Guest post by Jason Anthoine, Managing Founder at Audacity
The year is quickly coming to an end, and comms teams everywhere are hard at work crafting end-of-year messaging, setting their sights on the year ahead, and trying to decide how to spend their leftover budget from 2019.
With strategies defined and budgets set for 2020, it’s too late in the year to gain approvals to pursue something new and certainly anything big and expansive. What’s a comms team to do?
If this sounds like your situation, you’re probably looking for a strategic and effective way to invest your extra dollars, and fast. Because, as you know, there’s a good chance those precious dollars will be taken away from next year’s budget.
Not to fear! Here are three of the best ways to put that extra budget to good use before year’s end.
Prepay for Storytelling Training for Your Team
In a world revolving around instant gratification and constant stimulation, micro-moments of humanity are the new commodity. Stories are a great way to cut through the noise and connect with your audience. No matter what’s on the docket for your organization in 2020, there’s no better way to spark transformation and drive workplace culture like telling a compelling story.
But most corporate storytelling is, well, just plain dull.
Telling stories to inspire takes a little extra effort. As Elizabeth Rasberry, Senior Communications Manager of Cox Communications, says, “There’s always a way to turn a business story into a people story. You just have to take the time to dig a little deeper.”
That means asking the right questions and shining a light on the true heroes of your organization—its people.
“There’s always a way to turn a business story into a people story. You just have to take the time to dig a little deeper. ~ Elizabeth Rasberry, Senior Communications Manager of Cox Communications
There’s a reason Jeff Bezos banned PowerPoint and other slide-show presentations in executive meetings at Amazon. Boring slides filled with corporate jargon aren’t cutting it. Incorporating storytelling into your communication strategy is essential. Why? Because it works.
Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts alone. Telling a powerful story can inspire action and help companies foster emotional connections.
Regardless of skill level or years of experience, every member of your comms team can benefit from storytelling training. Knowing how to tell better stories can ignite every facet of your 2020 comms strategy.
There are plenty of great storytelling training opportunities out there, so look for one that’s the best fit for your team. I’d recommend taking a look at Inner Strength Communication’s trainings, ALI’s Storytelling for Internal Communications workshop, or Wylie Communications’ writing training.
Invest in Simple Video Equipment and Editing Software
Speaking of telling better stories—if you’re hoping to make a significant impact on the way you connect with your employees in 2020, don’t forget about video.
In the age of distraction, videos are a powerful way to connect with your team. According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. This powerful medium is ideal for engaging your workforce, and it’s one of the most important types of content you can invest in this year.
Intimidated? Don’t be! Too many comms teams today buy into the false notion that video storytelling requires significant amounts of time, skills, stress, money and resources. Not so.
Here’s a secret—your employees aren’t expecting world-class production quality. They want to be informed, involved, and inspired by your video communication. They want a chance to rally behind the greater purpose of their work. They want to see themselves reflected in your corporate story. Even better, like you, they watch Instagram stories and YouTube videos in their spare time and now expect those kinds of quick, simple, easy videos.
Short, informal videos are the bread and butter of visual storytelling today. You don’t need to hire a videographer, invest in a green room, and buy fancy equipment. Keep it simple!
So, put that handy leftover budget to good use and consider investing in some cheap video equipment, editing software, and online training. Here’s a nifty guide from SocialChorus about how to make video like a boss.
Pre-Register for a Conference (Or Plan to Speak at One!)
One of the best ways to put your leftover comms budget to good use is to prepay for an upcoming conference experience. Whether you’re looking to get feedback on your 2020 strategy, learn new ways to approach a stale tactic, or soak up the latest research in the comms field, a conference can inspire your team to come together and thrive in the year ahead.
If you’re looking to create a connected company and inspired employees, FutureComms 2020 is the place to be. Or, if you want to hear raw and unfiltered insights from the people who matter most in employee comms (employees!), check out What Employees Want. Of course, there are tons of options out there. These are just a few suggestions.
While you’re at it, go ahead and apply to speak at a conference. Most people attend these events to learn from others, but the truth is, every single person in the audience (including you!) has a fascinating and unique experience to share. As wonderful as it is to attend a conference, it can be even more impactful for your professional development to speak at one.
While the leftovers sitting in your fridge are surely destined for the garbage soon, your leftover comms budget doesn’t have to go to waste. Take those dollars and invest now in stuff that will pay off next year.
Here’s to your success in 2020!