Creating Content For Internal Communications With Little or No Budget

You’ve probably heard the following statement in one form or another:

“We need to really engage with our employees – it’s a priority! But there’s no budget allotted.” Show of hands. No wait, that’s old school. Tweet with the hashtag #nobudget if you’re one of us.

This obstacle is so universal I won’t bother with any further introductions. Let’s just get to some potential practical solutions that don’t involve revising the current political system, solving unemployment or finding a solution to the ongoing Fiscal Cliff crisis shall we?

Solutions:

Double Duty: When developing content, look at it carefully and consider if it could serve multiple purposes. Using the same or slightly modified content across several distribution channels stretches what dollars you have a whole lot further. And it makes you a superstar in the “do more with less” arena that is becoming the norm nowadays. Here are some starter ideas:

  • Is it content that is of interest or use to both your internal and external audiences? If it’s important for your employees to know, could it be equally important for your customers, investors, and prospects to know as well? Lots of projects are initially conceived as “for our employees”, but if you look at it through a different filter, you might find it has uses beyond its original slot.
  • Can it be utilized across multiple distribution channels? If it’s video for example, consider Intranet, Company Website, YouTube, Blog Posts, e-Newsletters, Facebook links, LinkedIn posts, etc. Get as much bang for your buck as you can. You’re spreading your cost over many, many more views. And don’t forget…
  • Email as a distribution channel: it’s not as old school as everyone thinks. But you’ve got to make it stand out visually to get anyone to notice it among the 367 emails they’ve received that morning. Use a nice, intriguing thumbnail image for a link to a video. Remember, people do like pretty pictures and they don’t like to read lots of text. Take the time to set up a template so you can place a “play” button over the image. It really does draw attention and increases the likelihood of people actually clicking on the image. TIP: If the video is appropriate for an audience outside of your intranet/company, make sure it’s posted on YouTube and link the image to that location. You’ll end up with the bonus of getting credit for the views on YouTube, which helps your Search Engine Equity.

Plan Ahead: With some advance planning and attention to logistics, you can cut your costs considerably. For example, when developing video content, plan for potential multiple uses in advance so you capture what you need the first time around. If you have it all at available, it’s now just a matter of tweaking and editing, as opposed to going out and starting the production process all over again. This can result in some pretty impressive cost AND time savings. Which leads me to my next point….

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Cost vs. Efficiency: Many times, you’ll find yourself addressing the same communication topics over and over again. This is especially true with internal communications. How many of the same policy or procedure talks have you had to give again and again and again? Take a look at how much time you’re spending communicating these topics. In many cases, money spent upfront may be easily recouped (and justified) through time saved and better results.

Creating Content For Internal Communications With Little or No Budget image no budget film camera

Reasons to consider a “video replacement” strategy:

  • Investing in a video or video series to replace in-person presentations can free up your time for other communication tasks that are best dealt with in-person.
  • The content is delivered consistently. You don’t have to worry about forgetting to cover a topic, emphasizing details differently from one meeting to the next, multiple people presenting the same subject differently, etc.
  • The recipient can absorb the information on their own schedule, when they are mentally ready to do so. Being forced to sit through an hour-long benefits meeting often times equals little to no comprehension as all they are thinking about is how they don’t want to be there. So you end up doing it all over again or answering questions that, if they’d been paying attention, wouldn’t be questions at all. Remind yourself, your time is valuable.

Reuse and Recycle: Hey, everyone knows that recycling is good for the planet, right? So why not embrace it with your content? Take a look at what you’ve already created. Is it still relevant? Has it been a while since it’s been shared? If so, consider taking it off the bench and putting it back into the game. If it’s been a little too recent to use as it, but it’s good stuff, consider giving it a face-lift. Maybe a new title, lead-in or graphics. A well-done re-mix can seem like brand new stuff, at a fraction of the price.

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