Eight seconds. That’s all the time you have to captivate your reader into focusing on what you’re communicating. No pressure, right?
Recently, I read a white paper called Strengthening Your Benefits Communication that spoke to me. In a nutshell, it states that there’s a five-step process to guaranteeing more effective communication that drives the results you’re looking for. What this tells me is that even if you have little to no communication experience, you too can become an expert in creating meaningful communications for your employees. Mind blown!
Here are your five steps to finally being heard…
1. Define your goals. Determine what meaningful outcomes you’re looking for and figure out a way to have them be measureable. Align your communication goals to the business goals of your organization to increase your overall success. And remember to exhaust multiple resources when you deploy your communication strategy (e.g. internal communications team, marketing team, etc.) to determine the best way to monitor your strategy’s success.
2. Know your audience. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all communication strategy. Understand that there are differences in how certain populations absorb what you’re saying. Focusing on this will help you create a strategy that resonates with a larger audience.
3. Develop key messages, visual concepts and a brand. It’s creativity time! You know what you’re trying to accomplish through communications and to whom, now you need to create the strategy to deploy it successfully. Helpful tips to keep in mind...
- Keep the tone of your messaging simple – attention is at a premium, so get to your point quickly. And keep the messaging light and almost conversational. Experts suggest writing at an 8th grade reading level or below is optimal in the absorption process.
- Determine the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”). Think about your message from the perspective of who you’re communicating to.
- Stories engage and help people remember. Consider communicating via success stories peppering in statistics and important facts along the way.
- Branding can be extremely powerful. Communications that encompass a brand (e.g. benefits, wellness, HR, etc.) offer instant recognition to the reader. This can be labor intensive, but impactful long-term.
4. Determine the right mix of media. This is often overlooked. We tend to communicate one way. Knowing, however, that not everyone understands messages the same way, drives home the point that media mixing is imperative. Examples include: articles, newsletters, posters, intranet sites, email, social media, video, webinars, portals, infographics, text messaging, peer championing, etc. Bottom line, mix it up!
5. Execute and measure. It’s go time! Make sure you have an action plan created – timeline, calendars of events, etc. – so you can execute this communication strategy flawlessly. Pull in those multiple resources (see step 1 if you’ve forgotten who they are already) that are going to help you monitor, track and measure your successes along the way.
Are you ready to shine and make those first eight seconds finally matter?! You’re not in this alone, we’re here to help along the way. For more information and guidance, contact one of our Assurance Employee Benefits Communication & Education team members!
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