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Internal External

Not everyone appreciates the difference between Internal Communications and External Communications, either as a Department, or as a medium.

External comms often all about the dot com website, but that probaby comes under the remit of the Marketing Department, so, gods help us all to understand what they’re on about!

Another aspect of Ext comms is the ubiquitous Press Release. Written by the Press Relations people, the humble PR is published in prime view on your dot com website, and also sent out to various agencies in the vain hope that ‘someone’ out there is interested. The striking thing about PRs, is that if you’re an interesting company within the industry, and if you’re producing interesting products, then the less-interesting websites out there will indeed pick up your PR, and often within just minutes of your publishing it.

This will then bomb the Google News service with your name and news. Fabulous.

But, what about those differences between what is written for the External Audience, and what is written for the Internal Audience (namely, employees)?

It’s a big difference. There’s content to consider, language use, and voice.

What am I going on about? Well, content wise, we cant go round telling employees everything that’s happening in the company! Heavens no! It would be chaos! Opinions are like guns; everyone has one, and few are afraid to use them.

No, we can only really publish things internally (on intranets and via all-employee emails) that we have already published externally. In other words, we assume that our employees are going to blab our sensitive, Share Effecting internal news to the Red Top Newspapers, and thus cause a share-price slump.

Language and Voice wise, sheesh, wouldn’t it be good if we actually used adjectives and superlatives to make our written work interesting? Wouldn’t it be good if we wrote in a clear and concise, yet interesting way so that our busy employees could ‘get the message’ – feel engaged – and then get back to work?

It is my sad opinion that Press Releases and Marketing Spiel do none of the above, and simply alienate common workers and make the company and our work seem distant and of no concern to the workforce.

So that’s why we have Internal Communications Departments to ensure there is interactive, interesting, clear, concise, information for the staff, written for internal people, written for internal people.

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

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