Keeping colleagues informed about company news is step 0 in improving employee engagement. Today, it is essential for a company to keep its employees informed on a weekly or monthly basis about what's happening in the company and for them, in the form of a newsletter. However, it is important to do this in a way that ensures you can actually reach your colleagues rather than ending up in their mail client’s trashcan. In the following article, we've put together some good practices to turn your internal company newsletter into a truly effective tool.
The task of internal communication - especially in companies without a dedicated specialist, where the responsibility often falls to marketing or HR - is often seen as an additional burden, leaving little to no room for creativity.
Even if the widely-cited statistic that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day feels exaggerated in some industries, there is no denying that internal newsletters face stiff competition when trying to get opened. You've probably received corporate newsletters before that had you rolling your eyes at the yawn-inducing titles and skimming the needlessly long text before deciding to automatically delete it after the third time without opening it ever again. You're not alone: typically 34% of corporate newsletters go unread.
However, a well-written internal newsletter is a great way to build company culture and community. It's a good idea to model your newsletter after those used in external marketing, which are crafted by experts after careful planning and employing tried-and-true formats. The following are some suggestions for improving your newsletter's content, utility, and efficacy.
By choosing the right title, you are halfway to success. The subject line is your first and basically only chance to grab the recipient's attention, so it's important to always use this chance to encourage employees to open the letter. The easiest way to do this is to highlight to them what they stand to gain by clicking. For example:
Be sure to stress the summary's potential impact on the reader. For maximum impact, and to account for limitations imposed by various email clients, keep the title to no more than 45-50 characters.
When conducting in-person interviews to study employee engagement, analysts look for statements like "this is how we solve challenges in our company" or "this is how the company solves challenges" when talking about the business. It's not hard to tell which version comes from a more engaged employee and which from one who is less invested in their workplace.
It is important to involve the reader in the wording of the newsletter, so that they feel that the content is really for them. Given that coworkers don't exactly drop literary phrases when chatting amongst themselves, we recommend keeping the tone casual and direct.
It's also a good idea to word your company's achievements in a digestible form that everyone can understand, avoiding the stuffy language typically found in corporate presentations.
While it's important to keep our focus on the corporation's challenges, transitions, and strategic goals, it's just as vital to remember that our employees are, first and foremost, people. That's why it's worth sharing not only work-related information but also content that helps people get to know each other, builds community or makes everyday life easier. For example, you can introduce coworkers who are having a milestone birthday or are new to the company, or you can suggest some fun things for your readers to do on the weekend.
"I much prefer the one I made."
There is a cognitive phenomenon called the IKEA effect, which causes people to disproportionately value, for example, a product that they have been actively involved in making. So let’s ask colleagues to submit their own ideas for the newsletter and involve them in the content creation! This could be in the form of a weekly photo challenge roundup, or a piece of "soft" content that employees provide or write like the aforementioned introductions.
Readers are less likely to read a newsletter from the first word to the last; most prefer to skim through the content first, stopping only at the parts that interest them most. Choosing and/or editing the right image is therefore just as important as well-written text, as it is the first thing that will catch the reader's eye and get them interested in actually reading the content.
It is important that the illustration reflects or complements the content, and in some cases the image itself can become the content: for example, more complex, detailed information is better presented in the form of an infographic. And those who are at the forefront of internal communication know that videos and animations are currently far ahead of static content in terms of popularity on most communication platforms.
💡 Tip: Have the CEO the most important news once a month in the form of a short video that is embedded in a newsletter! And if that's not possible, even a clever or funny GIF can make a significant visual impact.
Always be on the lookout for comments and suggestions about what your coworkers would like to see more of or less of in your content. Ask for feedback and don’t forget to respond and react to these comments and suggestions as well! Having a say in matters and knowing they are being heard is a great way to boost employee engagement in the workplace.
It's important to always send newsletters to employees at the same time and at predefined intervals, because if they know when to expect them, they can make reading them a routine. Based on feedback, it's worth turning popular topics into regular recurring columns to ensure there's content in the email that most people are happy to click on - even when it doesn't appear in the subject line.
If you follow our advice above, you can be sure that the open rates of your internal newsletters will improve significantly. We wish you good luck, lots of clicks and an engaged workforce!