Article first published June 2018, updated July 2019
There’s so much more to internal newsletters than pinging everyone in the office about upcoming events. Internal newsletters can be fun, helpful, and something your team actually looks forward to seeing in their inboxes.
A solid internal communications strategy is a powerful component of your marketing efforts and brand storytelling. It’s by far the easiest way to turn the people in your organization into informed and enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
You can use email marketing tools like Campaign Monitor to create engaging internal newsletters that amplify company culture and keep everyone in the loop when it comes to important notices—and do it in an interesting way.
Read on for tips to get you started.
1. Remember the fundamentals of marketing
A good internal newsletter has a lot in common with any other email marketing campaign. Engagement is still the name of the game, and you’ll want to consider your audience’s needs (even though you’re not trying to sell them anything).
Focus on creating valuable content just like you do for your customers. Never assume that your employees will engage with your newsletter out of some sense of obligation. As with any content, your newsletter has to get their attention and earn their time.
2. Communicate company culture
Your newsletter is one of the best places to discuss your organizational culture. Use it as a platform to talk about shared values and priorities and to foster a sense of community. Culture is a dynamic, living thing. The format of an ongoing newsletter suits that evolving nature. A few ideas to consider around culture:
Educate new hires and introduce them to your team and make them feel welcome
Profile existing team members to make them feel appreciated and to celebrate recent achievements
Talk about your role in the community, the country, and the world (then follow up with reports on the impact your strategy is making)
3. Create conversations
If you want greater transparency, your internal newsletter is a great place to jump-start those efforts. By creating dialogues within your organization, you can enhance cooperation and break down walls between departments or between staff and management.
This is especially useful when it comes to large companies where departments are unfamiliar with each other. Sections like a Q&A or “a day in the life” features can help get everyone on the same page and may lead to inter-departmental collaborations that generate unexpected growth.
People enjoy when their efforts are appreciated, especially in print (or posted online). By giving credit to the people behind important projects, you increase their sense of ownership and highlight their contributions, which in turn motivates them to contribute more. Make the internal newsletter a collaborative process and solicit content from all of your organization to maximize relevance.
4. Make it part of your marketing strategy
Internal communications should be a key component of your overall marketing strategy, and it’s where your brand’s storytelling should begin. Talk about the why behind what you do and give readers the information they need to spread the word.
With features like Campaign Monitor’s drag-and-drop email builder, you can design internal newsletters that engage and deliver your brand story in an exciting way, rather than spoon-feeding or info-dumping on people who might feel like they already know the high-level story.
5. Use recurring sections
Newspapers have different sections and recurring columns and TV networks have regularly scheduled programming. Organizing content in a formal way lets people know what to expect and makes it easier for them to navigate your content based on their own interests—the way one might scan the headlines but settle in to read the Travel section.
By organizing based on topic, you can seamlessly integrate information that new hires need to know alongside fresh updates for folks who are already in the loop. Also, data shows that when you organize with recurring sections, people tend to have an easier time remembering what you tell them.
6. Have fun with it
The content of your newsletter doesn’t have to be limited to official business. After all, there’s more to a newspaper than current events. Consider adding elements of fun to your internal newsletter, such as:
- Visuals like vacation photos, videos, or even memes
- Personal news and exciting events in your team members’ lives
- Social media links for shareable articles
- Crossword puzzles or interactive games
7. Add an element of surprise (to encourage opens)
The best email marketing campaign in the world is useless if nobody reads it. Your most important task when writing and email, whether in-house or client-facing, is to get recipients to open it. That means thinking strategically about your subject line and email content.
You might find, for example, that starting your newsletter with details about the week’s catered staff lunch could lead to a high open rate. This goes back to having predictable, recurring sections. Employees know the newsletter will contain a surprise menu each week, so they have to open it to find out what they’ll be eating.
So, what should a great internal newsletter include?
Want to see what good internal newsletters look like?
Well, here are some examples for you to mull over.
1. Employee content and anticipation
Not only is this newsletter’s design minimal and eye-catching, but there are two things on this cover page that stand out.
The first is the featured article written by an internal employee. Including an article written by an employee is helpful for other employees who want to hear from co-workers in other departments. Sometimes, individual departments don’t mingle or engage with other departments in their workplace.
The second thing about this newsletter is the “covered in this month’s issue” box. This box tells you exactly where the “fun” news is, which could keep employees reading until they hit page three. If they skip to page three anyway, at least they read part of the employee newsletter.
2. Don’t forget the images
Want to entice your readers with your internal newsletter?
Cut back on words to draw in your employees. Instead, utilize beautiful and professional images. Your audience will want to scroll through their email like they scroll through their Instagram feed.
In addition to the engaging images, it’s a good idea to give your employees options on what they read, and what they don’t want to read.
The company email above shows an image and a summary of the content followed by an action button to “read more.” Giving your employees snippets and previews of the newsletter content, instead of dumping the newsletter into their inboxes sans previews, will give them a choice.
Just like regular email marketing, you always want to give your audience a choice. No company gets anywhere by shoving “mandatory” reading in front of their audience’s faces.
Instead, treat your internal email like regular online articles. Your audience will see the images and choose to read the content on their own. They might even be happy with it.
3. If you’re writing your employee email in letter form, add links.
Remember that internal emails are all about audience engagement. You don’t want your employees falling asleep by the time they’re done reading the company-wide newsletter.
If your company chooses a letter-style format for updating your employees, then you need to get creative.
One way to do this is by adding links to your content. Links redirect your audience to other sources and will help expand upon your newsletter content.
Source: Campaign Monitor
The perk to this style of newsletter writing is brevity. Not only will the writer be happier as they write the recurring newsletter, but your audience will be happier, too. They still get the run-down on the company news and events, but in a short form. If they want to learn more, they have the option to do so through links.
One more thing about this email–it is “signed” by Reddit’s co-founder. Don’t let your company become so corporate that your employees never hear from the bosses. Keep everyone in the same circle. This will make your company feel more like a community, even if it’s a global corporation.
There are no more excuses for having a bland and boring newsletter. With these tips in mind, you’re already on your way to creating more fun, engaging, and value-packed internal communications that actually get opened and read.