If your business has employees scattered across a few locations, or has more than about 50 team members, you may want to think about writing an internal company newsletter. Internal newsletters are a useful way to share information, create a common understanding, and build your business brand in the minds of your team members.
They also are a lot of work! And they can create problems unless their design and implementation strategy is well thought through.
Here are my top 7 tips for writing an internal company newsletter.
1. Work out what you want your newsletter to achieve – what is its purpose. Is it purely to share the views of management, to build teams, to create a social network, to update people on policies or something else? One way streams of information from management are rarely enticing to read by team members – so give thought to how you can include interactive elements.
2. What should be in it? Following on from clarifying the purpose of your newsletter, get feedback from your management team and employees on what they want their newsletter to contain. What information do they want more of or less of in their workplace? What issues would they like to hear more about? What problems with communication do they currently face that the newsletter may be able to address?
3. What format is your newsletter going to be in? If your workplace has one computer to each person, then electronic will work. If you have team members with no access to computers, you will have to look to more traditional print styles of newsletters.
4. How often will it come out? Do you need a quick daily email update, a weekly, monthly, or quarterly edition? The longer the gaps between newsletters, the less fresh the information will be. Whatever your schedule is going to be, stick to it once you start. Make sure there is 100% compliance to the publishing schedule, otherwise you send the message to team members that they are not important, and this change is just like all of the others that started with a big song and dance and ended up in nothing.
5. How long will the newsletter be? Is it going to be a one-page document or run to many pages? In most workplaces, long boring magazines are sent to the lunchroom to be doodled over and flicked through. If you want people to read them – keep them short and punchy.
6. Who is the editor? You need to make one person hold the delegated responsibility for collating the information for the newsletter and managing the production side of things. The editor needs also to have sufficient “clout” to be able to hound people for information and pull rank, if required, to get the information in (in most cases this is not a job for the office receptionist to do in their spare time). The editor also needs time available to be able to complete their role, which may involve changing their other work accountabilities to suit.
7. Who will contribute? If you call for volunteers to contribute materials, you will find Hell starting to freeze over before you get your first edition out. The best option is to give the key areas a regular “column” that is their responsibility to complete and return within the timeframes. Hold each team accountable for their inclusion and meeting their deadlines – and accept no excuses!
One last thing to remember is internal company newsletters should only form one tiny part of your overall communication strategy. And don’t be surprised if your “open rate” for electronic newsletters or “read rate” in print is no more than 50%. That means you will still miss a large percentage of your employees unless you take additional strategies such as Managers referring to the newsletter in their team briefings and including newsletters with their payslips.
If you take the time to consider your communication strategy before you start writing your internal company newsletter, you will achieve much stronger results than if you just start putting pen to paper.