Far and away, the two most common questions I get from communicators who are looking to improve employee communications with digital signage revolve around content:
- What’s the right amount of content?
- What’s the right kind of content?
No matter the amount or kind, when it comes to content the key is variety. If all of the content looks identical it becomes digital wallpaper to employees. Internal communicators have a much bigger content challenge than customer-facing digital signage operators. Their “customers” are seeing the content several times a day, up to five days a week. Retail marketers might only update content on a monthly basis.
While variety is important, there’s also an easy formula communicators can use to make sure they have the right balance of content. And it’s easy to remember: 4-1-1.
The 4-1-1 formula (if you want to call it that) helps communicators make sure the content is right for the audience through relevancy, timeliness and entertainment (and yes, internal communicators must begin thinking about entertaining employees to a degree).
Here’s how it breaks down. For every six pieces of content:
- +4 must be specifically dedicated to helping employees accomplish their job. If you’re in a manufacturing environment, this could be a new health and safety procedure. If you’re in retail, you could show the latest sales figures for local stores. If you’re in hospitality, this content should be tailored helping employees meet customer needs. But whatever industry you’re in, four of six should be focused on employees being informed and doing their job better. And if you’ve localized your signs, this would include local content for a specific location.
- +1 should be more corporate focused. These are your larger brand messages that apply to any company employee anywhere. This where a lot of leadership and executive messages fit. Annual earnings and financial reports fall into this category, too. If you get a paycheck from the company, this content is relevant to you.
- +1 should be focused on the softer side of business. This is the chance to showcase employee recognition, corporate philanthropy and any lighter side to the business that keeps employees’ attention. The ever-cliché “blood drive” announcement could go here.
To simplify it even more, you could reclassify these sections as:
- Need to know (4)
- Nice to know (1)
- Fun to know (1)
There’s no exact science here but it’s a good model to follow to make sure you’re providing a variety of content to your employees and keeping it balanced. And the “need to know” content doesn’t have to be stale and boring. It can be as engaging as the “fun to know.”