Engaging, fun and social content can help increase the readership of an internal newsletter, but don’t lose sight of your communications objectives. There’s more to a newsletter than “Brides, Babies and Birthdays”.
So what are typical objectives of an internal newsletter?
In general, the objectives of an internal newsletter are similar to those of any internal communications channel; reach, readership /cut-through for important messages, reader engagement and influencing attitudes and behaviors.
Breaking down silos. Employee newsletters can also be a good way to break down silos within an organization by allowing you to share the activities and news from one division across the wider organization.
Reducing email overload. Internal newsletters provide the means to aggregate mass email messages and reduce email overload for employees. The newsletter can contain notices such as; planned IT outages, marketing updates, hr announcements and so on that would otherwise fill up inboxes as separate emails arriving at different times.
Reinforcing other communications. Appropriate newsletter articles can serve to reinforce and promote information and messages in other communications channels such as the intranet.
Element of successful employee newsletters
Successful employee newsletters typically have engaging, fun and social content balanced with relevant business news and insights.
Think about the busy reader. Articles should be presented to the reader as concise summaries or teasers which, if appropriate, allow employees to navigate to more detailed content (within the newsletter, on the intranet or elsewhere).
Search functionality allowing employees to find articles from the current or past editions.
Engaging internal newsletter ideas
A casual tone is usually appropriate for a staff newsletter. Plus regular features and interactivity in the form of reader feedback, quizzes and surveys, and if possible, user generated content, can encourage readership.
Internal newsletters ideas – business related content
- Organizational changes and other important news
- Product updates and developments
- Innovation in the industry
- Competitor updates
- Updates on current initiatives within the business
- “Did you know?” from subject matter experts
- “House keeping” updates such as; use of meeting rooms, car parks etc
- Information on benefit plans and wellness programs
- Latest survey results
- Summary of key internal staff vacancies
- Updates and news. E.g. what’s new on the intranet, performance updates, IT and systems updates etc.
The newsletter can also feature a regular message from the CEO and/or leadership team
This means that employees don’t have to visit his or her intranet page or blog separately (but they might click through to it from a link in the newsletter article).
Even bad news can be appropriate for an staff newsletter. There is little point hiding or sugar coating bad news as it damages the credibility of an organization and can create fear and insecurity for employees. Sometimes bad news, when spoken about honestly and openly in a newsletter article can compel staff to get behind and support an organization.
Internal newsletters ideas – fun / non business content
To increase readership and engagement, an employee newsletter should contain fun and engaging content as well as business content. Here are some ideas for engaging internal newsletter content:
- Competitions / announcing competition winners
- Staff special offers such as discounted gym membership, restaurant offers etc.
- Promoting fun events such as loud shirt day etc.
- “Overheard / on the grapevine” articles
- Health column – how to tips
- Promotion and reviews of staff social events
- Themed articles to coincide with events in the wider community such as; earth hour / non smoking day/ charity events etc
- Humor – Funny signs, typos, memories, license plates – run competitions
Fun content can support business objectives too, for example, stories about how staff are demonstrating the new brand values or working with new systems.
Internal newsletter ideas – ways to involve and engage employees
When employees become actively involved with their newsletter they are typically more likely to read what they and their peers have contributed. Open up the newsletter as much as possible to employee involvement
Here are some ways that you can involve employees in the internal newsletter:
- Run a competition to name the newsletter
- Reader feedback on articles / letters to the editor
- Survey staff results covered in the newsletter
- “Day in the life” of / “interview with” featured employee(s)
- Welcome new hires to the business and farewell those leaving
- Roving reporter / man on the street – e.g. “if you could be a superhero who would you be?”
- Quizzes with small prizes such as movie tickets and restaurant vouchers
- Achievement, employee recognition, congratulations, kudos – this is even better if submitted by employees e.g. a “thank a colleague” section
If possible, implement a way for employees to submit newsletter articles themselves.
Some internal newsletter formats allow employees to submit articles directly into defined category headings (with or without editorial approval). These formats can dramatically reduce the effort required to produce an internal newsletter. Internal Communicators are busy folk who often have to drop everything at a moment’s notice. With user generated internal newsletter content, the newsletter effectively ‘writes itself’ with little management resource or effort.
Internal newsletter ideas – Creative delivery
After all your hard work, an internal newsletter may still end up buried and unread in an employee’s inbox. Be creative about how it is delivered. Here are some ideas:
- A screensaver promoting the latest edition allowing employees to click the screensaver to read the actual newsletter (yes it can be done)
- Latest edition notifications or scrolling headlines on the employees desktop
Monitor readership and evolve your internal newsletter
Article readership is a great way to establish what types of content work (and what doesn’t) for your internal newsletter. Monitor readership, survey readers and continuously improve your newsletter until you have a great internal communications and engagement tool.