Inside the minds of communi­cation teams

AI and content work steal the show this upcoming year - in 2019, communication departments will focus more on stories and careers, while developing IR sections and integrating AI functionalities will also receive increased attention.

This year’s Web Management Survey explored the journey that companies see laid out in front of them for the upcoming year. From reporting to challenges and upcoming trends, the survey covered 60 questions and was filled in by 87 respondents from a variety of companies across Europe.

AI as a trend

Digitalisation continues to be a pressing concern for corporate communications teams and several aspects, such as digital ways of working and regulatory and compliance issues, repeatedly came up during this year’s trend spotting. Other trends that respondents saw as potentially affecting their job in the near future were Artificial Intelligence (AI) and personal data issues.

Even though AI was identified as an upcoming trend, it seems that corporate websites are not yet properly utilising its possibilities. Assisting with tasks in the company was the most common answer when we asked respondents to describe how AI is utilised in their work. A few companies also mentioned piloting AI e.g. the introduction of chatbots or improved content search functionalities. However, according to respondents, AI has not yet taken the leap to being fully integrated in communication processes.

Inhouse teams’ focus is on digital strategy and content

In 2019, inhouse teams will be very much focused on digital communications strategy, publishing, and content work. While inhouse will often work with content and analytics, user experience, visual design, and website development are often outsourced to external agencies - teams will either work together with external agencies or even fully pass the development lead to these agencies.

The division of work is also reflected in the skills that teams want to increase, as respondents indicated that analytics and content production are the areas that they are looking to improve during the upcoming year.

Dissatisfaction with SEO and content

In general, level satisfaction with corporate websites was generally good. However, more could be done in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO) and content. SEO work is currently ongoing in many companies, but satisfaction with these results, as well as with content on digital channels, were not rated as highly as these efforts would suggest - a third of the respondents mentioned that they were dissatisfied with these topics.

In 2019, the highest priority topic for teams seems to be focusing on stories about the company, while careers, IR, and governance information were also mentioned by half of the respondents as points of interest for the year. In terms of social media, press/news and careers content were the most prioritised topics.

Why not have a look through out previous articles to find inspiration on what stakeholders are missing and how to improve careers and IR pages.

Top three highest rated types of content on a corporate website:

  1. Stories about the company
  2. Careers
  3. IR & Corporate Governance

Top three highest rated types of content on social media:

  1. Press/News
  2. Careers
  3. Sustainability

Our respondents

The 137 respondents that took part in the Web Management Survey primarily represented large and medium-sized listed companies, where their roles varied from Head of Communication and IR Manager to Communication Specialist and Web Manager.

Respondents were from all parts of Europe (e.g. Denmark, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, etc) and represented companies such as Metso, Repsol, EDP, Givaudan, Ørsted, SEB and Eni.

Inspiration from peers and networks: not limited by borders

When we asked respondents how they like to keep themselves up-to-date and where they find their inspiration, peers and posts on LinkedIn were some of the most often cited sources, with a high interest on getting an international perspective.

Inspiration gained from sector and professional networks was also high on the list, while other social media channels, newspapers, and magazines were not as common.

Small teams

Respondents mentioned how expectations placed on communications teams are often high, but the resources are not always up to par - prioritising is often a challenge for them. According the to our respondents, teams are also frequently small, with most consisting of 2-3 members that work with the corporate website.

 How many full or almost full-time employees work on your company's corporate website?