Keeping your company’s newsletter out of the trashbin
Company and industry newsletters are a cost-effective and engaging promotional medium… if done right. Let’s face it, more often than not your company newsletter ends up in the spam folder. Why? Perhaps your publication doesn’t contain great content or maybe it is not being effectively distributed.
What can an engaging company newsletter can do for your business?
- Position your company as a source of news and information, not just a product or service provider
- Add value to the business deal
- Remind clients and employees of the broad scope and environment of your products and services
- Give a good overview of the company to potential prospects
- Increase internal communication, and engage employees
- Encourage creativity and innovation among staff
- Lessen the email load by consolidating information in the newsletter
- Break down silos and increase cross-functional creativity
The next question is, how does one go about creating a newsletter that will accomplish this?
The DOs and DON’Ts of company newsletter etiquette
- Don’t fill your newsletter with self-congratulating stories and content. Do publish articles that shed good light on the company
- Don’t fill your newsletter with advertisements. Do endorse products and services that you think readers would genuinely like
- Don’t write 4000 word articles. An article this long is probably to long to be read. Do write succinct pieces that will grab your readers’ attention
- Don’t create all of your content from one source, no matter how great it is. Do encourage employees to submit content from all functional areas
- Don’t exclusively e-mail your newsletter. Do offer a print version, as it might increase readership
Company newsletters must have a purpose. Is it to inform employees of internal operations? Announce news and accomplishments? Drive innovation? Report on industry news? Your newsletter should contain all of these things – just not necessarily in every issue. Second step – determine the layout and length of your newsletter. Creating a great masthead is crucial, and great content needs a good platform design. There are so many considerations that determine the publication design that you might be best off hiring a publication design team. Third step is gathering editorial content. The nature and scope of content depends on your purpose. Content can be anything from articles and infographics to photos and videos. Keep in mind, your readers are busy! So, try to keep it concise and easily digestible (no long, boring blocks of text – use images and bullet when possible!) A variety of content will engage and grab readers’ attention. If you need some ideas for content that engages, look no further.
- Internal vacancies. Mentions of internal vacancies pique interest. It also tells employees which positions are considered ‘key’, which could drive motivation
- Education articles from industry experts in “How-To” or “Did you know?” formats are guaranteed to get read. Even more so if they are written in short form or bullet points, which are easy to read and provide to the point information
- Company updates and developments. This should be in every newsletter!
- Competitor news. Every employee should be aware of their competition
- Special staff offers, promotional days, company parties etc. This might be the only way your staff learn of non-business events. It’s also a great way to split up your newsletter to make it more readable
- Random and fun content. This can be anything from jokes to funny signs. Keep it light!
When it comes to distribution, you have many choices. Many companies choose to e-mail their newsletter. This distribution channel often leads to the majority of newsletters getting lost in a sea of emails and inevitably ends up in the trash bin. Printing your newsletter can be very beneficial – an employee takes it home, spouse, children, neighbors and others may read it. In effect, printed versions can increase readership and awareness. Aside from these two traditional methods, there are a number of creative ways to distribute your newsletter. Consider a notification banner on employee desktops notifying them of a new issue or a text message letting employees know that a new issue is out. Perhaps a combination will be most effective.
A company or industry newsletter can either captivate readers or get thrown in the trash. When curated and published effectively, company newsletters and industry publications can have significant reach internally and in the community. A casual tone, balanced, employee driven content and creative distribution will encourage readership and participation.
Meghan Tooley is a commerce student, active blogger and social media enthusiast from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She often blogs about human resource trends and Canadian labour laws. She writes on behalf of Metric Marketing, a hybrid marketing agency specializing in innovating and integrated marketing strategies. Learn more about publishing for your business from Canadian publishing company, Craig Kelman and Associates.