Two Tin Cups on a String: Simplifying Internal Communications Online

Two Tin Cups on a String: Simplifying Internal Communications Online

IC in a DW

Internal communications are a great way to keep employees engaged, informed, and excited to be a part of your company. Strong internal communication can have far reaching, positive outcomes, like keeping your employees vested in your company’s success, hungry to help it succeed, and ultimately, creating a culture of advocacy from the inside out.

Oh, to return to the simplicity of two tin cups connected by a string! But let’s face it, today’s content is online and creating a great digital internal publication has its challenges. It needs to be both interesting and visually appealing to the reader as well as easy-to-make for the creator. Efficiency and ease-of-use are key because, as important as internal publications are, spending too much time and internal resources on producing them can be counter-productive.

There are a handful of digital platforms that exist to help you create beautiful, customized and branded content in a fraction of the time it would take for you to create and distribute from scratch. The features and strengths of each platform vary, so let’s take a closer look at which platform is the best for your internal communications purposes.

App vs Publication

The first question is, do you want to create an app or a digital publication? Though apps have plenty of enviable features, keep in mind that newsletters are a form of ephemeral content. They go out periodically, and each issue is separate. One quarter’s information doesn’t replace that of the previous quarter, but it does make it irrelevant to a certain extent. A mobile app is designed to hold and organize lots of content, but the more content it contains the larger it is. By developing an app, you’re putting up a barrier to entry that isn’t necessary.

Using digital publisher, Yudu, the Football Association (FA) published an app that acted as an interactive training guide for its coaches and players. It’s OS limitations require updating, and it’s fairly large size discourages frequent downloads. Additionally, the design can become quickly outdated, and an app doesn’t provide the flexibility necessary to adapt. See a screenshot of the FA publication below: (1)

photo 1

On the other hand, the Readz platform allows you to create digital publications that feel app-like in their behavior, even though they are not native apps. Their suite of tools offers an easy-to-adjust design that is responsive and updatable without needing to resubmit to the app store, and their guided DIY approach means that new issues can be created internally without needing too much assistance. Costa Coffee, present in 29 countries and voted the UK’s favorite coffee shop, used Readz to create and publish its internal magazine to its 10,000+ employees:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.08.47 PM

Keep The Screen In Mind

When creating a digital publication you can’t simply copy and paste directly from an MS Word doc that you wrote an article on, nor can you keep the same formatting as old newsletters. Elements like font size, layout, and image size need to be kept in mind to make sure that users can easily consume the content. Uniflip is a digital publication provider that does a great job of taking print publications and directly converting them to digital, however, very little is done with regards to design and layout. Because of this, much of the text becomes difficult to decipher without some serious scrolling and clicking around (see example below). (2)

photo 3

It’s best to go with a platform that requires you to rethink your content for digital. It might take a bit more time, but the interactions and the user experience will ultimately be much better and your readership will remain engaged. Readz offers a suite of web fonts, grid layouts, responsive design, and visual effects that all highlight content in a way that looks natural when in a digital setting. To get a clearer picture of this, take a look at the screenshot below of an internal communications publication being created in the Readz editor -

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 3.40.07 PM

Social Sharing

Another powerful newsletter feature is social sharing. Though internal communication is rarely thought of as publically shareable material, things like employee of the month, company picnic or holiday party pictures, or job postings are all examples of content that your readers may want to share with friends and family. When choosing a platform, pick one that has an easily integratable share feature so that you don’t have to spend too much time coding them in.

The Readz platform offers a native share tray at the top right of every publication that allows readers to easily share content, without the share button getting in the way or the editor struggling to make sure it works. So, if the parents of Andrew Beliveau want to share his student profile with his grandparents, they can seamlessly. To the best of my knowledge, this integration feature is unique to Readz.

photo 5

Options for creating a digital publication are becoming more and more available to us. When considering which platform is the best for creating your digital internal communications, be sure to keep in mind the obvious: it’s digital! Features like responsive design, instant publishing, the ability to integrate social sharing seamlessly, and overall ease of creation will prove to be valuable deciding factors in whichever platform you end up choosing.

Want to revolutionize the way your company communicates? Learn more about creating internal magazines that engage.


1. The FA and Yudu Launch Young Player Development App

2. E-Magazine, World Cup 2014, Brazil

Feature Photo Credit


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Emilie Futterman, Product Strategist at mcgarrybowen innovation, a product innovation agency based in New York. You can find her on Twitter @saysemilie, on Tumblr, and on a boat.