Corporate in-house newsletters have progressed over the years from ‘entertaining’ employees to helping ‘identify’ with the firm. Very often these newsletters are a ‘good to have’ and serve expectations of internal stakeholders as it captures key business stories, policies and processes. As one of the many channels for engaging employees the newsletter’s value and impact can often go unnoticed unless managed, measured and communicated effectively.
In this post I offer a few recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of your newsletter and make it a credible and recognized vehicle of employee involvement, commitment and identification.
- Access: At a preliminary level it will help to know if your newsletter is received by the audience you target. Unless you have a way to track open rates or know the read count (for an electronic version) it can be tough to demonstrate the value and impact of the channel. If you have employees who work at remote sites or are on the move giving access via mobile devices is a must. Knowing how employees access the newsletter on their devices can come handy while making tweaks to the medium of engagement. With a printed newsletter the appropriate placement and promotion can help improve reach and visibility.
- Consistency: Bringing out the edition in a timely manner is as important as just releasing it. Be it a weekly or a quarterly edition, employees expect to receive important company news continually. If you have promised a schedule sticking to it consistently can improve your channel’s credibility over time. With an electronic version the time of publishing is important – ideally sending it when most of your staff is available or likely to open the communication is beneficial. You can gather insights from employee feedback or from your own internal analytics.
- Balance: Employees will expect to see a good mix of coverage from most, if not all parts of the business. Sharing stories that show different dimensions of the organization’s character can help improve acceptability. Also, seeking and increasing crowdsourced content from employees is an excellent way to gain readership.
- Content: Apart from measuring readability use text analysis to gauge language usage that helps improves employees’ identification with your organization. For example, words like ‘we’ and ‘our’ are more likely to build a feeling of community as compared to ‘corporate speak’. Try an audio section for those who prefer to download podcasts and listen during their commute. Provide ways for employees to share stories – an easy to use template with an example to boot. Also consider an Archives section or a Search option.
- Feedback: Nothing can beat asking for feedback and including snippets in your editions – showing what is working for staff and what can be improved. Have a clear and effective method for employees to share feedback, an online survey or an e-mail ID, for example. Involve them in the process of enhancing the newsletter – in focus groups, as part of an editorial council or in a forum to gather key updates from the business. They can also be the sounding board for new ideas and approaches you want to take with the newsletter. Providing a feedback form or a quiz on the content are other ways to measure the success of your newsletter.
- Test: One step that can solve many issues of usability is to get employees to take a tour of the newsletter’s sections and check if it is intuitive and simple to navigate. Designing the newsletter with the audience at the heart of your communication can improve its appeal and reduce your effort in marketing the channel.
Hopeful these tips help in making your newsletter inclusive, relevant and memorable. Keen to know what you think.