Recently a WhatsApp discussion on a communicator’s forum intrigued me. I noticed a post asking for inputs on making a newsletter attractive. Some believed that newsletter was passé and with numerous other tools and media vehicles it wasn’t helpful to have one, leave alone sustain it. Most talked about the formats, colors, platforms and frequency. Some suggested videos, animations, and comics to entertain employees. A few suggested compelling content. One blamed employees for taking a company channel lightly. I asked the person who initiated the discussion if she found what she was looking for with the inputs that came on Whatsapp. She hadn’t got what she wanted! ‘
Why bother even having a newsletter? I blogged on this topic – ‘Why Isn’t Anyone Reading Our Newsletter?’ and received interesting responses. Here are my perspectives.
Focus on what your employees need to be effective at work and be strong advocates for the brand. It is less to do with packaging content as a ‘newsletter’. Once your communication gets boxed into a format which is dependent on one team to churn out content you are already facing an uphill task of sustaining interest. Flip the perspective and put your employees at the heart of your content strategy.
There are no silver bullets with internal communication content. The newsletter is just one way to get your message to your audiences. When you revisit and build your strategy around what employees need to know or take action on to help the business succeed, then you will probably not view channels as standalone routes to reach them. Knowing how your employees consume information, what their communication habits are and what will nudge the organization towards being a ‘communicative’ entity is helpful to draw up your approach.
1. Employee centric: If your leaders and managers aren’t referencing your newsletter content in their communication, it probably isn’t carrying the right messages. You need to scan what other sources of information appeal to employees and if there is a need to consolidate them on one platform. Weave the newsletter around the employee’s life cycle – what do they need to be productive, efficient and experts at what they do and how can they become better individually and professionally.
2. Business aligned: An organization exists when people communicate with each other, those are ‘willing to contribute action’ and work towards a common goal. Getting your newsletter to be the pivot for conversations can help raise its profile among employees. If your communication doesn’t align with the purpose then will be seen ‘on the periphery’ of everything the company does.
3. Inclusive approach: Employees will read most of what their peers create and having a group to steer the direction of your newsletter is useful. Gauging their personal preferences for media – audio, video, animation, and infographics among others will help you serve content in ways that appeal. Trusting employees to curate and define the scope of what content is created and disseminated means letting go of control. The benefits far outweigh the risks, according to me.
4. Content strategy: There is always a lot going on in every organization, small or large. There are employees joining, developing, growing, contributing and leaving. In each and every aspect of their lives, there are stories and opportunities to tap. Having your pulse on the employees’ viewpoints and what the business is hoping to achieve are fundamental to the success of your newsletter. Build a content strategy and plan that includes all aspects of your business DNA.
5. Recognize contributors: Nothing can be more rewarding that having your name mentioned as a byline for contributions one makes. Tapping knowledge and increasing sharing are key to the success of any organization. Encourage employees to go beyond their roles and make an impact. Let their managers know how valuable they are to the business and its communication.
If your employees don’t see value in the content then no matter what format and frequency you plan to push it out you won’t have many takers. The best way to gauge if your content is worthwhile is when your employees truly miss it, or even better – ask for it! Do you agree or disagree? Leave your views here.