Why you need a communications and engagement strategy in L&D

If you’re in L&D and struggling to get your learners engaged with 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 comms and engagement plan?

Quite simply it’s a plan you create 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 you and decide which best suite to be used when releasing your content to your chosen audience. Channels of communication can be print or digital media, face to face sessions and more — you use these channels to engage your audience to your content, the one you choose will largely be decided by the demographic you wish to attract..

Communicating your content is only half of the plan, how you keep your audience engaged and utilising your content is the next side of the coin. You want your audience to engage with your content via sharing, leaving comments or putting into practise the teachings you’ve shared and in turn getting them to share their learning experiences for others to see.

Why do you need this in L&D and what can it do for me?

Much like my previous article on why data is important for L&D, a communications and engagement plan is just as vital for your people 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 learning 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 will be the most effective in getting eyeballs on your work — again this is where having data on your learners to understand them makes such a huge difference.

The benefits of having a strong comms and engagement strategy in place, is that you’re prepared. You know how you will speak to your learners, when you will do this and the key messages that need to be delivered, you also create an open conversation to collate feedback and track the impact of your content. Not only this, but you have a structure in place which allows you to map out how all of your learning content can link together over a certain time period and how you can create a journey for your learners through a particular subject.

Be aware that as I mentioned earlier, that communicating is only half the battle — keeping your people engaged to content is your next challenge. You can achieve engagement for a long period through a tweaked micro comms plan that allows 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. On the face of it a comms and engagement plan might sound simple and it can be, but it has a sweet science to it too.

How do I use this for my learning content?

You can implement this pretty quickly and easily 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 I’ll cover that in future articles, but here are some things you should consider and a bit of a starter for 10:

  • Who is your audience
  • What channels do they use to digest content — consider internal company networks, social media platforms, team meetings or are they people who are more attracted to a poster in the kitchen — do your research.
  • What format do they most view — is it written content? 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
  • Who are the people in your organisation that are influencers? Find these people and use them as a type of external marketing team to endorse and share your content

Put a template or calendar together incorporating the items above and you’ll be off to a good start on your first communications and engagement plan.

Good luck

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