By: Meredith Flory

Not every piece of external communications from your company will be targeted advertising to gain new clients. External communication also includes messaging regarding what your company does, your values, and your engagement with the community that will tell the general public who you are. Not just potential clients, but current clients, business partners, and current or future employees. Consider how your company balances sales pitches with other forms of engagement. How do you show leadership in the community in addition to a solid product – through service, employment opportunities, civic engagement? Communicate these practices in your newsletters, website, and social media.

Plan for mistakes. Inevitably, your company will make a misstep in communication: an advertisement that falls flat, a poorly handled complaint, or a social faux pas when dealing with current issues. If you prepare ahead of time for how you will handle an internal review, public statement, and commitment to changing behavior, then when a mistake happens, your team can feel more confident that you can approach the situation fairly, calmly, and appropriately. Writing a crisis communications plan that makes the chain of communication, responsibility, and review process clear and available can help employees at all levels navigate their roles in guiding the company back to sure footing. 

Stay consistent. Remaining consistent in your communication helps you build brand loyalty, knowledge, and integrity. Consistency is needed in how you chose to use external communications. While the abundance of platforms available to companies these days is innumerable, you don’t have to be on every one. Choose which social media, email communication, and messaging through website and/or print works best for your product and your team. Not having one of the many platforms is better than using it without regular updates or consistent messaging. Furthermore, internal messaging and external messaging should be consistent. Certainly, there is information that is for employees’ eyes only, but in terms of your company values, people will inevitably learn if your message is simply lip service. Treat your employees and product with fidelity to your stated principles.

Help employees feel valued. If your communication is consistent, then you are already building employee trust. Employees can know they will have the information first, but that information must be in alignment with how the community perceives the company. You can also use external communications as a way to support and uplift your team. Highlight the ways in which team members add value to the company by sharing their achievements, awards, and success. These positive communications might include recognition for what employees are doing for the company, as in traditional employee of the month awards, but could also highlight volunteer efforts, community recognition, or side projects that aren’t in conflict with your sales. Did an employee write a book, present at a leadership conference, or finish a degree? This kind of communication shows you honor your employee’s personal time and professional development.

If you aren’t sure where to start with an external communications plan, or if you need assistance managing newsletters, print, or online content, Powerhouse Planning can help.