Intrapreneurs build new value within organizations. They envision how things could be different and pull in the resources to make it happen. While it can be super tempting to just put our heads down and get the work done, sometimes the success or failure of your internal initiative can rest on your marketing.
Part of persuading people to change is sharing value and consistently reminding them what you’re working on (and that you exist). If you’re a current or aspiring intrapreneur, here are 15 options of marketing channels for sharing your knowledge, approach, and progress with others. At the end, we’ll talk about ways to do this without spending a lot of extra time and effort.
1. Status calls
Whether your organization loves meetings or only communicates once a week, most groups of 2+ people involve status updates. This is a good place to share your progress or what you need from others. This forum is best for quick updates and requires minimal preparation because the meeting’s already scheduled with a set audience. Sometimes you might be able to send your bullet points ahead of time or delegate someone else to attend to save some time.
2. Email newsletters
Email updates are another way to share regular, relatively short updates. Provide a bulleted list for easy scanning, and make sure that people know whom to contact to learn more. Try a weekly or bi-weekly email update to avoid spamming people. If your group already has an email newsletter, send some updates ahead of time to the manager of the list.
3. Weekly strategy meetings
Setting up weekly meetings focused on strategy will create a good place to cover more in-depth topics, give presentations, discuss opportunities and problems, brainstorm, and plan. Putting them on the calendar as a recurring meeting will help to avoid falling into non-stop tactical work (or firefighting). Keeping it limited to 1 to 2 hours will also help make sure that your team doesn’t end up in brainstorming phase all week long, with no time to execute. You can also invite guest participants and guest speakers to pull in new perspectives beyond your core group.
4. Slack, HipChat, or other team messaging tools
Share updates and links or create rooms around specific topics you want to promote. These tools can also good for team bonding if you have remote team members. If you want certain people to connect more, try creating a smaller room with only that group.
5. Wiki pages
For a more passive option (great for introverts), describe your process and outcomes on a wiki page for other people to reference in their spare time. Create a “start here” page somewhere so readers understand where to find info that’s relevant for their position and questions. Don’t expect everyone to spend all of their free time reading the wiki, but it can be good to have a place to point people to if they want to know more about your approach and knowledge. Also, don’t forget to share the link to the wiki so people know that it exists.
6. Printed white papers or presentations
For another passive option, create printed versions of your presentations or white papers. People spend so much time staring at screens that they might enjoy a change in format. Making a nice cover page and printing in color doesn’t hurt. Hand them out during in-person meetings for everyone to take notes as you discuss. Or just leave them on everyone’s desk a la Jerry Maguire.
7. Put up posters or notes in public areas
Pick the most iconic visuals you have about your customer, business, technology, or process and print posters. Paste them up in common areas like conference rooms and hallways. People walking by can see what you’re working on (plus it’s cheap office art). If you’re also there brainstorming and adding notes, that’s a good opportunity to start a conversation.
8. Water cooler and/or coffee chats
Don’t underestimate the value of just talking to people you run into. Instead of the typical “How are you doing?” “I’m doing fine” share a summary of what you’re working on. You might get new insights, a champion, or introductions in the process.
9. Networking events (formal) and happy hours (informal)
Both types of events are good options for sharing your vision and what you’re working on. Match your approach to the venue and audience, and whether you’re going for breadth of awareness or depth of relationships.
10. Brown bags
Brown bag meetings are named because people tend to hold them during lunch time so people can learn about new topics while refueling. Generally structured like a seminar, these are good to bring out every once in a while, when people are craving a break and some new ideas. Think monthly unless you can get a group together to hold a series of brown bags on different topics. Good topics to cover are processes, case studies, or general information about your customers, business, or technology. Usually, they’re advertised to a large group and attendance is optional so be aware that you might have a mix of beginners and experts in the crowd.
Workshops are a great way to help people accomplish something while learning about your process and worldview. Rather than a lecture-style class, focus on solving a problem or creating something of value by the end of the session. Sometimes learning by doing is the best way for new ideas to sink in and for you to gain new champions for your cause.
12. Pitches to internal media groups
Expand your internal reach by finding the internal media or communications groups and providing them with sound bites. They are often looking for content to share and already have the channels and policies set up. If you reach out with some bullet points and story ideas, they can help you shape the content to be more impactful while fitting the organization’s guidelines.
13. External posts
You can also try sharing information externally by blogging or posting on other platforms like LinkedIn, Medium, or Twitter. It could help expose your message to other people in your company or industry that are not necessarily on your project. Be careful about how many details you share given the nature of your work. Depending on your organization, you might need to tailor your message to be more generic.
14. Communities of practice
There are probably a lot of associations and domain-centric groups that you could reach out to within and outside of your organization. This approach is similar to external sharing but you’re limiting the scope of the audience to people with specific interests and expertise. Case studies can work really well in these forums.
Every once in a while, your organization might hold much larger meetings like all-hands meetings, release planning, or retreats. Those are great opportunities to share your work with a large and engaged audience. Volunteer to speak if it makes sense for your initiative and if your message adds value to the audience. Sometimes even a 10-15 min speech can pay huge dividends because you’ll get your cause in front of new people and you’ll be seen as a leader in the organization.
If your first reaction to this list was, “Who has time for all of this?” I get it. Doing the work can be a full-time job, much less spending time creating materials to share with others. My recommendation would be to start with any communication channels that already exist between you and your target audience. You might need a couple if your mission requires influencing multiple groups of people, like clients vs. team members. Focus on refining and spreading your message through one to two channels and shift direction or add more from there.
Another time-saving tip is to look for ways to reuse what you’re already creating. Look at your notes, visuals you create during the process, key insights you pull out, presentations, etc. Is there anything in there that you can just copy and paste for your updates? Consider tweaking your deliverables to better resonate with the audiences you are trying to influence. For example, does your executive summary cover what the executives need to know to make decisions? Is your supporting information organized in a way that is educational or actionable for team members and partners who need to work with you to execute the change? The goal is to be creating the marketing materials as you do the work. Then all you need to do is share links or copy/paste into newsletters or presentations.
Excited to level up your internal marketing? Which approach or combination of channels will you choose?