Do employees hit "delete" when they get your company newsletter? Here are five tips for creating an internal newsletter that actually gets read.
- Use a newsletter to keep employees informed about upcoming changes and events as well as struggles and successes.
- Use your newsletter to recognize employees.
- The newsletter should inform employees of the future direction for the company.
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.
What is the importance of a company newsletter?
Company newsletters may seem outdated with the prevalence of social media and email, but they play an important role in your company.
Communication is the foundation of any relationship, including your relationship with your employees. You should use a newsletter as a form of communication. Keep employees informed about upcoming changes and events as well as struggles and successes.
Newsletters also foster a strong sense of company culture. What you choose to include in the newsletter says a lot about the focus of the company. Are you transparent? Is there a focus on the employees themselves?
Lastly, an internal newsletter can drive employee engagement, which is crucial to a successful business. Include ways for employees to interact. Add videos or links to social media posts. Provide a forum for employee thoughts and suggestions, and include one of them in your newsletter. Use the newsletter as a way to begin conversations with your employees, and give them outlets to speak back.
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 much rather have employees turn to your company newsletter for accurate information than speculate on how the company is going to handle a difficult situation.
4. Headlines should get heads up
Which headline 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 the content and draw readers' 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 No.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.
What should your newsletter include?
Newsletters are most effective when they include
- Employee recognition
- Education or advice
- A personal letter from the head of the company
- Calendar of upcoming events
- A look to the future
Employee recognition helps make your newsletter relatable and gives employees encouragement and appreciation. There's something special about seeing your name in print and being officially recognized for your achievements.
Be sure to include news that's relevant to your employees. This can include sales figures, bonuses, achievements, and challenges you expect to face in the future. It's important to share your goals and direction with your employees as well.
Education and advice
Include useful and interesting content in your newsletter. Don't treat it like an education seminar. Consider including lifestyle advice and tips employees will find useful instead of only things related to your business.
A personal letter
Employees often have little to no contact with the CEO of a company. Include a letter from the CEO or department head to provide a personal connection with upper management. The letter should express appreciation for the hard work of employees and outline the future vision for the company.
A calendar of upcoming events
Providing a calendar for future events allows your employees to plan ahead. If you choose a digital newsletter, you can provide links to the events themselves. This can help increase employee engagement and keep everyone organized.
A look to the future
Each newsletter should clearly state upcoming plans and goals. Your employees want to know what to expect from the company, and what you expect from them. You can include this in a separate section or make it part of the news or personal letter. Keeping employees informed of the company's goals means they can help you reach them.