A Business Outcome-Focused Template for Requests for Content

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  1. Frivolous requests fall by the wayside so you won’t waste your precious time.
  2. Some of the initial heavy lifting is done by the person who knows most about the topic: the requester.
  3. You ensure the content supports business outcomes (i.e., that it’s not a vanity request).
  4. You will uncover very specific calls to action that can be measured.
  5. The template helps you and your stakeholder determine which kind of communication works best (e.g., a town hall, a video) and who should own it. Pro tip: Not all comms requests should be handled by Communications!
  6. If you send this template enough times, the petitioner will “get it” and anticipate your questions before they make another unsolicited bid.

Example 1: Getting Sales Employees to Use a New Strategy

Here is an example using the template (which is blank, below). Editorial commentary is italicized.

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Why is it so important now?

We want sales employees to adopt the new sales strategy that was unveiled this month. It’s important because we are changing the way we position our best selling product to a new audience.

Who are you trying to connect with?

Salespeople in the U.S. and Canada who have prospective clients for Product X.

What do you want your audience to do that they are not doing now?

We want them to adopt the new sales strategy, which is outlined in a one-page document and was discussed at a recent town hall for salespeople.

Why aren’t the employees doing what you want them to do already? List all possible reasons.

  • Nobody shared the video from the town hall.
  • The video is too long; employees don’t have time to watch a 40-minute video.
  • Salespeople are traveling and can’t find time to watch a video.
  • Employees think it looks bad if they are watching a video at their desk instead of making calls.
  • Nobody sent the link to the one-pager.
  • The one-pager hasn’t been uploaded to the usual document library.
  • Salespeople prefer to read paper documents rather than online material.

How will you measure the effectiveness of the communication?

75% of salespeople in the U.S.A./Canada watch the video.

Next steps (to be filled out Internal Comms)

At this point Internal Comms takes over. You do not need to share this section with the stakeholder.

  • What do we need to do to help employees take the action we want them to take?
  • What’s the most effective tactic to achieve the goal?
  • What is/are the best channel/s to reach the audience?
  • How do we measure the effectiveness of the comms?
  1. Cut a highlight reel of the 40-minute video so that it’s only six minutes and send it to the targeted salespeople.
  2. Instead of sending the highlight reel to all the salespeople, send it to all sales managers and ask them to watch it together with their peers in the next team meeting.
  3. Create a bullet-point tip sheet with five or six important takeaways. Post it to the intranet and include a link to the article in the next sales newsletter and drop a link in the sales Slack channel or Yammer group. Add a link to the one-pager in the article.
  4. Convert the video to an audio file and distribute it to the salespeople as a podcast.

Example 2: Getting Employees to Sign Up for a Volunteer Project

Here is another example using the template (which is blank, below). Editorial commentary is italicized.

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Why is it so important now?

We want employees to sign up for the volunteer event happening this Friday from 4:00–7:00 PM. The project is to help fix up a local park and playground. This is important because we just opened an office in Newark and want to show that we are part of the community.

Who are you trying to connect with?

All employees in the Newark office.

What do you want your audience to do that they are not doing now?

We want them to sign up for the volunteer event, and of course, we want them to show up and participate.

Why aren’t the employees doing what you want them to do already? List all possible reasons.

  • Employees don’t think it’s important because their managers haven’t signed up.
  • Employees aren’t signing up because their peers aren’t signing up.
  • Employees don’t think they’re allowed to take time off work for volunteering.
  • Employees have children that need to be picked up from school.
  • Nobody wants to do “work things” on a Friday evening.
  • Transportation to the park is onerous using public means.

How will you measure the effectiveness of the communication?

At least 90% of Newark’s managers sign up for and attend the volunteer event.

Next steps (to be filled out Internal Comms)

At this point Internal Comms takes over. You do not need to share this section with the stakeholder.

  • What do we need to do to help employees take the action we want them to take?
  • What’s the most effective tactic to achieve the goal?
  • What is/are the best channel/s to reach the audience?
  • How do we measure the effectiveness of the comms?

Business Outcome-Focused Template

Copy, paste, and use this form.

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Why is it so important now?

Who are you trying to connect with?

What do you want your audience to do that they are not doing now?

Why aren’t the employees doing what you want them to do already? List all possible reasons.

How will you measure the effectiveness of the communication?

Next steps (to be filled out Internal Comms)

At this point Internal Comms takes over and asks:

  • What do we need to do to help employees take the action we want them to take?
  • What’s the most effective tactic to achieve the goal?
  • What is/are the best channel/s to reach the audience?
  • How do we measure the effectiveness of the comms?

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Mister Editorial

Many internal comms teams don’t have an editorial strategy. I’m here to fix that. Newsletter: https://mistereditorial.substack.com/.