On the theme of strategic and measured internal communications we wanted to share another method that we’ve found helpful in our own content strategy. The ICE method allows you to easily grade ideas and plan future content.

Having this process in place helps everyone involved in planning and creating content understand what’s likely to be most effective with each given audience.

After all, you have loads of ideas but how do you know which is the right one and what will work?

We all strive to create great, engaging content. The issue is, however, we don’t have time to do everything, so how do we decide what we spend our time on The ICE Method gives us a better way to do just that.

Watch our webinar on designing kick-ass internal emails here. 

What is the ICE Framework?

The ICE method is straightforward, and as previously mentioned, it has been touted as the 'secret to growth' framework and has been used by big-time marketers (think the people behind products like Dropbox).

The method consists of three basic factors which are intended to rank the growth and potential success of ideas in a startup, but can essentially be applied to anything you do, particularly internal comms content strategizing.

It comes down to understanding the Impact, Confidence, and Ease of any potential campaign or piece of content.

ICE Method for Strategic Internal Comms

    The impact of your content can be graded by simply asking yourself this: if this idea will work as planned, what will the impact be on the goal of the particular message, or overall comms goals?

    A general interest article for your intranet. The ease of writing this might be pretty straightforward, but the impact of a fluffy post may not be as huge as a video starring the CEO. We would rate this generic intranet article as a four or five on impact whereas the video starring the CEO would likely have a score of eight.

    The confidence score is a measure of both how certain you are that this piece of content will have the impact you hope, and how likely it is to go as planned. Will your content 'work'?

    Something you’ve never done before, such as a message on a new social platform like Snapchat or an internal Instagram profile may yield a low confidence score. There's no precedent for success, therefore you have no idea how employees will connect. This isn't to say that the impact of a new platform will be low, but that there is nothing to make a reasonable comparison.

  3. EASE
    The ease score of your content is based on how relatively easy it will be to create, test, post, or otherwise get your piece of content out to employees.

    Example: A video message from your CEO or a viral-like video such as the Mannequin Challenge would require a lot of work: this includes planning, getting video equipment, recruiting extra hands to help out on set, and carving out time from the schedules of c-level executives. The ease of creating this would be low on the ICE method scale and would rank around a 1-2 because of all the moving parts that would have to come together to make it happen. (Note: Scoring this can be counterintuitive since we're scoring for ease not difficulty but this will all make sense once we average the ICE score below.)

Averaging Your ICE Score

 Content Impact Confidence Ease ICE Score/Average
Video Message from CEO 9 10 2 7
Poster 6 4 3 4.3
Intranet Post 5 8 9 7.3
Email Update 7 8 6 6.6


What We Scored This Article

At Bananatag, we've implemented the ICE method for our own external content -- we even rated this article as a helpful example!

  • Impact: 6 or 7
    More and more, internal communicators are interested in being more strategic and tactical in their work — this also goes for content planning. Judging by the success of our similar posts like the 5-second internal email test for communicators we felt that this article would be equally as impactful.

  • Confidence: 8
    Going off of the success from the post mentioned above, we were confident in the value of this piece. Specifically if you’ve gotten this far, you’ll likely agree that the ICE method is applicable to internal communications, easy to understand, and something a lot of communicators would be interested in adopting for their content strategy.

  • Ease: 8
    Compared to other lengthy articles on internal communications we’ve written, this one falls at roughly 500 words and takes a few focused hours of steady work. It's also subject matter that we are familiar with, therefore the ease is relatively high.

Reviewing Your ICE Results

Work in the ICE Method to your regular content meeting. Try adding a few columns to your list of content ideas and adding ICE scores, as well as data from how your content has performed in the past. In your content meetings, you will:

  • Review your data including your internal email (opens and clicks), intranet analytics, feedback and more
  • Plan new tests for upcoming content
  • Review new content ideas and how you would implement them with ICE scores

Use this method regularly and make it a part of your flow.

Everyone uses something similar to the ICE method subconsciously, in almost everything we do — this is just about making it a calculated and visible part of your process. It’s a way to approach content writing with rhyme AND reason, helping to keep everyone on the same page and prove the strategy behind the internal content decisions we make.

How do you make decisions about your internal content and plan for the future? We'd love to hear what your thoughts in the comments below!