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Company Newsletter: Watercooler Chat Goes Electronic

Two women and two men talking at a watercooler in an office.

A company newsletter can link all employees, providing a mix of useful and engaging information to captivate readers' attention. Time and money are well invested. According to the Content Marketing Institute, every dollar spent generates an average return on investment of $38.

The standard channel for distribution is email and the most typical schedule is monthly. A professionally produced internal bulletin works best as an internal communication to complement your range of other communication tools.

Company Newsletter: A one-stop shop

The newsletter consolidates employee resources, company updates and wider industry news all in one place. As long as you can successfully persuade employees to actually read it — and that is indeed the key challenge — you can provide a convenient conduit for all that information. It may be particularly helpful for keeping frontline workers in the field and those in home offices aligned with others plugged in at headquarters.

You want to make your publication compelling, so begin by establishing your general purpose and any specific goals. You may choose to use analytics to better discover which topics interest your audience as well as the formats they prefer.

As an overarching theme, you may be reinforcing your brand's storytelling, values and vision. While you celebrate your unique corporate culture, you can also give shout-outs for individual team members' triumphs and accomplishments.

In addition, there is a wealth of important routine information to convey:

  • Events.

  • Milestones.

  • New policies.

  • Initiatives.

  • Job openings.

  • Competitor news.

  • Invitations to training sessions.

  • Surveys and solicitations of feedback.

You can parlay the newsletter into not only a channel for recognition but also for operational support. You should be creating and maintaining a durable archive. Employees will also appreciate it if you are able to streamline their relentless email load.

Ideas for content

The list of possibilities is almost endless. Spark their curiosity! Think of a table of contents that fills in the gaps that the office watercooler conversation may no longer be providing. Career-minded employees will likely start by checking any internal job postings or new-hire announcements (which can include written bios or videos) or access to benefits and perks. Other engaging topics run the gamut, such as:

  • Training.

  • Volunteering opportunities.

  • Event invitations, including RSVP forms.

  • Personal co-worker news, such as fun vacations, birthdays, marriages, births and departing team members.

Here is a good place to highlight any employee safety developments or changes in management programs. Employees are increasingly focused on wellness opportunities, so the newsletter can remind them whom to contact. You may include a human resources section, where you note executive appointments or special messages from leaders to add some inspirational flavor.

It is another function of the bulletin to give a voice to employees. Why not use it to publish any survey results? Of course, you cannot interest everyone to the same degree, so consider organizing sections according to relevant parameters: departments, teams, locations or interests. Even at the departmental level, you can use communication to help break down company silos.

Remember that it will not be compulsory reading, so you must entertain too. Maybe throw in a few seasonal recipes or a joke and a cartoon or two for fun. Some creative-minded employees might enjoy generating and contributing content such as videos, photos or blog posts. They all add texture.

Editorial tips

Here are some more ways to boost click rates:

  • Headlines are critical. Eighty percent of recipients read them but only 20% delve into the body copy. Catchy subject lines are also key, so make them short (60 characters max, so they don't get cut off in mobile inboxes) and personalize them with the recipient's name. If you are adding video, include that in the subject line.

  • Subheads, bullets and bold fonts break up large chunks of text. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, be liberal with images, charts, graphs and icons. But steer well clear of jargon, acronyms, promotional material and run-on sentences.

  • Keep file sizes small and mobile-friendly, under about 102 kilobytes.

  • Maintain a consistent publication schedule.

  • Remember to include a call to action where appropriate.


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