communication will help the organisation to deliver its strategy and meet these objectives.


Create an overall internal communication goal

Think about communication next. Create an overall internal communication goal that aligns with business objectives. This should make it clear how communication is a strategic lever in the organisation, positioned to deliver results that matter.


Set SMART objectives

Then you move into setting specific communication objectives. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). They should support the communications goal which in turn supports the overall business objectives.


It's only NOW that you can start thinking about tactics. These are the plans, actions, and methods you’ll use to achieve your objectives (aka the stuff you do or create).


The sequence is crucial

The key takeaway is this: start with the business strategy. I see loads of communication strategies with absolutely no link to the heart of the business. This is a recipe for disaster.


Think about what the business is trying to achieve and how you can help it to do that. If you get that bit right, you're setting yourself up for success.


A template for structuring your strategy

Want my tried-and-tested template to create an internal communication strategy? You can get it in my collection of internal communication templates, how-to guides and checklists which is available for download now: The Internal Comms Cheat Sheets.


 

Whenever you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:


  1. Consulting: I help organisations create effective systems of internal communication. This includes reviewing your current system of communication, developing an internal communication strategy, establishing internal communication functions and more.

  2. Coaching: I offer 1:1 coaching for a small number of clients to amplify your strategic abilities, gain confidence in your decision-making, improve your communication prowess and feel empowered to be creative at work. I offer 8 and 12 week coaching packages. You can also book a one-off 60 minute session here.

  3. Training: I run workshops on effective internal communication, measurement, AI in internal communication, newsletters, effective writing and other internal communication topics. Reply to this email to discuss an in-house training for your team or keep an eye on my training page for upcoming workshops.

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