19 July 2018

4 tips for impactful change content

We know change is the new BAU, but in the face of this constant change, how do you maintain a regular stream of comms and keep the plan agile enough to react to change?

Here are our 4 top tips for creating a fool-proof change content strategy.

We all love the beginning stages of a campaign. Sussing out the audience types, plotting out which channels to use and deciding what to measure to meet our goals. But after the exciting, seamless launch, the day-to-day realities creep in and start to throw things off course. Market forces and changes in the operating landscape can cause shifts in the way businesses – and their employees – work. Company culture changes and new processes, mergers and acquisitions, even just moving the Finance team from one floor to the other – all of these scenarios can create an emotional upheaval and cause ripples across the business. Our neatly planned campaign starts to get a little… messy. So how can we keep that big-picture attitude, without losing sight of the daily changes that can influence your audience, and manage the tide of messages going out as a result? Here are four ways your content strategy can work harder and keep up the pace in a world of continuous change.

1. Use an agile content strategy model

A good content strategy looks at the long-term goals of the organisation. A great content strategy keeps that long view, and has built-in measures to respond to the short-term needs of the business. It’s both proactive and reactive. And as far as content strategy models go, you can’t get much more agile than The 3 Waves of Communication. Epic These are your big moments. The launch event, halfway through when your new external advert goes live, or when you want people to take the action it’s all been leading up to. It’s the brand refresh, acquisition announcement or new CEO introduction. Exciting, highly creative and experiential, these comms are the cornerstones of your strategy and need a good bit of planning to pull off. Tentpole Here are your focused, regular, mid-sized project updates. They work best when they fit with existing communications and campaigns – so book space in the next few issues of your employee magazine, or reserve a time slot at the next Senior Leaders event. Hooking onto planned comms like this helps join the dots between different campaigns for your employees, and has the added benefit of an already captive audience. Lovely. Drumbeat With the big stuff planned and the regular updates already taken care of, here’s where you can dedicate some serious resource. The key to your agile content strategy are these shorter, sharper updates that go out on an ad-hoc basis to capture all of those day-to-day changes – and show your audience that you’re on it. This wave is less about planning specific topics and messaging, and more about setting aside dedicated time to compose content based on what’s happening that day, week or month.

2. People are power – involve them!

Once your shiny new campaign is launched, you’re keen to make sure people are sticking to the rules, using the icons in the right colours and making sure they use the exact wording we’ve carefully crafted. It’s vital for the integrity of the brand and message. But what’s equally important is the fact your people are engaging with and embracing the campaign – even if they put the icons in the wrong corner of their team presentation, or spell a word incorrectly on their Workplace post*. Encourage this adoption, promote it and recruit champions from those willing to embrace your campaign. Not only will it help with managing that regular communications drumbeat, if you’re really lucky, it will also produce some fantastic personalised, localised content. And don’t forget to recognise or even reward those who get involved – they’ll be more likely to help in the future. *But feel free to send them the campaign guidelines, just in case.

3. Something changed? Check your measurement.

Now the campaign is in full swing, we’ll want to check how it’s going. This is why it’s vital to choose measurement criteria, methods and KPIs during your content planning process. What do we measure? Hard data, like health and safety stats or turnover percentages, are really insightful, but they don’t tell the whole story. Couple this information with softer measures like employee surveys and focus group insights to get a full picture of what’s happening, and why. And when do we measure? Three months in? Six? Annually? Depending on the length of your campaign, you’ll want to check in at regular intervals that fit with your (or your boss’) reporting needs. In periods of constant change, it’s helpful to measure as and when the unexpected occurs. You can begin to spot patterns and spikes in channel visits, observe how different messages and situations land with employees – and use all of this insight to adapt your content accordingly. Speaking of which…

4. Create microsites, not museums.

Like most businesses, you’re likely to have an internal site with all the need-to-know information about your campaign in one place. And, after investing lots of time and resource into building the perfect online campaign content hub, it’s natural to want to launch it, consider it complete and shift focus onto the next big project. All the information is correct at time of publishing; you’ve checked and double-checked facts with the relevant stakeholders and proofread it at least twice. It’s perfect. And for employees experiencing change on a near daily basis, it’s important they can access a trusted resource with all the right information. But here’s the thing: if the content stays the same too long, it will go out-of-date. And once your pages go stale, the clicks will go down – because your readers can no longer trust your site to be correct. So keep investing time. Updating, audit and curate your content based on the planned drumbeats, using regular insights from measurement and employee-generated content to keep it fresh, relevant and engaging. With these four tactics in place, your content strategy will be robust enough to see you through the lifetime of your campaign – whether it’s only six weeks long, or lasts for two years.

What now?

Want some help defining your content strategy, or need some support when it comes to audience segmentation? Our dedicated strategy team are on hand to keep your change comms strategy and plan alive and kicking. Get in touch here.

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