Employees often have a love-hate relationship with company newsletters. Most employees love the idea of the newsletter and the information each issue provides, but they typically hate the work involved to produce a quality read.
Of all the marketing pieces I’ve developed over the years, both in-house and with clients, the most critical for internal communications is the company newsletter.
I’ve written in-depth on this subject, including why it’s important to produce a newsletter on a regular basis, and steps to take to create a quality product. Organizations need to realize a newsletter is the foundation for all internal communications marketing tools. It should help jump-start other communications methods, such as notices on in-house screens, emails, apps, memos, company blogs, and the like.
Newsletters further act as a historical record — they can be highlighted and used as a reference in company meetings. Plus they are an effective boost for morale. In other words, they are crucial to internal communications.
However, the challenge for most organizations is the time involved in producing a quality publication. Often, the task falls into the hands of one person whose main role is something other than organizing a newsletter. He or she is at the mercy of fellow employees and executives who promise to contribute, but do not always follow through. The objective starts out with enthusiasm, but eventually wanes. The product has a slow demise until it ultimately falls into oblivion.
That’s why most newsletters come and go, arrive again, disappear, and are consistently inconsistent. Newsletters are only fun when everyone involved recognizes the importance of the written content and is willing to contribute on a regular basis.
Why have a newsletter staff
The best way to achieve a consistent, quality, and impactful newsletter is to have a newsletter staff or team. The members of that team can be internal or external.
The advantages to an internal staff include using people who are close to the organization, can rub elbows with employees, and understand what is happening within the company. The disadvantage is the possibility of losing objectivity because the staff members are too close to the subject matter and the people involved.
An external team can be more objective, plus often offers a cost advantage to the company, thanks to streamlined processes. External team members can also bring more extensive experience with the medium. The disadvantage is, the external team still needs assistance from inside the company and is dependent on its contact(s) for pertinent information.
In either case, the newsletter staff’s priority needs to be the newsletter, recognizing how critical it is to internal communications. Therefore, team members must be equipped to know what goes into producing the newsletter, to find the stories that meet the goals of the newsletter, and to shape the content to highlight the company’s culture.
Ultimately, a newsletter staff does not have other distractions and can produce a newsletter that would rival even a professional magazine. Staff members are people who have an eye for a good story. They keep in check the company’s image and brand; and most important, they produce material that shares pertinent information internally. They need to boost morale within the workplace, and they know how to do it.
Who should be on the staff
Whoever is leading this particular team needs to be organized and know how to work well with all levels of the corporation. He or she will be working closely with top executives, managers, and employees.
The newsletter team manager should also have a keen sense of what makes a good story, and why it’s needed for the newsletter. He or she needs to understand people, and how the newsletter will shape attitudes and build trust within the organization. Employees need to know they are receiving information to help them build trust in the company they work for. They need to be kept up to date on benefits, changes within the organization, and upcoming opportunities. A team manager is aware of all of this.
The number of people on the team varies according to how many newsletters are produced and what the company leaders expect of the publication.
At a minimum, the newsletter team needs decent writers, who are creative and know how to edit. Further they must know how to interview and talk with people of all levels and backgrounds.
A designer and a photographer are worthy additions to the team, thereby ensuring that the newsletter offers quality images to capture the essence of each story.
Ultimately, the task of producing a newsletter should never fall on one person and never be the responsibility of a particular department, such as human resources; nor should it be designed and created by an administrative assistant. Newsletter organization and production requires a skill set that can take many years to hone.
Who should contribute
The company newsletter involves everyone within the company — which means everyone has a part in contributing to the newsletter. Executives and management should, on a regular basis, have a voice in the internal newsletter, and this task can be shared among them.
Employees should also contribute to keep coworkers up to date on ongoing projects, goals, and upcoming events related to their departments. Other events happening within the company should also be included.
The newsletter staff will help with creating content, but they should also assist employees by suggesting ideas for articles and working with the employees to shape those ideas into a quality piece of writing. The staff can also help the employees meet the newsletter deadlines.
I’ve written before about how imperative leadership’s attitude is toward enthusiasm for producing and contributing to the company newsletter. Unfortunately, even if the organization views it as important and tells their employees to contribute, enthusiasm cannot be forced. But it is contagious…
When executives, managers, and leadership see the value in this communications tool for the company and the employees, only then will they be successful in allowing their excitement to rub off on their teams.
And in return, when the content is of high quality — when the material is pertinent and useful, in addition to well written; when employees realize the value in what they are reading because the information is useful to them and even enjoyable to read — only then will the newsletter be successful, because the employees will want and expect more.
A tool to boost employee morale
Do you know the most cost-effective way to help employees build confidence in your company and at the same time, boost morale?
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