Why have a company newsletter? To keep employees informed, to foster a sense of community and common purpose, to get people excited about new developments, and to recognize high achievers and employee milestones.
For all that to happen, you have to get people to actually read the company newsletter. It's a particularly daunting challenge for e-newsletters, which can be deleted with a keystroke.
But whether your company newsletter is paper or electronic, here are five quick tips for increasing the chances that your internal newsletter will earn the loyal readership it deserves.
1. All the news that's fit to print, not all the news that fits
If you don't have something to say, why bother saying it? Why should people care about what you're saying? Nobody wants to read filler.
Make your articles:
- Relevant to the audience
- To the point
- Easy to read
2. Name names
To some extent, the company newsletter is a vehicle to celebrate your company's accomplishments and new directions. Just remember, it's not all about your company ... it's about your people, who, after all, are the ones achieving those accomplishments and taking your company in new directions.
And people love to see their names in print. So do their co-workers. Make the newsletter about your employees, and your employees will read it.
3. Tell the truth
Every company hits some rough spots. It's important for companies to acknowledge their difficulties and take charge of communicating about recent developments. Tell it like it is, tell how it's going to be handled, tell what the implications are going to be.
You would rather that employees and other stakeholders turn to the company newsletter for accurate information then remain silent and let them speculate on how the company is going to handle a difficult situation.
4. Headlines should get heads up
What grabs your attention more? "Record sales year for our washer/dryer unit thanks to new ad campaign" OR "New sales spin hangs the competition out to dry"?
Headlines both summarize content and draw a reader's attention. Clever and catchy headlines tend to do a better job of that. Here's a headline from a bastion of serious business journalism, The Wall Street Journal: "Frozen Foods Grow Cold as Tastes Shift to Fresher Fare."
5. Don't get ugly
Visually interesting newsletters attract reader attention. Use an effective balance of:
- Photos (preferably of employees, see Tip #2)
- Regularly recurring features
- Color (use at least one, no more than four) Column widths that are easy on the eye
- Different sized headlines
The trick is to do this while still packaging the newsletter in a familiar, recognizable format that immediately identifies itself as the company newsletter.
All newspapers vary their headlines and column widths for a variety of reasons, but from day to day, USA Today looks like USA Today, just as The New York Times always looks like The New York Times. There's never any confusion about which is which.