What are the issues facing those working in Internal Communications? What lies ahead for the future of IC? Let’s find out!
We are delighted to report that last month’s first edition of Newsweaver’s Life In IC blog series, was a great success and we received a wonderful response.
This week our focus is on Corporate Communications Specialist Matthew Ford who works for AAA Mid-Atlantic/AAA Club Alliance in the United States. Matthew takes us through what it’s like to work in the internal comms industry and the challenges he sees ahead.
Q. What was the career path that led you to working in internal communications?
Before joining AAA, I worked in Television News as a News Producer for ABC and FOX affiliates in Maryland and Pennsylvania for eight years. As we all know, the news industry is changing and I felt it was a time to take what I had learned and the experiences from TV News and take them to communications for an organization (Better hours too!).
Q. What was the most rewarding or effective internal communications campaign/initiative that you worked on in your career?
Our “Fast 5” publication which we issue weekly to all Associates (roughly 5,500 people). Fast 5 is an e-newsletter that consolidates many news items into one weekly email to increase awareness and reduce clutter in Associate inboxes. Content items must be relevant for all Associates. If there are Associate populations that aren’t impacted, consider alternate communication vehicles. Content is presented in a way that Associates should be able to consume and absorb it in five minutes or less.
Q. What department do you report to in your organization?
Corporate Communications, which reports up through Human Resources, but works with mostly all business lines within the organization (public affairs, Human Resources, Finance, Membership, Marketing, etc.)
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry?
I find drawing people’s attention to simply open their emails. We have many Associates who are out on the road (tow-truck drivers, etc.) and call center Associates – that don’t get to check their emails as frequently as those in operations centers and administrative offices.
Q. In your opinion, what changes do you envisage happening in internal communications over the next five years?
I think we will find an overabundance of communications flooding people and I think they may be overwhelmed and “tune them out” because they are bombarded with them.
Q. What channel is currently the most effective for internal communications in your organization?
Email is most effective (yet we are finding more Associates on the east coast open our emails than those in the center of the County), followed by postal mail.
Q. If you could change one thing about your job/industry, what would it be?
To make people pay more attention to their emails! LOL
Q. What sources do you look to for best practice content?
I personally take a look at other organizations/companies in our area to see how they are effectively reaching their Associates with different messaging.
Q. Do you think that IC is adequately valued in your organization or in companies generally?
I think Internal Communications has come a long way at this organization in the past few years. Honestly, I do not think it is adequately valued (yet), and I’m hoping to change that.
Q. What is your favorite feature of the Newsweaver product/tool and why?
The reports feature, by far! I enjoy looking at the data and analytics. Personally I like when people say “I never got that communication.” And I can respond with, “yes you did, you opened it six times, click in three places, etc. etc.”
Quick Fire Questions (One Word Answers)
Best Holiday? Christmas
Person you’d most like to meet? My grandmother – she passed when I was very young.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
Favorite TV Series? Friends
A song you will never get sick of hearing? Coldplay Viva La Vida
Superpower you would like to have? To be cloned! Being in two places at once.
City Living or Country Living? City
iPhone or Android? iPhone
Finally, If you could sum Newsweaver up in one word, what would it be? Insightful