Effective communication plays a pivotal role in the success of any corporate organisation. As an in-house comms pro, you hold the key to ensuring that the company's message is clear, consistent, and compelling to both external and internal stakeholders. Perhaps you have recently made the move in-house and are adapting to a different way of working in a new environment. How do you make sure you’re on track to make the move a positive one for you, and for the company? Maybe you have always worked in-house and want to be certain you are performing to the best of your abilities. We explore 8 simple steps to make a resounding success of your career as an in-house communications professional.
Possibly the most important step of all! As a member of the corporate comms team, you will interact with a diverse range of individuals, from team members to your CEO to external stakeholders. Cultivate strong relationships and be a trusted advisor. Actively listen to others, be approachable, and show genuine interest in their concerns. Building strong relationships will enhance your credibility and enable you to navigate the organisation effectively. By winning the trust of your colleagues it will be much easier to find the answers you need when dealing with an urgent press enquiry, for example, or it might make the process of briefing company spokespeople much less painful!
Treat your internal stakeholders as you would treat your clients in an agency. Remember that the way to bring them on board is to show empathy, listen to what they want and identify common ground. Don’t limit yourself to being ‘the PR person’ or ‘the media relations person’. Think of yourself (and refer to your role) as part of a wider team that has a broad spectrum of combined skills to offer. After all, more often than not, you are sitting with the marketing, branding, and digital people, so take the opportunity to learn from each other and collaborate on projects. This will broaden your skill set and show how much value you add to the firm – all in one shot.
Compelling storytelling is at the heart of effective communication. Learn to craft narratives that resonate with the company's vision, values, and goals. Stories have the power to engage audiences emotionally, making your messages more memorable and impactful. Understand the audience you are addressing and tailor your stories to appeal to their interests and needs.
Tech is your friend! Stay up-to-date with the latest communication trends and technologies. Social media, podcasts, webinars and virtual events are just a few examples of the wide spectrum of channels available to you to learn, and for you to share company information. Embrace these tools to amplify your messages and connect with a broader audience. Remember to keep an eye on data analytics to measure the impact of your communications and refine your strategies accordingly.
A skilled communications professional must be adept at crisis management. Prepare for potential crises in advance by developing a crisis communication plan. This will ensure that you can respond quickly, transparently, and effectively during challenging times. Always be mindful about strengthening your relationships with key industry media contacts to shape the company's public image and handle media inquiries professionally.
The world of communications is constantly evolving. Stay curious and committed to continuous learning. There may not as many opportunities to do this in-house as there can be when working in an agency setting, so you need to make sure you take control of your own professional development. Attend industry conferences, enroll in relevant courses, and network with other professionals to gain fresh insights and ideas. Being well-informed will enhance your ability to innovate and adapt to changing communication trends. Have you thought about setting up or joining a networking group of your peers in similar businesses as you will probably find you have lots in common and will learn from each other.
Demonstrate the value of your communications efforts by measuring their impact. If there isn’t already an established performance protocol implemented by your comms team, use key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the success of your campaigns, for example positive media coverage or the percentage increase on social platforms. Regularly share these successes with your team and management – this will demonstrate the significance of your role in driving the company’s growth.
As an in-house communications professional, you will deal with sensitive information and represent the company's image. Always adhere to ethical standards and ensure compliance with relevant regulations, such as data protection and privacy laws. Maintaining integrity will enhance your reputation and the credibility of the organisation you represent.
Be open to feedback from your colleagues and stakeholders. Constructive criticism can be a powerful tool for growth and improvement so don’t be afraid to ask for it. Use feedback to refine your strategies and approaches continually. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is a true mark of successful in-house communications professionals. Pivot!
Succeeding as an in-house communications professional in a corporate organisation requires a combination of creativity, adaptability, and strategic thinking. By mastering the art of storytelling, building strong relationships, embracing technology and honing crisis management skills, you can become an invaluable asset to your company. Continuous learning, measuring impact, and upholding ethical standards will ensure you thrive in this ever-evolving field. Remember, your role as an in-house communications professional shapes the public perception of your employer, making your contributions indispensable to its success.
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