How cross-departmental communication can drive success
Let’s face it: you’re good at your job and you know exactly what it entails. Whether you’re newsjacking stories or shooting video, you’ve got everything under control. That is, until you’re not quite sure if a story is embargoed, or maybe you’re missing some strategic insights from your analytic team to tell you whether or not your social media posts are hitting the mark. Communication: it was once a top priority for your company, but it can sometimes fall to the wayside when all systems are firing.
Even though it seems daunting to reunite your teams under one goal and break down your comfortable silos, this process can guarantee a more rewarding integration. Here are some tips that will help you drop the excuses and bring your teams together.
- Story First. We all know content is king, but don’t just let your writers or video production team hide in their offices working on their own thing. Building a story that has legs is a community effort. Instead of letting one team handle all aspects of story development, see how your teams can work together to brainstorm ideas and see messaging through to completion. For example, your public relations crew might give your content team a head’s up that it’s National Heart Awareness month, or they might note that sentimental stories have been doing well with their media contacts. With this info, content is armed and ready to build a story that’s already set up for success — all because team members came together to collaborate on its direction. Conversation should flow between every department when developing owned media, and soon you’ll see the proof in the pudding — stories made with more minds simply perform better.
- Let Go of Ego. We like to think we’re experts at everything, but this kind of thinking could lead to either too much direction (micromanaging) or too little (only handling one aspect, and one aspect only of building a brand’s message). Instead of emphasizing your expertise, think about what role you play in the larger structure of the company and the story. What gaps can you help fill in on your team? Where would your expertise best be suited outside your role? Of course, communication plays an important role in figuring out where you need to really own your strong suits and where you can help out other departments. Once you’ve said goodbye to ego, you’ll see that silos were actually keeping you from true collaboration.
- Evaluate Together. Sure, Kevin in strategy and analytics might be the one who is keeping track of your story’s results and delivering reports, but your team shouldn’t just count on Kevin for the low down. Just as a story’s creation begins as a team, it should end as one, too. Of course, your analytics department can own its reporting procedures and drive discussion, but the whole team should be involved when talking next steps and what results actually mean. In fact, you might find someone on your team has a great idea for how to amp up social media views because of a trend they saw on their personal accounts. Another person might know the perfect way to incorporate sensitive or personal information into a story because they’ve gone through something similar. You never know when your company’s best assets (the team!) can provide even more than you’ve asked.
- Get Social. Get to know your coworkers? You heard us right! The best way to understand who someone is and how they work is by actually spending time with them. Schedule some one-on-one time like a coffee chat or a lunch meeting. Go out for happy hour. These simple bonding activities will help increase communication between your team and make sure that everyone feels they’re entering a safe space. When you know your coworkers, you’re more likely to understand the important role they play in your company as a whole and the great assets they bring to creating and pitching stories.
At the end of the day, your company isn’t a farm, so forget the silos. Opting for some good, old-fashioned communication and collaboration will actually help drive your stories from start to finish. The best part? Success is truly a team effort.