If you’re in L&D and struggling to get your people engaged with your content — this one is for you!
I’m going to take you through the basics of what a communications and engagement strategy is, why you should have one and how this can transform your L&D content.
So, let’s get started
What is a communications and engagement plan?
Quite simply it’s a plan that gives you visibility of what, how and when you will communicate with your audience.
You will also identify the channels of communication you have available to use too. Channels of communication can be print or digital media, face-to-face sessions and more .
You use these channels to engage your audience with your content. The channel(s) you choose will largely be decided by the audience you wish to connect with.
Communicating your content is only half of the plan.
How you keep your audience engaged and utilise your content is the next side of the coin. You want your audience to engage with your content via sharing, leaving comments and putting into practice the knowledge you’ve shared, and in turn, enable them to share their learning experiences for others to see.
Why do you need this in Learning and development, and what can it do for you?
Much like my previous article on why data is important for L&D, a communications and engagement plan is just as vital for your long-term learning and performance strategy.
As L&D professionals, we spend a long time shedding blood, sweat and tears on the content we create to give our people the best educational content available.
But in too many cases, regardless of the content quality, the delivery of this content to your audience is what lets you down.
You must carefully consider how your content will be deployed to your audience and which channels are the most effective in getting eyeballs on your work .
Again, this is where having a breadth of data on end-user behaviours to make sense of what works, and what doesn’t, makes a huge difference.
The benefits of having a structured comms and engagement strategy in place is that you’re prepared.
You know how you will engage with your audience across the moments that matter in the typical employee lifecycle.
Not only this, but you have a structure in place which allows you to map out how all of your content connects and how you can create a journey for your people through any subject.
Be aware that as I mentioned earlier, communicating content is only half the battle – keeping your people engaged with content is your next challenge.Tweet
You can achieve continuous engagement for a long period through tweaked micro-campaigns that allow you to utilise smaller bites of your content to be communicated in a soft manner to attract your people to content you may have released 6 months ago.
As an example, let’s say you’ve built a suite of career development tools for your workforce 3 months ago.
You probably saw a spike in engagement when you first launched this content. However, as time has passed, that engagement has most likely been dropping off (unless you’re some kind of L&D marketing genius).
Let’s say you now have a moment in the calendar when you want to put a focus on career development on the main stage for your workforce.
Instead of looking to surface new content or even create it (highly recommend you curate before creating tho, my friends), use a campaign to point people to what you’ve already got.
Campaigns enable you to surface content that people have probably forgotten about or perhaps never knew existed.
With a sound content strategy and engagement calendar, you create structure on how you’ll use the current content and tools you have to create value across a year.
How to build your first communications plan
Ok, I never like to shine a light and talk about something useful without sharing how to actually do the thing.
That would mean I’m just making captain-obvious statements. And I’m not in the business of that.
Instead of me trying to create something new. Let me share the resources and tools that taught me how to do all of the things we’ve gone through so far.
The first one is from the ever-resourceful team at Hubspot.
Their A-Z on how to write an effective communication plan with a bunch of free templates is a great place to start.
How do I use this for my learning content?
You can implement a content strategy pretty quickly for your L&D content.
I’m not going to give you the A-Z of what you need to do for a successful strategy as what works for me won’t work for all.
Here are some things you should consider and a bit of a starter for 10:
Who is your audience?
It’s important to get clear on who you’re creating and marketing content to.
What channels do they use to digest content
Consider internal company tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, social media platforms, and team meetings or are they people who are more attracted to a poster in the kitchen — do your research!
What format do they connect with
Are they lovers of the written word? Do they prefer videos? If so, how long? Or is it a mixture of both? again do your research.
What events take place during the year, which you can utilise to get a big platform for your content?
Think about those moments that matter across the lifecycle of your company year. You will have plenty of opportunities to weave in connection with your content to surface help when people need it most.
Now it’s your turn
Put a template or calendar together incorporating the items above and you’ll be off to a good start with building your own content engagement strategy.
Before you go… 👋
If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.
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