Best Practices for Internal Company Newsletters in 2024
— January 10th, 2024
t’s 2024, we are firmly ensconced in the age of artificial intelligence, chatbots, augmented reality, and virtual reality… and the humble newsletter is still going strong.
In fact, email newsletters are more popular than ever, with newsletter journalism (including paid newsletter subscription platforms) standing out as a rising point of growth in an otherwise static news market. Certainly, in the world of internal communications, email newsletters are not going anywhere.
The 2022 Communications Benchmark Report by Ragan reveals a clear preference for email among communicators, with 78% identifying it as a top channel for internal communications.
Newsletters provide a versatile platform to disseminate information, celebrate achievements, and strengthen organizational culture. But perhaps your company newsletter is feeling stale. Or your open rates have stagnated. In this article, we'll suggest some best practices for internal company newsletters in 2024, considering the evolving needs of modern workplaces.
1. Embrace Multimedia Content
In the digital age, employees are inundated with information from various sources. To capture and maintain their attention, internal newsletters should incorporate multimedia elements. Incorporating videos, podcasts, and interactive graphics can make content more engaging and enhance the overall reader experience.
We know this is the kind of content most people look for - 66% of consumers reported short-form video as the most engaging type of social media content in 2022. You don’t have to turn your newsletter into a TikTok account, but do consider trying out video features for employee spotlights, project highlights, or even virtual office tours to create a more visually appealing, dynamic newsletter.
2. Mobile-First Design
As remote and flexible work arrangements become more prevalent, ensuring accessibility is crucial. Adopting a mobile-first design for internal newsletters ensures employees can easily consume content regardless of location or device. Responsive layouts, concise content, and easily clickable links are key components of a mobile-friendly newsletter.
3. Personalization and Targeting
Generic, one-size-fits-all newsletters are a thing of the past. In 2024, companies should leverage data analytics to personalize content based on employee roles, interests, and preferences. Targeted newsletters are more likely to resonate with employees, fostering a sense of relevance and engagement.
Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into personalization strategies can amplify their effectiveness. AI algorithms can analyze vast datasets, enabling organizations to derive deeper insights into employee preferences and behaviors. This dynamic synergy between AI and personalization streamlines content creation and ensures a more responsive approach, continually learning and adapting based on real-time feedback and changing employee preferences. For example, if an employee consistently engages with content related to professional development, the AI ensures that future newsletters prioritize such content for that individual.
4. Be Transparent and Ensure Two-Way Communication Goes Both Ways!
Trust, transparency, open dialogue, and attentive listening consistently echo key leadership communication themes in 2024. Employees seek two-way communication with their leaders, valuing clear and honest discussions - even on challenging subjects.
Therefore, a strong communications professional will encourage feedback, comments, and questions from employees. Including surveys or polls in internal newsletters can provide valuable insights into employee sentiments, allowing leadership to address concerns and celebrate successes collaboratively.
Equally important is the reciprocal aspect of communication. In return, communicators and leadership should respond to feedback in a timely and constructive manner and actively seek to keep their teams well-informed about the organization's activities and direction. This is what makes for an authentic culture of transparency and inclusivity.
5. Consistent Branding
Nothing new here, but it is good to remind ourselves that consistent branding in internal newsletters helps reinforce the company's identity and values. Use a standardized template that aligns with the overall brand aesthetics, including colors, fonts, and logos. You can experiment with subject lines or vary the content, but consistent branding aids in easy recognition and reinforces the connection between employees and the company.
If your newsletter template has looked more or less the same for the last number of years, refreshing the design is a strategic move that can breathe new life into your internal communication efforts. A contemporary template can capture readers’ attention and convey a sense of relevance. Did you know that Poppulo offers dedicated newsletter design services?
6. Make Your Content Relevant to Today’s Audience
Best-in-class internal newsletters are broadening their scope to encompass pressing topics like mental health, sustainability, and diversity. This expansion reflects a commitment to addressing the holistic well-being of employees and aligning with the socially conscious values prevalent in modern workplaces. Ensure that your newsletters feature a variety of voices, perspectives, and experiences.
Keep the tone upbeat where possible - allocate space for employee spotlights, project successes, and team accomplishments. Recognizing individual and collective efforts fosters a sense of appreciation and motivates employees to strive for excellence.
7. Keep It Skimmable
With busy schedules and dwindling attention spans (the average attention span is now 8.25 seconds, apparently!), it’s naive to assume that employees are dedicating much of their time to internal communication. Keep newsletter content concise. Focus on the key information. Use clear headings, bullet points, and subheadings to make content skimmable. Including a table of contents or a summary section at the beginning can help employees quickly grasp the main points, encouraging them to delve deeper into areas of interest.
8. Regular and Predictable Schedule
Consistency is crucial when it comes to internal newsletters. Establish a regular and predictable distribution schedule, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This routine helps employees anticipate and prioritize newsletter content, creating a habit of engagement. Additionally, a consistent schedule reinforces the reliability of internal communication and contributes to a sense of organizational stability.
9. Gamify it.
Were you aware that 79% of the general population identifies as game enthusiasts? Interestingly, this figure rises significantly within younger demographics, with as many as 90% of Generation Z and a staggering 94% of Generation Alpha falling into the category of game enthusiasts.
If you are struggling to increase your open rate, try the gamification approach. Introduce rewards, competitions, and even easter eggs hidden in the content to connect with your audience.
For example, you could create a points system for certain actions, such as reading articles, sharing content, or completing surveys. Feature a leaderboard to showcase top participants, fostering friendly competition and motivation. Or you could create storytelling challenges where employees can share their experiences, successes, or innovative ideas.
10. Metrics and Analytics
Lastly, the single most important best practice is using analytics tools to regularly measure the performance and impact of your internal newsletters. Track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and employee engagement. Analyzing these metrics provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your communication strategies. Use the data to refine content, identify popular topics, and adapt your approach to better meet the needs of your workforce.
Embracing multimedia content, prioritizing design, personalizing content, continually thinking outside of the box, and fostering two-way communication are just a few of the best practices that can elevate the impact of internal newsletters. To make your internal newsletter pop this year, check out some more creative ideas here.
By actively listening to and understanding your audience while adapting to their changing needs, internal communicators can utilize newsletters as a powerful tool to boost employee engagement and strengthen organizational culture.
To leave you with one final piece of advice, remember that as the internal communicator, this newsletter belongs to you. While you gather the content from diverse sources and share stories from different people and teams within the company, the responsibility to edit and refine rests with you alone, until the final product is compelling enough to click on.
As Truman Capote put it, “I’m all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil."