Have you ever worked someplace where you feel totally disconnected and unengaged? It usually leaves you feeling “blah” and apathetic and, quite often, stems from a lack of great internal communication.
There is no substitution for the real deal, especially when it comes to the workplace. Employees make up the foundation of any organization. When their interest and loyalty wavers, so does the entire tower of the company.
If executed well, employee newsletters provide an effective way to create employee engagement. In this, “Ultimate Guide to Creating the Perfect Employee Newsletter,” you will get information, tips and examples to help you start creating your own perfection!
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” – Lee Iacocca
1) Know your audience. They are your employees. I am sure you have all heard (ad nauseam) the importance of “knowing your audience.” When your audience is made up of the backbone of your company, this is no less important. By taking the time to discover their needs, desires and interests, you can tailor the content to be directed towards them.
Mario Almonte, a partner at Herman-Almonte Public Relations, handles PR for businesses, including the creation of employee newsletters. Almonte says,
“If done correctly, a newsletter can boost morale and motivate employees….make them feel like they’re part of a thriving team.” (1)
2) Recognize your employees. Create a “spotlight” section each issue.
What’s the fastest way to get someone’s attention? Make it about them. As with your customers, employees like to read about themselves. St. Mary’s College created an alumni profile section to feature/spotlight different alumnus each issue. This works because people within the organization see a familiar face who is “one of them.” Plus, in next issue the spotlight might feature them. By using this B.F. Skinner random-reward-schedule, an employee spotlight or feature section in your newsletter will peak the interest of your readers.
3) Keep it short and sweet. This is not the time to write your company version of “War and Peace.” Most likely,the blood, sweat and tears you put into your great masterpiece will become fast friends with the delete button. In the age of content overflow in which we live, people just don’t have the time to read most lengthy articles.
4) Make it easy to navigate for the busy reader.
Not only are people too busy to read long articles but they are too busy to deal with complicated navigation. Confusion is a luxury we don’t have time for anymore. Ragan Communications, a publisher for corporate communications,created an employee newsletter for Duke University. (2) As you can see, even with a virtual smorgasbord of stories, the navigation is crisp, clean and has a natural flow to it.
5) Pay attention to layout and format. The “Duke Today” employee newsletter (above) is also a nice example of layout. The colors, the image-to-text ratio, and the use of boxes to contain different elements all play a role in easing the user experience. It is not just what you say, but how you present it that determines your newsletter excellence.
6) Be creative. Think beyond text. Incorporate images, graphics and video.
Gone are the days of text-only online publications and, these days, most folks are savvy enough to include images as well. We drank the “print is God” Koolaid for many years and we are only just beginning to let go of our death grip on that particular security blanket. The Mayo Clinic included this eye-catching graphic in their employee newsletter to illustrate some internal statistics. (3) More and more, we are opening our minds to the possibility of including video, full-screen video background, graphics and more within the body of our employee newsletter.
7) Edu-tain: be 80% educational, 20% entertaining. While first and foremost, it is important to inform and educate employees through a company newsletter, a little entertainment goes a long way. I like the 80/20 rule because it leaves just enough room to include things like humor, cartoons, trivia, even inspirational quotes. And, remembering that this is a digital publication, some of this lighter, non-confidential content is even more fun if it can be shared on social media. Bonus: your employees will be doing PR work for the company without even realizing it!
8) Be interactive. Include one-question surveys, contests.
Employee newsletters are not a one-way street anymore: the conversational flow of traffic runs both directions now that we can include interactivity with calls-to-action. One-question surveys can be answered with the click of a button and contests are a fun way to encourage participation. Stanford University uses this tactic in their employee newsletter, “The Stanford Employee Insider,” a couple of times with a “participate” button to help with a move off-campus as well as by using a link to a quick poll that readers can take. (4)
9) Be consistent with your frequency. How often you would like to communicate internally through an employee newsletter is entirely up to each individual organization. If you create and distribute them too often, you might burn people out, not to mention you may not have something really newsworthy to say each time at such a high frequency. On the other hand, if you let too much time go by between newsletter issues, not only will you have far too much information to cover but employee engagement will have probably waned, to some degree, during the lengthy dry spell. Whatever frequency you decide on, be consistent with it! Mario Almonte advocates for “a monthly newsletter, which keeps your employees engaged but not overwhelmed by company news.” (1)
10) Choose your creation / distribution platform. Last but not least, how are you going to create and distribute this employee newsletter? MailChimp and VerticalResponse are popular go-to email platforms and Campaign Monitor offers A/B split testing. Then, of course, there is our own Readz platform (which I am biased-ly partial to). In addition to distributing as a customized URL rather than an email, Readz offers:
- Drag and drop design creation (no coding!)
- Cool visual effects (like full-screen video backgrounds and parallax scrolling)
- Video integration
- 100% responsive / mobile-friendly
Want to give it a try for yourself for free? Sign up for your 30-day free trial here!
Tweet this: Employees make up the foundation of any organization. Create awesome #EmployeeNewsletters
Tweet this: “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” – Lee Iacocca
Tweet this: #EmployeeNewsletters should “edu-tain” – 80% education, 20% entertainment
Want to revolutionize the way your company communicates? Learn more about creating internal magazines that engage.