When it’s time for your company newsletter, do you hear groans? Do you roll your eyes at the agonizing thought of slapping the information together in your Word template? Do you wonder why you go through this task every month?
Feelings regarding the company newsletter are varied. Some are enthusiastic about their company news and look forward to sharing that with employees every month (or week). Others start out excited, but because of mounting pressures and responsibilities, no longer have the time to devote to a project that now seems insurmountable. Still others feel the company newsletter is an outdated method of sharing company news they’ve already heard. Or they don’t have the desire to read through stories that they feel mean nothing to them.
Does the company newsletter carry any weight?
Is your newsletter necessary?
If it is important, do you wonder at the lack of readership from employees?
And can you heighten enthusiasm for the company news?
Why it’s needed
In short, the internal company newsletter is your core information center.
Your newsletter is the top way your organization should compile and share information with your employees. It is your ultimate internal document read. This is the document that updates employees on changes, policies, personnel and the inner workings of your business.
Your newsletter should be used to emphasize your culture and your brand. This is a statement of who you are as a company and how your employees fill that vital role of sustaining what you represent.
And it serves as a morale booster as employees are invited behind-the-scenes to get to know their co-workers and leadership, and gain a deeper understanding of the company.
Reasons no one is reading
While there is a number of reasons your employees are not reading the newsletter, and not all will apply to your business, here are some of the top issues:
1. Management lacks enthusiasm for the company news.
Employees will follow the example their leadership and management set. Leaders, executives and management must first understand why the newsletter is important to the company’s goals and strategy. Management must read it and encourage their employees to do the same. Management can also foster enthusiasm by highlighting elements in the current and past newsletters, and use the articles as teaching tools.
2. Employees do not have access to it.
Know your internal audience and the methods they use to get their information. Some have access to a computer; others gain access only through their smartphone. Still others might only see it on your electronic screens as they happen to pass by. And there are the few who might not access it through electronic means, but prefer a paper copy.
Make sure everyone has access to the newsletter, even though that means a little more time in formatting it to fit the readership needs of your employees.
3. Your newsletter is dry and static.
One challenge that shuts down newsletters is this: boredom. Internal newsletters should not be doomed to be an information dump to republish office memos or the updated technical manual.
Instead, have a line-up of your employees who are decent writers to submit articles. Have them write in their own voice. Use experiences that are specific to your company. Important information can still be interesting when written as a story, first-person (personal) account, and in a way that is useful to other employees and departments. The original and new content is about helping employees understand how to be productive and feel useful in their role.
4. Your newsletter and articles are too long.
It’s sad to say, but not many people read as much as they used to. We don’t have time to read a novel-sized document during working hours and are usually not excited to spend our lunch break reading more about work.
Your newsletter should have a limited amount of pages with articles people can read in under 60 seconds. Or for your online newsletter, present it with highlights of each article readers can link to according to their interests. Most people scan headlines and will read what interests them, but don’t make the reading a daunting task with too much information. Use photos to create pleasing visuals and to break up the text.
And avoid making the font small just to cram in more information. It doesn’t fool anyone. It just looks crammed.
5. It leans toward corporate image and away from your people.
While it’s true the company newsletter should be focused on brand and highlight your products and what you represent, if it’s only about the company and its executives, employees will tune you out.
People are drawn to stories and events that they can relate to and are real. They need to see themselves – sometimes literally – in the newsletter. The newsletter is an opportunity to share employee stories with other employees. It’s a door to understanding the bigger team and to feel connected to one another, even if oceans divide branches. Market your external news to your consumers and customers. Dignify your employees with the human factor when it comes to your internal news.
6. You send it too often.
You’ll have to decide what works for your goals when it comes to how often you send your newsletter. Whether monthly, bi-weekly or weekly, it depends on your people. The point of your newsletter is to connect your employees, not push them away with information overload. After awhile, employees become “numb” to the latest newsletter reminder and won’t look at it.
Consider too, whether the information you are providing in your newsletter is pertinent or if it’s fluff. Can some of your important information be communicated via a letter to management to share with employees? If you feel the need to send it frequently just to cover all the company information, you’ll have to scale back.
7. It is mismanaged, riddled with errors, and aesthetically unappealing.
The team in charge of the company newsletter needs to be consistent and a driving force behind the newsletter’s importance. Leaving one person in charge of the company news can be daunting. And if that person leaves the company, or changes positions, your internal newsletter is left in limbo.
Your newsletter team can be within the same branch, across multiple branches, or using external sources. When a newsletter is sent on a whim or periodically and is simply inconsistent, employees will not see its importance.
If articles contain errors, i.e., misspellings, factual inaccuracies, or grammatical mistakes, employees will not build trust in the newsletter and instead, will be loathe to read it.
And while the content is the most important factor in your newsletter, the design is equally important to excite others to read it. Employees are initially drawn to the design. If your newsletter looks as if it was designed in Word, and/or contains the above-mentioned errors, your employees will not see the value in what they are reading because in their eyes, neither do you.
For more on this subject, check out these articles:
“Why internal newsletters are a boost for morale”
“How to have great content for your company newsletter in 7 steps”
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