How to Create a Corporate Newsletter that’s Actually Interesting
You know that effective internal communication is a huge part of building your company culture. For many companies, a corporate newsletter goes a long way in reinforcing that culture, while also engaging and retaining employees.
But why is it so hard to translate your culture into actual content for your company newsletter? At SCG we have drafted, designed and distributed newsletters via email and print for companies with 10 to 10,000 employees, so we’ve had a little practice at this.
This article is a compilation of our best tips, guidance and ideas for making your corporate newsletter intelligent, interesting and even (gasp!) entertaining. Use these insights to create a newsletter that gets your team talking.
7 corporate newsletter content ideas to engage employees
Use these ideas as a jumping-off point for crafting a template that fits your company. When you pick categories you’ll be able to feature again and again, every issue is easier than the last:
- A letter from the CEO, President or other executive. This section doesn’t need to be written by the same person in every newsletter edition, but it can be. This is a chance for leaders to fill in employees on key business goals or accomplishments to be celebrated.
- An educational blurb. Teach your readers something incredibly interesting or useful—something they’ll want to share with others. This can relate to the company or industry, but it doesn’t have to.
- Employee profile. Tell an employee’s story, their background and how they got where they are now. No need to focus only on what they do at work, but you can include examples of when they have gone above and beyond for the company.
- Business, not as usual. Give updates on R&D, new products, new services, and announcements readers haven’t yet heard.
- Company values. Highlight one value per edition and include examples of employees modeling the value. (If you don’t have values defined yet, give us a call!)
- Photos and videos. Include engaging photos whenever possible, and link to videos of new product development, employees or company outings.
- Something ridiculously fun. A book or movie review, trivia, a recipe, a comic, a sudoku or crossword puzzle—while not all employees have the same hobbies or interests, include something fun that will appeal to your whole company.
What not to put in your newsletter
Now that you’ve got ideas of what you should include, make sure you’re also steering clear of these corporate newsletter “don’ts”:
- Corporate-speak. Is your company leveraging synergies to drive bottom-line results? Do you want to applaud your team members for thinking outside of the box when implementing best practices? All of that is… fine, but if you phrase things that way, your newsletter might put everyone to sleep.
Maybe you use business jargon as shorthand with customers, but the employee newsletter gives you an opportunity to use a more personal and engaging voice, so take advantage and keep it easy to read. Instead of, “The accounting department finalized a robust project,” try, “Sam and Maria in accounting just finished something really big.”
- Short-term financial hiccups. Giving the whole team a high-level view of your financial results can be a good idea if you do it consistently and in an easy-to-grasp way, but don’t share metrics that might unnecessarily cause a panic. Your executive suite may understand that a month of poor results is sometimes just a part of doing business, but entry-level employees might take that as a cue to start job-hunting. Highlight metrics that staff can use to improve their own contributions to your performance.
- Doctored employee questions. Many companies like to include a “Question Box” section in their newsletters, inviting employees to submit questions for executives or HR to address. When done well, this can be a great way to model transparency and show you’re willing to respond to employee concerns. But don’t make the mistake of reinventing the question to sidestep the issue at hand. Editing questions for clarity or brevity is fine, but hiding the issues defeats the entire purpose of inviting employees’ questions.
Make every issue better than the last
How will you know if your newsletter is a success? There are lots of ways to measure. Keep moving forward with these tips:
- Measure with metrics. Distributing your newsletter by email offers metrics that are not available with print. Open rates, click-through rates (CTR) and read times are easily trackable. If your email is 1,000 words and the average read time is 33 seconds, you’ll know that readers have bailed on you.
Metrics for print are more challenging, but you can try posting signs in common areas when a new edition is available and monitoring how many issues remain in the “newsstand” at the end of the period.
- Always make improvements. The best thing about newsletters is they are repetitive: if something doesn’t work in one edition, it can be removed or edited in the next. With modern tracking technologies, it’s easy to know what needs to be tweaked.
- Entice employees to open the email. Use tools such as SubjectLine or TestSubject to write the perfect subject line for the email. Reduce the likelihood that the email will end up in the trash and give employees a reason to click.
- Don’t let it be ugly—good newsletter design transforms. Just because it’s internal doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to look good. Think beyond bulleted lists and bolded headlines. What composition will communicate the information the best?
- Feature new content. Did the homepage of your website, a press release and a company party introduce a new product to your lineup? There’s no need to write 500 words about it in the newsletter as well.
- Consider your audience carefully and create value for them. Does it make sense to have one newsletter for the entire company? Or are multiple editions needed for various divisions? Can you engage staff better with translated editions? Once you’ve figured out who you’re writing for, focus on delivering a consistent message.
Want help making your corporate newsletter stand out?
Creating content for corporate newsletters is a big undertaking, but it’s worth the effort when you get it right. Need some help making sure you nail your newsletter content, and any other internal communications issues you want to tackle? Get in touch with us!