The good news is your colleagues are finally interested in digital content. That’s also the bad news

It used to be that our clients struggled to get other teams to pay attention to their own area of the corporate digital presence. 

Investor relations, human resources, media relations, marketing, customer service – enough of these functions happened offline or on another channel that content on the corporate website was an afterthought for them.

These days the problem is flipped. Internal stakeholders are banging down your door to take ownership of their content. You could view that as progress, and in some ways it is. But this newfound love of digital brings up a whole new set of problems.

Clueless about content

The main problem being that they don’t have a clue about what makes effective content on corporate digital channels. I mean that in the nicest way possible – they are experts at what they do in their day jobs, but they are not digital communicators.

In the worst of all worlds, internal stakeholders want full control, but they are convinced that they are the communications experts. Maybe you’ve made it look so easy they think anyone could do it! 

Even in the best situation – your colleagues are knocking it out of the park on content – it is still coming from their silo and isn’t joined up.

Great content without the ownership

You as the person who looks after the corporate digital presence see the big picture. The question is how can you get internal stakeholders to buy into the vision? How can you get them creating effective and high-quality content, even when you do not fully control the production lines? 

Here are some tools from the best companies in the world at corporate digital communications.

Influence is as effective as control

The best accept they can’t control everything, and would not have time to, but work on the basis of influence. One of our clients who is just at the beginning of turning around the corporate digital presence said to me: “We have spent the last nine months making friends with everyone and slowly we have gained control of everything.”

Show them best practice already happening inside the organization

None of us has much time to look outside our own silo to see what others are doing that we can learn from. Your colleagues are no different. Show them what best practice looks like and why. Better yet, find best practice digital communication that is already happening inside the organization. Good examples are often found on your company’s social media channels, where the tone and topics are freer and more interesting. Best practice already happening somewhere inside is 100 times more powerful because the ideas are harder to veto.

Use data to parse audiences they think they know

I talk about audience data all the time, because it is so important. More important is how you use it and communicate it. A strategy that the best in the world employ is to help internal stakeholders see nuances in their audiences that they didn’t see before. ESG reporting teams don’t always know they have an expert audience and a non-specialist audience and both have different needs and expectations. They are so busy compiling the ESG report they have not stopped to think about who is reading it. Do they know that the data says not many people actually visit the Sustainability section? That isn’t something to get depressed about, but an opportunity to communicate better with the people who do visit.

The best communications needs good policy

One of the biggest trends right now among the best in the world is “substance driving style”, meaning that the best communication comes out of real, tangible action, on carbon emissions or diversity and inclusion. You are not stealing your ESG colleagues’ thunder, you are in a partnership to showcase the important work they are doing.

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Our Bowen Craggs Club membership has enabled us to benchmark all aspects of our digital presence against global all-sector best practice, share lessons and ideas with peers, and get both quick-win and longer term recommendations for improvement. Bowen Craggs is also providing us with valuable advice on our approach to online communications following the acquisition of G4S by Allied Universal.”
 

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