Corporate communications and marketing

How to create an employee newsletter people will want to read

December 2020 Written by Papirfly

It’s difficult to hear the words employee newsletter without suppressing an eyeroll. 

But in the wake of workplace shake ups and reshuffles, there’s a genuine opportunity for employee newsletters to add real value, and provide an integral corporate communications channel for both employees and external stakeholders. 

If you’re no stranger to stuffy email updates and dated four-pagers, then a little bit of planning, creativity and careful thought could help your employee newsletter shed its uninspiring reputation and take on a whole new lease of life.

Why you may want an employee newsletter

While most people consider newsletters as a great way to keep customers up-to-speed with what your brand is up to right now, extending this approach to your employees can carry a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Keeping everyone on your team informed about the latest developments 
  • Creating clarity between departments and fostering communication between employees
  • Connecting employees to your brand values, vision and voice
  • Consolidating many piecemeal emails into one, to create an easily digestible news source
  • Inspiring social advocacy among your employees
  • Ensuring that key messages, events and updates are not lost in email threads
  • Instilling transparency within your organisation, gaining employees’ trust in your brand
  • Boosting employees’ feeling of recognition as part of their organisation

Through these benefits, employee newsletters can play a major role in developing workforces that feel informed, appreciated and united, and subsequently make them more likely to feel motivated to be part of your brand.

Does your employee newsletter have a purpose?

Before you start putting together your employee newsletter, first you need to consider if it’s needed.

If there isn’t much company news to share, or you have found other means to share updates frequently with your team (potentially through video conferences or face-to-face meetings), then an internal newsletter might be a waste of resources.

Similarly, consider the size, scale and geography of your team. If you are part of a small, more close-knit business, it’s likely you can inform people about relevant company news and events personally. For larger, global organisations, a newsletter is often a more practical and efficient way to send this information to employees worldwide.

So consider the following to determine how effective an employee newsletter would be within your organisation:

  • Do you have a lot of company news and successes you wish to share on a frequent basis?
  • Is it impractical to share these updates face-to-face or through other internal communication channels?
  • Are you concerned about company culture or how employees are engaging with your brand?
  • Do you want to increase the reach of your brand values among your team members?

Formatting your newsletter

Once you have determined that an employee newsletter would be a useful addition to your internal communications, now it’s time to consider how it’s formatted.

Did you know that while 65% of daily emails employees receive are opened, only around 10% actually click any of the material or links within them? That demonstrates that while employees recognise communications like internal newsletters, a much lower percentage actually engage with them. And a lot of that can come down to how accessible these are formatted.

With that in mind, the following 5 tips should go far in making newsletters that resonate across your team:

Lead with imagery

While plain text emails are often quite successful in the world of email marketing, to add more character to your employee newsletter you should look to incorporate imagery, videos and design features that add vibrancy and perfectly capture your brand.

This doesn’t mean it has to be overloaded with these elements and scant on copy. But a more visual approach is likely to catch your employees’ attention and actually intrigue them to explore the content within the email, rather than simply skip it over like the hundreds of other emails they receive on a weekly basis.

Plus, 75% of employees are more likely to want to watch a video than read any copy.

Ensure they’re on-brand and consistent

As part of your design, make sure that your brand colours, logos and other markers of your identity are present throughout. We mentioned earlier that one of the core objectives of an employee email is to embody your company values and bring your employees under one unified brand voice.

To achieve this, it’s essential that once you have developed an email template that you are happy with, this is kept consistent and always encapsulates your brand identity. This could be always having the logo in the top-right corner, or breaking up different news sections with splashes of your brand colours.

BAM by Papirfly™ can be a powerful ally in helping you achieve this consistency, enabling your team to quickly and seamlessly create beautifully branded email templates for all purposes. 

Make them scannable

It is said that you have only 11 seconds to capture a reader’s attention in your company newsletter. So, in order to make this count, as well as being visually appealing your employee newsletter should be easy to scan and digest.

To achieve this when formatting your newsletter, consider the following:

  • Split it up into smaller, distinct sections with relevant headers – it doesn’t have to be super short (although conciseness is appreciated), but formatted this way for the ease of the reader, as bulky paragraphs are an eyesore in emails
  • Put the biggest piece of news or the information that resonates most with your employees on top to immediately capture their attention – experiment with different layouts early in your newsletter’s lifecycle to see which sections resonate with readers
  • Try breaking things up with different design elements, be it a video, infographic, list, etc. – these keep the content delivered fresh and will engage readers for longer

Give your copy personality

Use the copy of your employee newsletter to tell stories, as that is the kind of writing that people want to read. 

When writing your newsletter, make your employees the stars and the protagonists. Inform them of the things that they have done, or what they can do. Maybe create a running narrative that blends from one newsletter to the next, rewarding people who pay attention and follow each one when it is released.

For a great example of this in action, check out AirBnB’s example, as its language really brings the reader on their brand journey.

Make sure buttons stand out

Finally, when formatting your internal newsletter, if you want your employees to take an action, make sure that it is clearly visible to them. Whether you would like their feedback on a survey or them to register their RSVP for an upcoming company get-together, buttons and links should stand out like sore thumbs.

Plus, make sure your buttons and links lead to valuable content, even if it is from outside your organisation. The more your employees get used to receiving useful, thought-provoking and relevant insight when they engage with your newsletter, the more likely this will become a habit for them.

12 powerful ideas for your employee newsletter

So now you have a stronger idea about how to format your employee newsletter, what should you actually include inside of that eye-catching layout?

Here are 12 great ideas to get you started:

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If you have a big company update to share with your employees, or you’ve done something well to get spotted in the local or national news, use your internal newsletter to shout about it. This will give them a collective sense of achievement for their brand, which can do wonders for their motivation and productivity.

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Celebrating your employees’ birthdays, anniversaries and more in your company newsletter is not only a great way to make them feel appreciated and recognised, but it can also foster conversations between members of your team.

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Have a job opening that you’re looking to fill? Adding it to your employee newsletter will encourage your team to look among their friendship groups and professional networks for potential fits. Or, they might feel they are actually a great fit, empowering them to seek new career goals as part of your organisation.

employee-newsletter-04

If you’ve picked up a great book or listened to an informative podcast recently, share it around with your employees in your newsletter. Even if it’s not strictly work related, this can help build bonds between employees with similar interests and give them access to valuable content that might have otherwise missed out on.

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In a similar vein, if you have pinpointed a particular conference or webinar that you think can benefit your employees’ development, make that a highlight of your newsletter. Keep in mind that 70% of employees don’t believe they’ve mastered the skills they need to do their jobs, so inclusions like this show employees you care about their growth.

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Whether you want to get a general sense of your team’s satisfaction levels, or are looking for feedback for a recently introduced process or tool, a survey in your employee newsletter demonstrates that you value their input, and shows they have a say in your company’s direction.

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Has an employee recently climbed Mount Everest, or completed 3 consecutive marathons for charity? Highlight your team’s accomplishments, journeys and skills in profile segments. These encourage communication and strong company cultures, while reinforcing the appreciation you have for your team as individuals.

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Everyone appreciates a break from time to time, so why not incorporate a brain teaser, crossword or Sudoku in your employee newsletter. You could even make it a competition with the fastest person to respond winning a prize!

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If you’re organising a company get-together or social outing, your employee newsletter is a great place to promote it and attract RSVPs. These events can be a big boost to company culture and camaraderie, so should be prioritised in your communications.

employee-newsletter-10

Have you recently introduced any new products to your line-up? Adjusted one of your service offerings? Modern, savvy employees want to be in the loop with what’s happening in your company. Including these updates in your internal newsletter helps them feel informed and shows you are a transparent, caring employer.

employee-newsletter-11

If you’ve recently added an article or piece of content to your website that you absolutely love, chances are your employees might love it too. Share it around to inform their development, and encourage them to share it with their friends and family, increasing that article’s reach.

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Finally, when one of your customers has great things to say about a member of staff or your company in general, you should highlight it in your newsletter. This ensures people recognise the great work being done by your brand for your customers, meaning they feel proud to be a part of your team.

How frequent should your internal newsletter be?

The frequency of your employee newsletters is often a delicate balance – you want them to appear frequently enough that readers stay engaged with your brand’s communications, but not overwhelm them with information to the point they become disconnected.

With that in mind, once a month is typically a good benchmark to aim for with your newsletters. This gives enough time to create a body of news and content to flesh out your emails, rather than having to scratch around for details every week or fortnight. Also, with consistency once again in mind, try to ensure they’re delivered on the same day every month, allowing employees to get a pattern in their minds.

Finally when it comes to frequency, if your company is undergoing a period of upheaval or has done something particularly newsworthy, it is okay to deviate from your calendar to deliver these updates in a timely fashion.

Maximise your employee newsletters with BAM

We hope that these tips and ideas will lead to more powerful, effective internal newsletters for your organisation. Communication plays a critical role in fostering a strong team spirit and transforming employees into true brand advocates.

And with BAM by Papirfly™, you can make creating, managing and sending these emails utterly effortless. With easy-to-use, fully customisable templates, BAM empowers anyone on your team to create stunning, standout newsletters in minutes to inform and entertain your teams across the globe.

No waiting on agency turnaround times, or painstaking hours in design. It’s all in-house and super-responsive.
Discover the power of BAM first-hand – arrange your personalised demo today.

by Papirfly

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