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Internal newsletter: What do employees want to read?

Although it has usually been in place for many years, the internal newsletter must reinvent itself in order to survive in the presence of other internal communication channels.

Whether it is sent via email or as a print version, the newsletter is a way to reach all of the employees, according to a predefined schedule. It is completely part of the relation between the employees and the company: it contributes to the making, and the development of a common culture.

This tool must then be able to meet 2 objectives, one serving the other. It aims to inform and spark interest, in order to promote the values and the culture of the company in the background. But in order to achieve this, the newsletter must first be read.

A structured and well-designed newsletter 

In order to be appealing, your newsletter must be built in the right way. Indeed, even if it is filled with very interesting content, remember one thing:  the employees do not have much time to allocate to it. They have their own tasks and responsibilities, so you must ensure that your content is easily accessible.

Get the reader’s attention

Here are a few check points for this:

  • Offer short content
  • Transform your titles into punchlines
  • Bring the best information to the top of the page
  • Insert beautiful images, they are essential to catch the reader’s eye and attention
  • Avoid any jargon or technical terms

If some topics need to be developped further, then give a summary with a “Read More” button. This way all the readers will have the most essential part of the information.

How many people read a newsletter also depends on the frequency of the sending. The time it is sent out is also important!

Vary the formats within the newsletter

Offering several types of content within one newsletter will help to keep the reader’s attention. So remember to alternate texts, videos, photos with descriptions… You have lots of options! Infographics is also a great way to synthesize lots of information into a visual that is clear and easy-to-read.

Alternating the formats is even more important when it comes to newsletters that are printed out, and especially if those are intended for the non-connected staff. If this document is one of the only ways for them to keep up to date with the news and values of the company, then it is even more important to make it as attractive as possible so as not to loose that precious link with them.

The topics of the newsletter

Employees will not read the internal newsletter only because it is presented as the official voice of the company. They must feel concerned or intrigued by the information that is brought forward.

One or several newsletters?

The topics to talk about depend largely on the target audience. The employees who are not connected need to be informed about the latest company news. Managers need to know about the upcoming milestones so that they can prepare their teams. You may then have to set up several different documents. In order to help you with this, Ragan suggests 10 possible objectives for your internal newsletter

It all depends on the size of your company, the way the information flows, and how easy it is to access the different communication channels for all of the employees.

Make the reader feel concerned

The key is to make the newsletter relevant to the reader. Even if you have to keep your employees informed about the main news of the company, these topics are not the ones that will make them read the whole document.

Try to find content that is useful to the reader, such as information about employee savings or the opening of new services on a site. You should also focus on information that highlights the role of a department or a team in the success of a project. Employees will thus see the importance of their role within the company.

Generally speaking, you can transpose the principles of content creation to the newsletter, that are highlighted in this article from Alive with Ideas.

Highlight the people

Employees expect that the newsletter will give them a new vision of their company. Therefore, you can offer portraits, reportages on sites located in far away countries, special articles on charitiy or sport related actions led by the employees themselves.

The format of the newsletter enable you to take some (relative) distance from the corporate tone that is often required by other medium. They can be the opportunity to offer more original content. You can even dedicate a section to content that is created by the employees themselves

Eventually, in order to improve your newsletter constantly, there is only one solution: setting up performance indicators. They will allow you to adapt your content and the formats to the expectations of your readers.