In the age of social networks, Internet memes, and viral videos, the corporate newsletter remains one of the most effective and widely used employee communications tools for companies of any size. It offers a clear and direct way of putting a message across an organization or community especially since all content has been screened by management. It can even be considered as the one official reference material easily accessible to everyone since it’s compact and, generally, an easy read.
Today’s company newsletters come in printed or digital format, or both. We find that more established organizations go with traditional print (e.g. brochures, fliers, magazines, newspaper formats) that provides for intricate designs faithful to corporate identity standards. On a practical sense, a printed newsletter comes handy if a large portion of the employees work on their feet. Security personnel, frontline customer service reps, and production staff, etc., could be flipping through a company magazine and becoming better educated to fill their breaks or when waiting at someone’s office.
In contrast, younger staffed companies prefer a digital platform such as an Intranet or e-newsletter emailed directly to an employee’s inbox. A great advantage here is you can include rich media or links to real-time interactive features for feedback gathering. Of course, its overall look should also be aligned with your company’s.
We believe it’s best to have both formats available, with each complementing the other. The girl who works the reception desk who’s interested in a training grant after reading about it on the newsletter can simply log on to the online newsletter, fill out an application form, and submit that to HR in one click. Or if you’re rewarding staff efforts, the digital edition has the same feature story but with video sound bites while pointing readers to the limited edition commemorative cover of the printed newsletter.
You can also consider the corporate newsletter as part of your push marketing strategy. Each time an employee brings copies home or to a client’s office, or leaves one in a cab, someone’s bound to read it. Hopefully, the newsletter includes information on your online assets (i.e. official website and social media accounts) to help third parties find out more about your company and your services.
But whichever format you go with, it’s only secondary to the material you present. Robert Dilenschneider, former CEO of Hill & Knowlton and a leading authority in corporate PR, offered this advice:
In producing printed materials you must also keep in mind that you’re not only competing for employees’ attention with The Wall Street Journal and Fortune. You’re also competing with electronic media such as Wall Street Week in Review. Your information has to be more candid and have more depth than its competition because employees now know where to go get information about the company.
This is especially true today when employees are more likely spending idle time on Facebook or YouTube. Good or bad, this fact offers one idea every internal communications endeavor should emulate: engaging content. So what should go into the corporate newsletter? We’ll get into that on the next post.