The internal newsletter: let’s be honest, do you think of this as an essential business tool? Or rather something that arrives every so often and is undertaken by someone, you’re not sure who, in the marketing department? This latter outlook on internal emails is all too common. So, how can we transition away from wasting everyone’s time and treat the internal newsletter like it is: a huge opportunity?
Writing Awesome Internal Newsletters
Let’s start by asking a key question: what is the ultimate aim of your internal newsletters? For many, this may be motivational; for others, it may be informative – regardless of the specific goals, your internal newsletters should be considered as a tool for effective companywide communications, and as such, given the time that it deserves.
1. Keep it Simple
Email marketing principals aren’t merely restricted to customer email shots; internal emails face the same challenges, such as improving open rates, engagement, and reader conversions, which should all should act as key metrics in assessing the effectiveness of your internal emails.
As a starting point, you should focus on simplicity, maintain content that focuses on being concise rather than long-winded, and write with a natural tone that flows from one paragraph to the next.
A particular area to review in many company newsletters is that of the CEO intro; these currently serve as a section that generically suffers from being too long and generally boring, full of corporate speak, which can mean that readers fail to make it past even this initial section.
2. Engage, empower, enlighten
Internal newsletters shouldn’t be regarded as just something that is sent every week or month. Instead, they should aim to engage, empower and enlighten. Your readers should genuinely find your content valuable to them and their job role, rather than reader because the boss told them to. To provide colleagues with a reason to read, be useful, and create copy that is catchy, engaging, and possibly even a genuine joy read.
So, how do you make what may be otherwise relatively standard content engaging? As a starting point, you could introduce a little humor, a testament to which are amusing email chains that not only engage readers but that experience super high levels of conversions by way of a forward. Humour is far more flexible a tactic than you may think, and even industry or company news can be enhanced with a few humorous comments or well-placed candid photos. Some self-depreciation can work especially defusing.
Be careful to keep it tasteful and respectful – if any internal newsletter would end up on the front page of the newspaper – it should not harm company reputation.
A further way in which to engage on a personal level (as well as instilling motivation and recognition to boot) is to include a regular team or individual staff member commendation section. This section would then include a brief report on what it is the team or individual has achieved.
3. Talking about tone
In order to be engaging, it’s generally advisable that newsletters employ a tone that is fairly relaxed and casual. Opting for too formal a tone can feel monotone and even appear authoritarian. Given that newsletters benefit from fewer restrictions as compared to official companywide communications, writers have the freedom necessary to use a tone they find effective and content that they deem to be useful and valuable for their readership.
4. Responding to emails increasingly opened via mobile
The way in which people read email has changed irrevocably over the past decade, and today an increasing number of users access email from an array of devices, from smartphones to tablets. This change in readership must be responded to by using a responsive email design that adapts to the screen upon which it is accessed.
To illustrate just how important this is, 82% of people use their mobile phone to check their email, and consider that 42% of email subscribers delete emails that fail to display in a mobile-friendly manner, and when this is coupled with the traditional open and engagement challenges that you already face your internal emails could be seeing all together a rather lowly readership rate.