An internal newsletter can be so much more than a bulletin board. For example, it can support engagement, act as a channel for reinforcing strategic messages, or set the tone of your company culture. However, deciding what role your newsletter should play in your communication mix is only half the battle. Making sure it actually succeeds is where the real work comes in. We assume you already know what you want your newsletter to do — so here is our ABC of how to make it happen.
A is for Appeal
Your newsletter can’t achieve anything unless people read it. Make it cry out to be picked up and read, or clicked on and shared. To do this, you need to assess every aspect of your newsletter from the point of view of your target audience. Are they more likely to read print or digital? What kind of layout will grab their attention? How much text do they want to read? Even if it’s a channel for corporate and strategy messages, you need to think twice before using management-speak and pictures of grey suits. But remember — your newsletter is first and foremost a communication tool. Always ask two questions: Does this speak to my readers? Does it communicate and reinforce my messages?
B is for Budget
As you plan your budget, the most obvious cost factors will be set by the form your newsletter takes, not least whether you need to print and distribute it. However, there are a lot of less obvious factors that will be hidden inside your editorial process. For example, as a general rule, the more people who need to read and review an article, the more time it’s going to eat up. The less specific your brief is, the longer your designer, photographer or copywriter will spend coming up with the right content. The real trick here is to work with transparency (so everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them) and simplicity — kick those extra cooks out of the kitchen so you can get the recipe right.
C is for Control
Once you’re on the road, you need to keep a firm hand on the wheel to make sure you don’t veer off course. Newsletter projects can be susceptible to ‘brief-creep’ — when the people working on it think they know what it’s for and how to achieve it, but allow assumptions and misunderstandings to build up. Slowly, issue by issue, the look, feel and effect of your newsletter morphs into something you don’t want or need. Preventing this starts with you. Drill into your team the reasons why a particular style, or tone of voice, format or layout has been chosen. And make sure new team members thoroughly understand why things are being done a particular way.