Internal & External Business Communication

by Denise Brandenberg; Updated September 26, 2017
Some companies send internal memos out to employees.

Most companies use a wide variety of mediums to communicate with their employees, shareholders, customers and the public in general. The actual communication medium is typically determined by the content and goal of the message. Some organizations hire professionals to manage all their communications, such as media planners, public relations firms, professional copywriters and advertising agencies.

Internal and External Differences

The main differences between internal and external company communications are the content and the audience. Internal communications include employees and shareholders, such as the company’s board of directors or stockholders. External communications include clients, prospective customers and the public. Internal information, such as a company policy change, is typically kept private because the message is either irrelevant to outsiders or simply supposed to be kept private. External messages may include information about new products or about a company initiative. External messages are usually released to gain customers, build the company brand or influence how the public thinks about the organization.

Common Internal Communications

Most internal communication is made up of information passed from the employer to the employee or from employee to employee. The content of these types of communication may include information about training, management changes, policies and procedures and meeting invitations. Some common mediums for these types of messages include emails, memos, internal websites, letters, meetings and conference calls. Shareholders and employees often receive newsletters or quarterly reports about company goals and financial information as well.

Common External Communications

When companies want to release information to customers, clients or other outside stakeholders, they use external communications. Organizations use different communication mediums depending on the type and goal of the information. For example, email, print, television and radio ads inform the public about a sale or new product. Press releases are formal communications that can announce a new leadership hire or a company initiative, such as an upcoming charity auction or professional event. Websites are also considered part of an organization’s external communication platform. Some companies even hire media planners to get their company or its information mentioned in news articles.


If you are in charge of planning your company’s communications, choose a medium that fits the actual message. For example, if the information you’re releasing is sensitive or private, you may need to announce it at an in-person meeting rather than broadcasting an email out to all international employees. If your company is having a big sale, you’ll want to use an advertisement to inform the public, rather than the shareholder’s newsletter, to announce the event. Many companies have both internal and external websites that feature the appropriate messages.

About the Author

Denise Brandenberg has more than 15 years professional experience as a marketing copywriter, with a focus in public relations. She also worked as a recruiter for many years and is a certified resume writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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