Case Study: Internode

Posted on 09/04/2024 by Karen

Internode's in-house media team had a problem

Internode had an in-house media team which produced information about their services for their website, brochures and more. They were very capable of writing their content, and had done so for years, however they realised they now had a bit of an issue. All of their staff were very tech-savvy and wrote accordingly. Meanwhile, over the years, their target audience had changed.


A new target audience meant new language was needed

Internode's customer base used to be 100% IT geeks, but as the company grew, they attracted a new type of customer and now their target audience was split 50/50. Half were IT geeks, and half were regular mums and dads who just wanted good internet for their home. They weren't geeks, and they didn't understand geek-speak. Hence the issue.

The head of Internode's in-house Media Team, Tom, decided that they needed to get an in-house copywriter. Someone who was not a tech writer, but who could write in layman's terms so that their information would be easy to read and would be understood by the mums and dads who weren't technically minded.


The hunt for Internode's non-techie writer was on

When Tom told his staff what he was going to do, they were totally onboard. In fact, the two staff members who would be working closely with the new writer did not want to know who Tom had short-listed to bring in. They wanted to do their own Google search and find the writer that they thought would be best.

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted and then met up with the three of them, at Cibo Rundle Street, Adelaide for an informal interview. I was very happy to hear that all three of them had short-listed Copy with Cream. Me :) Then I immediately panicked...

I told them I was not a techie writer and had no idea about how to write about IT. But instead of showing me the door, they told me that was exactly what they were looking for. Thank goodness, because once I started working in-house at Internode, I quickly realised (and used to joke) that I was the only person in the building who did not understand exactly what they did.

In fact, by the end of my first afternoon there, I was introduced to the term 'PEBKAC' and realised it was me. (For the uninitiated, PEBKAC stands for 'problem exists between keyboard and chair'.) Luckily, I have a good sense of humour.


I was the one who asked the dumb questions

Questions such as... "What on earth is a mirror-server and do we have to mention one in this brochure?" No, we didn't. And that was the beginning of a beautiful working relationship.

For 8 months, I went in one afternoon a week and worked with the Internode Media Team to produce information for their web pages, their brochures, ads and more, including scripts for their telephone on-hold messaging system, for that guy with the lovely deep voice.


My last job for Internode was to do myself out of a job

After 8 months working together, the team realised they needed to have a writer in-house full-time, not just one afternoon a week. They offered me the role, and I was very grateful, however I sadly had to say no because I knew it wasn't for me. For the full-time writing role, they really needed someone a bit techier than me. And as a freelancer, I needed to have variety in my work, which I believe makes me a better writer. And a happier one, too.

My last writing project for Internode was a job description to replace me. I was rapt that my boss, Tom, stopped the HR department from removing the phrase 'prima-donnas need not apply'. The job ad I wrote for Seek attracted over 70 applications from all around the world. I was asked to short-list a few candidates and was rapt again that my short-list matched theirs. My job here was done.


A part-time in-house writer was the perfect test

Going from no in-house copywriter to having a full-time in-house copywriter was a big step that the Internode Media Team didn't know they should take. And, back in the beginning, they didn't really need a full-time, in-house writer. The job evolved as we went along.

For Internode, having someone come in on a regular basis, once a week, allowed their staff members to begin to rely on that writer, put jobs aside especially for them, plan projects that could include them, and expand the role as they realised how much a dedicated writer could do for the department. Which led to them employing a full-time writer down the track.