6 Ways to Keep Your Employee Newsletter Engaging

June 3, 2019

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First, the good news: Employee newsletters are not dead. Far from it. Done right, newsletters remain convenient vehicles for carrying important, useful information to employees.

The bad news: If it’s been a while since you’ve revamped your employee newsletter, then you might be losing readers.

As internal communicators, we have to remember that people throughout our organizations are inundated with content every day. There’s no guarantee they will make time to read what we deliver to them, no matter how relevant its contents. Just as brands have stepped up their content game, it’s time for workplaces to do likewise by creating valuable, informative and fun-to-read newsletters that employees will look forward to receiving.

Whether you’re writing for a global corporation with offices that span time zones or a company where everyone works together under one roof, details are what make strong newsletters. Here are a few best practices that will convert your newsletter deleters into readers.

  • Write for the reader: When planning your next issue, think about what’s relevant and interesting to all of your employees. Examples might include company job postings they can share with friends, profiles of employees, birthday and anniversary announcements, or links to important documents and policies. Authentic messages from company leaders also keep folks informed and make them feel valued. Content possibilities are endless.
  • Seek feedback: Make employees part of your content process by soliciting their feedback. Craft simple surveys to learn what kinds of content they will click on and read every time.
  • Remove barriers: Looking at you, PDF attachers! Newsletter content should arrive embedded in the email. Remove the need to click through an attachment. Research shows that the more steps required to get to the content, the less likely to capture a reader.
  • Limit copy: Many employees will scroll your newsletter on their smartphones. Tell stories succinctly and rely on visuals. Embedded videos are popular options.
  • Vary layouts: The classic newspaper-column format has no place in today’s electronic newsletters. Consider a thumbnail look that sells stories through images and lets users select the ones they find most appealing.
  • Measure and adapt: Time is too precious for communicators to continue writing newsletters that no one reads. Measure how often recipients open your email newsletter (a metric known as “open rates”) and how they engage with its contents. Notice what makes certain stories more popular with readers and incorporate your findings into future issues.

Internal newsletters are still a tried-and-true medium for sharing important information with employees and recognizing individuals and teams, but most company newsletters haven’t been updated in years, leading to bored readers and low open rates. By debuting a new concept filled with engaging content, you’ll soon see your newsletter readership rise. 

Lindsay O’Bar, APR

Lindsay O’Bar, APR, works at The Hodges Partnership, a strategic communications firm based in Richmond, Va., that works with clients in a variety of capacities including integrated public relations, internal communication strategies, and content marketing. Reach her at lindsay@hodgespart.com.

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