Communications

Developing good communications

Keeping in touch with your members through regular communications helps with engagement and ensures members are aware of all your latest news, activities and future developments.

By keeping members engaged you will gain more interest for events and activities whilst encouraging people to become more actively involved.

Make sure you regularly discuss your communications at council meetings to ensure they remain fit for purpose; actively reviewing any member feedback you might receive.

An overview of a Communications Officer's typical responsibilities can be viewed here.

All CPD event promotion should include details of the event's date, time and location, as well as a brief overview, learning objectives and a speaker biography.

Timing of your communication can be critical - the more notice members are given, the greater chance of success, so if its an event send out approximately one month before, with a follow up.

Make sure you space your communications out to avoid overburdening your audience which could result in a member opting-out of your e-communications.

Branding

Your local institute brand is a vital part of how you communicate to your members. It delivers an instantly recognisable identity for your institute and ensures all communications are consistent and professional in appearance.

Local institute logos consist of an arrangement of the CII and PFS logos and the name of your local institute.

Your branding is accessible through the TOOLS tab once you log in through the My LI tab.

For further details on how to use your local institute logo and branding download the guide below.

Website and e-flyers

The regional membership team has created a number of web-based tools to help you communicate professionally to your members.

Your local institute’s website is an easy to navigate portal for members who want to keep up to date with your activities.

The home page can be tailored to promote your messages and activities – a great opportunity to display your institute’s personality. To get the best out of your website it is vital that you task one of your council members to ensure information is kept relevant and up to date.

Your website CMS is accessible through the TOOLS tab once you log in through the My LI tab.

E-flyers are the best and most effective way to communicate with your members on a regular basis.

They're easy to create, allowing you to brand with your institute's logo, add appropriate imagery and ensure all key details of your event - overview, learning objectives, booking links, date, venue and associated CPD hours accreditation logo - are clearly displayed.

E-flyers can be distributed at a convenient time, to pre-loaded membership lists - either the whole of your opted-in members, or segmented lists for PFS, new members or younger members.

Your e-flyer system is accessible through the TOOLS tab once you log in through the My LI tab.

Remember to keep font and text size on brand - using varying fonts and text sizing can make your communications look unprofessional and unclear - less is more in this instance. Use relevant imagery to sell your message. More information on e-flyer best practice can be found in the download below.

Social media

Social media is an online communication tool used by individuals and organisations: it’s low cost and, when used effectively, can instantly allow you to connect and engage with your key stakeholders or customers.

Social media may not be suitable for every local institute since it requires ongoing commitment.

To be effective your accounts and pages must be updated regularly (a minimum of once a week) with content that will inform your followers of your key events and activities, and encourage two way communications.

Appoint a ‘social media officer’ to post, comment, moderate, follow etc.
Use your social media to promote your events and council activities.
Ideally have a mixture of planned and spontaneous content so that you are constantly engaging with users.
Build relationships with local / industry opinion leaders so they can suggest / provide content.
Follow other accounts relevant to our profession to increase followers and professional links.

If you chose to use social media as a communication channel for your local institute then our simple Local Institute Social Media guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to set up a Twitter and/or a LinkedIn account.

The Journal

In order to reach a wider audience and promote the successes of your local institute you can submit stories and articles to the CII's national publication for general insurance members - The Journal.

Please note stories and articles to promote your institute can simply be submitted via your Regional Membership Manager.

The Journal publication is distributed to every CII member on a bi-monthly basis.

All readers are either qualified or working towards a qualification, so they see the magazine as a key resource in their learning and career development.

Past issues of The Journal can be viewed on the CII website - The Journal.

Printed collateral

Printed collateral such as regional newsletters or an annual events programme can increase awareness of your institutes local events and activities to your members.

Examples of printed collateral can be viewed below.

For details of production and approximate printing costs, simply contact your Regional Membership Manager.

If you are looking to produce something different to the examples shown, alternative quotes/designs can be sourced from one of the CIIs preferred suppliers.

Once your marketing collateral has been printed, you can utilise the CII Logistics Department to distribute the collateral on your behalf.

Cost of second class postage (reduced rate), envelopes and a nominal handling fee will be charged to you for this service. Personalised covering letters can also be included within the mailing, as long as your institute has a stock of pre-printed letterheads.

Again simply contact your Regional Membership Manager if you wish to use this service.

Segmenting your communications

At the start of each month, the CII uploads an electronic copy of your local institute’s membership data to this site within the DATA section.

A nominated council member, normally the Secretary will be able to access this data. The membership data is supplied in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (.xls or .xlsx file) for ease of use and analysis.

You will be sent two separate files, one detailing all of your members at the start of the current month, and one that details members who have joined your institute, resigned, died or whose membership has lapsed in the last month.

The membership spreadsheet will contain key information on all members that are affiliated to your local institute.

This includes:

Personal information (name, pin number, address, date of birth, contact details)
Professional details (employer, job type, level of role)
Membership information (qualifications held, membership of faculties, chartered status)

This information is invaluable in helping your institute determine how best to serve its members but can also be used to adequately target members with communications that are relevant and fit for purpose.

Key criteria that you may want to identify include:

Split between CII and PFS members
Basic demographic information (such as gender and age)
Level of CII qualification
Faculty membership
Location (place of work and residing address)
Employers

More information on analysing data can be obtained from the membership data guide which can be accessed below.

Media relations

The media plays a big part in our everyday lives. It tells us what is happening in the world, what is new and above all broadens our knowledge.

Working and communicating with the media is a valuable opportunity that can help to raise awareness of our profession, your local institute and the CII.

There are many types of media channels including television, radio, websites, newspapers and magazines.

Before contacting your local media try to research what media is actually out there. Look at what your local radio stations and newspapers are and where they are distributed.

Another important point is to look at what stories are being reported. Take some time to read your local newspapers and examine the types of stories being published. This will give you a good idea of the type of stories journalists are looking for and will help you identify relevant stories that you can then pitch.

Are there any particular journalists who always report on the same topic or subject? Look for someone who is writing stories that fit closest with what you have to say and target them

Press releases can be used to actively promote the work of your local institute and allows you to target both members and non-members.

You may have only 20 seconds to interest a busy news editor so try to sum up the subject or provide a teaser for your event. The first paragraphs should outline the activity answering the following questions:Who? What? Why? Where? When? and How?

The inclusion of a quote from your president will also strengthen your messaging.

Press releases should be submitted on your local institute press release template and should include a title, summary and date. Leave double-line spacing between the paragraphs to make the release easy to read and keep it short and sweet, with adequate margins. Aim for one page of A4 and certainly no more than two.

Write in the active tense rather than the passive tense. This sounds much more punchy and exciting. Use plain English – don’t use long words when short words will do and avoid jargon at all costs. Your press release should be easily understood by someone with no specialist knowledge.

For more information contact your Regional Membership Manager.

Stationery templates

A range of stationery templates have been designed to create a consistent identity for local institutes which reflects the CII brand and promotes a professional way of working for local institute councils.

This includes templates for letterheads, report documents and invoices amongst many others.

Electronic versions of these templates are accessible through the TOOLS tab once you log in through the My LI tab.

FAQ