7 Best Practices For An Engaging Internal Newsletter

Managing remote employees has become a new challenge for businesses to address in the post-Covid economy. There is a necessity for robust internal communication systems that engage your teams and boost morale and productivity. Employee newsletters are one tool that you can use to increase employee engagement and strengthen company culture. Internal newsletters are great at keeping staff informed and can contribute to your business growth.

A newsletter is an email that’s sent weekly or monthly and provides updates on important news, announcements, and other essential information for employees. The details about the business shared in an internal newsletter are only meant for your internal audience.

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While newsletters are commonly customer-facing, using them as your primary internal communications strategy can have far-reaching benefits. Sending out a newsletter can help reduce the number of companywide announcements and reduce email clutter. They are essential tools for keeping employees informed, especially in larger companies where teams work independently of each other.

Here are some significant advantages of having a newsletter:

  1. It implements your commitment to transparency. An organization that shares information is one that’s open and honest.
  2. It keeps everyone informed of necessary changes, so no one feels left out.
  3. It creates understanding between disparate teams.
  4. It ensures crucial messages don’t get lost or forgotten.
  5. It’s a fun way to share your company culture and emphasize your business priorities. For example, the importance you place on being a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Creating an employee newsletter that makes employees love their workplace, especially in an environment where most employees work remotely, is a tall order. It takes consistent planning, careful execution, and a thorough understanding of what your employees want to read. Follow the 7 best practices below to create an awesome internal company newsletter worthy of being read by all your employees:

1. Make It Visually Appealing And Interactive

Your aim is to develop content that is engaging, well-structured, and attractive. Information needs to be presented compellingly, and for that, you need to focus on design and content. Ensure sure your news is well-spaced and not crowded with just the right balance of white space.

You could use video elements to catch your employees off-guard. Especially for someone stuck all day in an online meeting, a visually appealing newsletter that catches the eye can be a welcome distraction. Using pictures of your people will allow fellow employees to connect immediately and engage more with the information presented.

In an internal newsletter, you’re obviously not trying to sell anything, but you still need to consider your audience’s needs. Make your content interactive so your employees are more drawn in. You could add elements like surveys and quizzes.

When asynchronous communication channels like messaging services are constantly used by employees to stay in touch with each other, you need to capture your employees’ attention and earn their time. Do not expect them to read the newsletter merely out of a sense of obligation.

2. Use A Conversational Tone

One of the best-recommended practices for your newsletter would be to use a conversational tone. Talk to them as you would in person. If one of your newsletter’s key aims is to create transparency, you can do so by creating a  natural dialogue between you and your reader.

Keep your content warm and slightly humorous without being inappropriate. Jokes make reading fun but can be misinterpreted, so always aim for light, gentle, and workplace-appropriate humor. Make sure you are respectful to everyone, and your tone is empathetic, especially if a part of your newsletter covers any bad news.

No one wants to read an email that sounds cold, impersonal, and boring. A generic email will not garner much engagement or attention. Another great way to entice readers is to use storytelling. Take your reader on a journey.

3. Understand Your Audience

Take time to get to know who you are writing for. Who are your employees? What do they care about? Find out more about the employee demographic using your employee database and craft your newsletter to suit your audience.

Your newsletters won’t be read if you are not aware of who you are writing for. Once you realize what your staff like and what they would like to read about, you automatically increase the chances of it being read. Contextualize information based on your employees’ preferences.

You could also use audience segmentation to make your internal newsletters more effective. Send specific pieces of information to specific parties and filter out articles for those who might find them less engaging. While this might make things slightly complicated, it also ensures that the information is sent only to the people who would find it interesting.

Understanding your audience is critical in making your internal communications powerful. If you run a virtual call center and employees spend 90% of their working hours on the phone, they might not spend much time engaging with their emails. For such employees, you could share the newsletter through a mobile app.

A newsletter is an excellent opportunity to present your news and tie a bow around it. Employees tend to find the following information particularly useful, so make a point to include these if you want your newsletter read:

  • Industry trends
  • Links to company blog posts
  • Employee news, like who got married or had a baby
  • Upcoming events
  • Employee recognition
  • Customer stories

4. Keep It Short And Easy To Read

On average, employees get around 88 emails a day. You have to catch your employees’ attention and grab it from the get-go. If your employee open up a lengthy newsletter, you can expect them to close that email window immediately. To hold the reader’s attention, keep your newsletters short and your language accessible.

You need a minimalistic email design that is clutter-free, and you need to use simple language. The standard rules of effective communication apply here as well. Be clear and concise, and avoid unnecessary jargon.

In the era of call forwarding, mobile phones, the internet, and social media, your employees are mobile and pressed for time. In light of the recent pandemic, they are also now remote. You will lose your audience if you send long and dull newsletters. Make it snappy, enjoyable, and engaging, so they look forward to each newsletter. You do not want them to switch off from all future newsletters after receiving the first and then automatically send them to the junk folder.

You need to get to the point quickly in every article. No one has the time to read 10,000-word essays. Also, think about the loss of man-hours if all your employees spent so much time reading that article! Ideally, your newsletter should be read in 2 minutes.

5. Catchy Subject Lines

Maybe you have spent hours drafting gripping content, but you couldn’t capture your employees’ attention because of a boring subject line. Try to construct unique subject lines that compel the reader to open the newsletter. Intrigue the reader and increase your open rates by choosing subject lines that are catchy but short.

This is the first hurdle. Once you jump it, most of your work is done. An intriguing subject line determines your newsletter’s destination, whether it will get read or be sent to the trash. A strong subject line gives the readers a glimpse of what they can expect from the newsletter. Use some of the best and most interesting articles from your newsletter to craft a subject line that will demand attention.

Readers are 26% more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines. Personalized content resonates better with readers, so try to personalize your subject lines. This will result in an increased click-through.

6. Include A Fun Piece

You could be one of many saas companies or a brick-and-mortar retailer. The truth is your employees are tired of talking about work. Reading about the same old stuff that they go through every day isn’t going to inspire them to open that email. Don’t limit your newsletter to official business.

There are many fun elements that you can add to your newsletters that employees can enjoy and are not related to the daily grind. You can have a section for photos of employee trips or vacations for Christmas or Easter, depending on where you are in the retail fiscal calendar. You could have articles on the personal lives of your employees and share their personal news. You could add in some memes at the company’s expense.

Another fun element to add are quizzes, work-related or otherwise. Other games and crossword puzzles are also a great way to engage employees.

Interviewing change-makers in the organization can create a dialogue that a lot of employees will be interested in. You can help enhance cooperation between departments by interviewing employees from all departments and at all levels. This is especially true for large companies that have departments where people are not familiar with each other. “A day in the life” kind of feature will also break down walls between staff and management.

7. Use Feedback To Improve

While you should be testing out your newsletter in more ways than one, the best way to improve is to ask for feedback. Your employees will feel heard, and who doesn’t like to contribute their opinion?

You could send out a survey with the newsletter or a separate email asking employees what they think of it. Was it engaging? Did they find the information helpful? Would they like you to send it more often? Any sections they would like to see included? Any other thoughts they would like to share?

Take this feedback seriously and use it to make improvements. Hopefully, your employees have elaborated on features they disliked and if there are any common themes in the feedback, focus on those first. A newsletter is an exercise in continuous improvement; treat it like an ongoing project. Keep track of your metrics and how your open rate is improving or if it’s not. You could use project management software alternatives to Trello to track this project.

When employees realize that their feedback was incorporated, they will feel heard and valued and they are more likely to open and engage with the newsletter.

Solidify Your Internal Communication Strategy

An internal newsletter can be an effective tool to boost employee productivity. It creates an internal brand voice and can help win employee trust. Harness the power of knowledge-sharing and use your internal newsletter to inform and engage employees.

Create captivating content that stands out from other newsletters. Your newsletter has the potential to be the most promising tool in your internal communication arsenal. If you develop the content properly and follow the best practices listed above, you can create something your team actually looks forward to reading.

Celebrate your organization, its achievements and put staff accomplishments at the center of your newsletter. Your brand storytelling should not be limited to your marketing strategy for customers. To keep employees engaged, productive, and energized, you need to sell your brand to them too. A newsletter is the easiest way to turn your employees into enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

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