Monday, September 07, 2009

Internal comms = internal journalism? Never!

Had a good conversation this morning with a former colleague who is struggling to convince her new employers that internal communication is not internal journalism. I've always been of the opinion that anyone who thinks that internal comms is about journalism is in the wrong job.

My take is that with my journalist hat on, I know I can go in, get the information I need, write to the angle I want to pursue and get out quick knowing I don't have to speak to those people again. Internal comms is very different - we become the mouthpiece for the organisation with a view to building engagement - therefore there's no opportunity for, or benefit in, stitching people up, and the angle is determined by/with the subject, not the writer. Therefore I'd always say the keys for any internal comms professional to a good internal business feature are:

* Agree the desired outcome
* Know the business context
* Put yourself in the reader's shoes
* Don't editorialise
* Make sure the interviewee voice(s) comes through strongly
* Understand where the piece fits in the overall comms plan
* Ensure the reader has a clear route to find out more.

In the end it's not about us sounding good as writers: it's about achieving a business aim. Being able to craft a fantastic piece is actually secondary to it being fit for purpose as a tool to move the business forward.

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