From delivering timely company updates to getting employees engaged in the workplace, internal communications pros have a lot on their plates. Spending hours putting together a single email shouldn’t be an added chore. In this post, we’ll break down the top tools and techniques to streamline your internal communications.
Kate Kraley used to spend eight hours a week — a full workday — creating a single company newsletter.
As a marketing communications specialist for global manufacturer METTLER TOLEDO, she used Outlook, Mailchimp, and an HTML builder to produce each email. It didn’t take her long to realize that she needed to streamline communications for her company.
Then Kraley discovered ContactMonkey, which enabled her to work within a single tool to create her e-newsletter — and took her only half the time. “Once I started using ContactMonkey, I realized I was able to save 4 hours of work a week, which translated to 25 days saved per year,” she said.
Whether you’re creating internal email messages or sharing company newsletter ideas, finding ways to streamline communications will allow your team to save time and increase productivity.
We’ve outlined 6 ways you can streamline your internal communications and save hours in your daily schedule.
6 Ways to Streamline Your Internal Communications
Knowing how to streamline your internal communications is the first step to enhancing them.
When you save time on building, sending, and tracking your internal communications, you’ll have more time to cultivate your content. And great content is at the core of an effective internal communications strategy.
Here are 6 of our top tips and tricks to simplify and streamline your internal communications.
1. Establish a Submissions Process
There are a lot of stakeholders for internal newsletters.
Most businesses have at least five major departments — marketing, finance, operations, human resources, and IT — but many also have smaller departments nestled within these. The larger your organization, the more complicated and overwhelming collecting input can get.
Establishing an efficient and easy-to-follow process for anyone who wants to submit content for company messaging can help streamline communications.
It’s simple. Create a submissions form that asks employees to add their contact details and any time-sensitive information. Then, ask employees to include the standard “5 W’s and 1 H” of a story. That is: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Say the IT department submits information about upcoming training opportunities. You’ll want to ask them to include the training dates and any registration deadlines.
You may also want to designate specific people within a department to manage these submissions. To streamline this process, assign your designated team members author status within the CMS or email communications platform you use.
This way, you can speed up the content development process and save time not just for your team, but your organization as a whole.
2. Work from a Single Tool
Sixty-three percent of businesses spend more than an hour creating company newsletters, and 23% spend more than two hours on the task.
One reason the process can be so time-consuming is that it’s not uncommon for companies to use multiple programs — and even more than one email client — to send a single communication.
Let’s return to Kate Kraley. She used three different tools to produce a single employee newsletter. Meanwhile, Jessica Reyes, assistant director of communications at Widener University, was moving between Outlook and Mailchimp to build newsletters and add email addresses.
“We wanted a service like what [Contact Monkey has], an add-on to Outlook,” Reyes said. “We were looking to use the address lists we already had in Outlook, to send right from there.”
With ContactMonkey’s direct integration into your Outlook or Gmail, you can use existing email lists and send employees messages and newsletters from one place. This is why ContactMonkey is a great tool for your higher education communications.
3. Use Templates to Speed Up the Creation Process
It’s not out of the ordinary for communications managers to spend up to 100 hours a year creating templates and formatting newsletter content.
Save yourself this headache, and simplify your newsletter-development process by using a tool that makes layout and design a cinch.
Unless your internal communications team includes skilled email designers, you’ll need a tool that comes with pre-made email templates. And one that allows for easy customization.
That’s where ContactMonkey can help.
Say you send out several different types of internal communications, such as a weekly employee check-in, plus a monthly customer newsletter. With ContactMonkey, you can create templates for each different type. Then, simply plug in new text, photos, and links and have your message ready to send in record time.
You can also utilize the same templates for various mailings and adapt them for a specific audience.
With ContactMonkey, Emory University’s communications department uses the same template and simply adds or removes events based on the audience. For example, faculty were recently informed of a time-management webinar, while students were invited to an art event.
Working with several team members? ContactMonkey allows multiple users to work on a template simultaneously. You can see who is currently working on an email template and watch their changes in real time:
You can also leave revision comments for your team members. They’ll be alerted via email as soon as you leave them a tagged comment, and they can read your comment from their inbox—just like in Google Docs.
4. Create an Internal Brand Style Guide
When you picture brands like Amazon and Google, you’ll likely imagine certain colours, silhouettes and shapes. These brands have a familiar identity which they cultivate and maintain through continuous use of certain design elements.
Your internal brand works similarly.
Through your internal communications, a particular image of your brand is delivered to your employees. Its building blocks are the words and phrases you use and the tone in which you express yourself. It’s also about the visuals you use in your communications and how you lay things out.
If you want to convey a cohesive internal brand through your communications, you need to ensure consistency. That’s where a brand style guide can help.
With ContactMonkey, you can pick and save default brand colours, fonts and logos right in you email template builder. The result: a brand style guide built into your go-to internal communitcations tool.
That way, if you have a new hire or need another team member to work on your internal company newsletter, they don’t have to learn from scratch.
You’ll save time on writing detailed instructions and worrying whether they’re understood. Meanwhile, your colleagues can take over any internal communications task quickly and hassle-free.
5. Evaluate Metrics to Improve Email Performance
The average full-time worker receives 120 emails per day. That’s a lot of clutter to break through with your internal communications.
You need to know who’s opening your emails, what content they click on, and how they’re engaging with it.
Armed with this data, you can improve email performance while saving ideation time by letting the performance of past content inform future communications.
For example, you may realize employee spotlights receive the most clicks and decide to make them a regular feature.
But shockingly, 41% of businesses have no way to track user activity.
Corey Kachigan, engagement and communications lead at manufacturing company Exemplis, understands just how frustrating that is. In 2017, she was sending countless company emails, but she had no idea of how effective they were or whether they were even being opened.
“We’re rolling out all these things, but we can’t tell if employees are even clicking these emails,” explained Kachigan.
When Kachigan moved Exemplis’ communications to ContactMonkey, it was a game changer.
The email-tracking solution made it easy to measure all the necessary engagement metrics, from open rates and click-through rates to demographic trends and peak times for engagement.
You can take a detailed look at a specific campaign, such as in the example below, or compare multiple campaigns side by side.
You can even see the percentage of employees who are reading your communications vs. simply glancing at them.
“ContactMonkey allows us to communicate more consistently with our team, but also be able to have the data to back it up,” says Kachigan.
“Right now, we’re averaging a 70% open rate on our weekly communication to the team with click rates hovering between 20 – 30%. Before using ContactMonkey I wouldn’t have had any of that data,”explains Kachigan.
6. Solicit Employee Feedback
To truly streamline communications, you must ensure that those emails you’re sending out aren’t just being read but also being understood. That’s why it’s important to gather employee feedback.
Taking the time to request and assess employee responses might seem like an extra step, but it’ll actually save you time in the long run. How? It’ll enable you to craft more effective messages in the future and get the most out of all your communications.
Pharmaceuticals company Alnylam regularly asks employees to weigh in on its newsletters via ContactMonkey’s embedded pulse surveys.
“We have a rating system and an ability for people to comment on what we send out. That’s one way that we’re getting feedback,” said Brendan Pires, internal communications specialist.
Soliciting this kind of feedback is easy with ContactMonkey, which features pulse surveys, emoji reactions, eNPS, anonymous comments, and star ratings that you can embed in emails and newsletters.
Streamline Communications to Save Time Across Your Entire Company
Well-connected companies that communicate effectively are 20% to 25% more productive. So when you streamline communications, you not only save yourself time, but also the organization as a whole.
Learn more about how ContactMonkey can streamline your communications and save time. Book your personalized demo today!