Want to keep employees satisfied, engaged, and informed about company activities, all at the same time? Use a company newsletter.
The company newsletter is one of the most effective ways to communicate with employees, share updates, and give people quick, fun tidbits to humanize a business. Internal newsletters are especially effective in companies with multiple offices or remote teams; they help keep everyone on the same page and break down silos that keep entire departments separated from each other.
However, it can be tough coming up with an epic or creative newsletter. So many of your employees already dedicate hours to reading and responding to emails. You don’t want your weekly or monthly newsletter to be just another email that fills their inboxes. You want an exceptional piece of content that energizes everyone, and we’re here to help.
Here’s what you need to know to write an engaging company newsletter.
What is a company newsletter?
Newsletters aren’t just for external audiences. Unlike email marketing for the purpose of generating leads, an internal company newsletter is a creative, informative email that you periodically send to your team members. It differs from typical emails in both its format and its content. Whereas a quick memo is often plain text that discusses one item, newsletters include graphics, share multiple pieces of information, and have much more room for creativity and fun.
An effective and morale-boosting newsletter provides relevant updates about company activities, products, and services in interactive and exciting ways.
Why spend time developing a business newsletter?
You have other duties; your time is already stretched thin! Why take extra time to develop a newsletter that employees may not even read or care about?
When done poorly, company newsletters lack substance. Ineffective company newsletters end up being just a formality; more often than not, they irritate and do not engage employees. However, regular newsletters have the potential to be fun and creative pieces of content that employees look forward to receiving.
When crafted thoughtfully and effectively, internal company newsletters:
- Provide a universal and fun framework for keeping employees informed
- Boost morale and encourage engagement
- Improve trust by increasing transparency about company goals, events, and changes
- Tell stories and build connections between teams, leadership figures, and employees
- Create a consistent culture and a sense of community, belonging, and appreciation
- Act as channels for feedback and ideas from employees
- Reduce company-wide email by serving as a platform to communicate multiple ideas in one place
Internal communications should turn your employees into brand ambassadors and company enthusiasts. Most managers can explain the benefits to that, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. But you’re convinced. (Hopefully.) So, the question then becomes how to make a company newsletter. What do you put in a newsletter? What makes a good company newsletter?
It might seem like a daunting task, but we’re here to help. Follow the steps below to craft the best company newsletter for your business.
1. Identify the Goals for Your Company Newsletter
Just because company newsletters are a great tool for engagement and communication does not mean that you should rush into creating one. Take some time to think out what it is exactly that you want from your business newsletter.
- Is your goal to establish a consistent company culture?
- Do you want to encourage employees by highlighting achievements and accomplishments?
- Are you trying to educate, inform, motivate, or connect employees?
- Are you familiar with what your employees want? Will this newsletter help satisfy those wants?
Identifying your goals ahead of time helps you develop the right content and company newsletter format. Once you’ve put together a list of goals, continue to return to and consult them. Keep your approach fresh and make changes as necessary, but don’t lose sight of the main goals.
2. Become Familiar With Your Audience
The audience is your entire company, but there’s more to it than that. Break down the various personalities and interests in your company, and ask yourself these guiding questions:
What departments exist within the company?
Most companies have people responsible for accounting, human resources, and marketing. Depending on your company, you may have a team for information technology and support, project or program management, business development, or others. What content appeals to these different groups? What types of topics cross sectors and break down barriers between departments?
What are the employee demographics?
Perhaps you have an aging workforce. Or maybe you have a high proportion of millennials. Do you employ a lot of part-time or temporary staff? Do a lot of staff members have families?
Hopefully, your company boasts a healthy balance of individuals with a variety of backgrounds, skillsets, and personalities. Cater your content toward the various demographics and create a climate of diversity and mutual acceptance to bolster your company’s sense of community.
Where are the employees?
Do you have satellite offices and remote workers? Are there team members whose jobs are completely in the field, with little time spent in a cubicle on a computer or phone?
Where your employees work will affect the content you create, as well as overall engagement with your newsletter, so it’s important to have this information ahead of time.
What do the employees want?
The only way to understand an audience is to become familiar with them. Ask questions. Drop by their desks. Send out a survey. Introduce the idea at a staff meeting and ask for feedback.
If the staff seems hesitant, find out why. If team members have preferences for the types of content they’d like to see, find out what those are. There’s no need to go into the process completely blind. Introducing the idea and asking for feedback will help build trust and ultimately strengthen buy-in.
3. Decide What to Include in Your Company Newsletter
There are many ideas for what to put in a newsletter. Depending on the goals you’ve set and the research you’ve done on your audience, you may already have some clear ideas. But here is some sample newsletter content you can use:
- Welcome new hires and celebrate work anniversaries
- Create a calendar of upcoming events and activities
- Share staff ideas, best practices, and even lessons from mistakes
- Feature employee spotlights and shout-outs
- Include customer success stories and testimonials to boost morale
- Keep your team up to date with industry trends and company news
- Communicate important announcements and deadlines
Airing on the side of quality over quantity, focus on a few of these items and work to maintain a level of consistency with each edition.
4. Develop Your Newsletter Content Strategy
Newsletters often have recurring columns. Television has regularly scheduled programming. All of this content comes from well-strategized content pipelines that transform ideas into clean, finished products. Internal company newsletters should take a similar approach.
Developing strategies and workflows that work for you will take time. As you’re getting started, you have to learn from trial and error and encounter bumps in the road. But once you’ve identified a routine that works and discovered content that keeps readers interested, maintain it.
Along the way, keep some general tips in mind:
- Keep a constant focus; if you’ve decided to use the platform to share company news, then make sure to place internal updates and happenings in a section near the top.
- Your content should match your intended tone; if you want a lighthearted newsletter, include graphics and short, fun tidbits.
- Be thoughtful with your subject lines and headings. Assume many employees will skim the material, so grab their attention early on with eye-catching images or compelling copy.
- Consider how the company newsletter fits into your organization’s overall internal communications strategy. You might be able to trim some emails—but remember, newsletters are not a replacement for standard communication.
5. Company Newsletter Design
Come up with a consistent company newsletter format—create a template you can reuse over time. There are many professional email template designs you can look at for inspiration or even purchase to use.
Plain Text or More Visuals?
Plain text is often easier to skim, but visual designs are more interactive—especially if you embed videos and links. Try different combinations of the two and investigate readership analytics to see what works best for your company.
You may include photos, videos, news blurbs, links to blog posts, infographics, staff member quotes, employee stories, and more to spice up your newsletter. For styling, consider using company colors and stick to just one or two fonts to use throughout the piece. Be careful with including too much—particularly with animations and extra visuals like borders.
Don’t just do a quick read through to proofread misspellings and typos. Thoroughly review your newsletter to home in on your organization’s tone and voice—important for establishing a consistent company culture and a sense of community. How your newsletter conveys information will affect how employees react to and engage with the material.
As a rule of thumb, keep sentences under 25 words and paragraphs less than three sentences to help with readability.
7. Schedule a Distribution Frequency
Most businesses tend toward weekly or monthly newsletters. But you have many options: bi-weekly, bi-monthly, quarterly, and so forth. Your newsletter cycle will depend on several factors, such as:
- Do you have enough content to warrant a weekly newsletter? Will it be difficult to get employees to contribute information and stories?
- Do you intend to include time sensitive information in your newsletter?
- Did employees in the audience indicate a preference for how often they’d like to receive a newsletter?
Whatever frequency you decide, keep it consistent. Use a content calendar to plan ahead of time. Decide on which day of each month or week to release your newsletter; having one day when it regularly comes out creates a sense of anticipation and excitement.
8. Measure Your Impact
Gauge your newsletter’s effectiveness to determine what works and what doesn’t. How well are you meeting your goals? Do you need to reevaluate your approach?
There are various qualitative and quantitative metrics you can use to evaluate your newsletter’s performance, such as:
- Employee surveys: What do your employees enjoy reading? What do they usually skip? What content would they like to see more of—or less of?
- Open rates: What percentage of emails you send are actually opened? Do you find that certain adjustments in subject headings or content previews increase the number of employees that open your newsletters?
- Click through rates: How many employees checked out that video? How many employees clicked on a link?
- Conversion rates: How many employees voted in your company’s most recent survey? How many provided feedback or tried out that new online product feature?
Regularly evaluating your newsletters creates a healthy feedback loop to help you continuously improve the quality of the company newsletter. You might discover that your employees click more often on videos than they do on blog article links, or perhaps that subject lines with exclamation marks lead to more open rates. Whatever your discoveries, you will only glean insights that apply to your company through trial and error and deliberate analysis.
Other Tips and Tricks
- Go through your own inbox and see what kinds of newsletters grab your attention. What makes them appealing and engaging?
- Similarly, what newsletters do you ignore? What makes them unattractive?
- Most employees like seeing themselves in the newsletter, so include company pictures, employee spotlights, and shout-outs when appropriate.
- Include an element of surprise. When the newsletter sits in already flooded inboxes, you’ll need to provide additional motivation to get employees to open it. Perhaps this is where you announce employee of the month or the location of a staff retreat. Think outside of the box.
- More and more, people are using their phones to access everything from messages to entertainment media. Make sure your newsletter is mobile friendly!
There is no one-size-fits-all, sure-fire formula for successfully creating an engaging company newsletter. Every company is different, and you’ll need to adjust to your staff’s wants and needs. But our tips form a solid framework to go off of. Build up a solid company newsletter, and you’ll start to see vast improvements in your company’s communication and employee engagement.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Kylie Wolf.