Cure for the Common Corporate Newsletter

Oh, the corporate newsletter… clunky, ugly, and down-right boring. Zzzzz… we fell asleep just thinking about them.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You work hard to write interesting stories, create beautiful graphics, and transform cold information into an interesting newsletter. You have to put bandaids on boring, dry Open Enrollment updates and that lengthy letter from CEO. It’s not easy work and to make matters worse – it aches when you look at your metrics only to see that your colleagues aren’t even reading them.

So, why aren’t employees reading the newsletter? Simple. Because they don’t think they need to. Readers are seeing the corporate newsletter as a vitamin. Miss your morning vitamin? Big whoop. But if they start viewing it as an aspirin, something they need to do their work better and engage with the company, they’ll never miss a dose.

Before deep diving and changing up the newsletter, you need to have a check-up to understand what’s happening. Performing this checkup is essential because it unveils where the true pains lie. Not doing a proper checkup is the equivalent of self-diagnosing yourself on WebMD. You’re guessing at what a problem is without really knowing.

Your analytics are the symptoms. What are they telling you?

Post checkup, you can move forward to exploring treatment plans. These are the strategies, new ideas, and tactics to breathe new life into the newsletter.

Rx for Low Open Rates

You crafted a sparkling email but no one is opening it. Ugh! This isn’t your fault. Employees are busy and inundated with email all day. So, they’re only going to read what they absolutely have to. Think back to the vitamin vs aspirin comparison. You need to stand out and add value. Here’s a couple strategies to stand out in the inbox abyss:

Switch send time

If you normally send at 9:00 am on Mondays, try switching to Wednesday after lunch or any other time. Measure your engagement before and after the switch. Keep comparing until you’ve achieved your goal metrics. Oh, and if you want to level up, there are even softwares out there that will ask each and every employee when they want to get there email. Easy peesy.

Snazz up subject lines

For the love of the email gods, can we all agree to ban subject lines like “Your Monthly Newsletter” or “What’s Happening at ABC Corp?” That’s not leaping out of anyone’s inboxes saying Read me! Read me!

For the love of the email gods, can we all agree to ban subject lines like “Your Monthly Newsletter” or “What’s Happening at ABC Corp?” That’s not leaping out of anyone’s inboxes saying Read me! Read me!

Make every subject unique and intriguing. Need some inspiration? We recommend looking through some of your favorite marketing newsletters from Hulu, Sephora, or Nordstrom. What makes you open that email vs others in your inbox? Mimic what some of the best marketers are doing for your internal communications.

Ask the reader

Instead of guessing what employees want to see in their next newsletter, ask them. Gather a few employees from different departments for a 10 minute chat or a quick email about what they would like to know more about in the company. Take their advice seriously and implement your learnings into the future editions of the newsletters.

Rx for Low Click-thru Rates

Low click-thru rates leave you with so many questions. Did the employee read the newsletter? Do they understand everything? Were they too short on time to really engage? Or just not that interested? This will take testing to uncover the underlying illness. Here’s ideas on what to play with to increase those click-thru rates:

Try out a new format

Corporate newsletters can be sad, clunky, and down-right ugly. Who decided corporate newsletters have to be bland? Let’s reimagine them. Look through your inbox at some of your favorite emails from brands like Sephora and REI. What do you like about those? Incorporate that into your newsletter. Not a designer? No worries, there’s tools out there to make you look like one. Right now, we’re loving this one.

Reinvigorate your content  

Pack the newsletters with valuable content. Feature things employees might not know about the company or an upcoming event that would be of interest to them. Letters from the president aren’t the most excitable. Instead, share stories that are both interesting and provide value. Spotlight employees, share underused perks, and insert polls about fun topics! If you’re limited on content creation time, repurpose your intranet content or even pull in third-party posts that are related to an interest of the employees or a development within the company industry.

Play with mediums

Gifs, videos, and pictures – they’re attention grabbing! When you scroll through your Facebook feed, you’re more likely to click on a video or post with a gif rather than a long post with no imagery. This is the same with your internal newsletter. Draw attention to areas where you want employees to act.

Rx for Low Conversion

They’re reading. They’re clicking. But they’re not taking any actions. You need everyone to answer this pulse survey stat! You’re hoping for a high turnout at the next outing but employees aren’t responding the way you’d like. Here’s a couple of methods we’ve uncovered that increase conversion:

Stop burying the lede

Creating content with unnecessary information not only bores your readers but gives them permission to tune out announcements. Tell them what they need to know – nothing more, nothing less. Follow the basics of storytelling: who, what, where, when, and how.

Exciting calls to action

Bring attention to calls to action with intriguing copy and bright colors. A blue link that says “Sign up” is something everyone has seen before. Try something new! Even if that’s just switching the link color to a red. See how the audience reacts to that. Did more people sign up? If so, keep iterating and see what readers respond to the most.

Make it personal

Millennials and Gen Z identify and engage with companies when their interests are aligned. The classic way of sending email has always been mass communication – everyone gets the same content at the same time. Experiment with polling your audience’s interests to understand what’s important to them. Then, segment those groups and send them email around sed interests. You might uncover the company has a lot of winos. Now, you have some inspiration for your next event. Wine tasting, anyone?

These tips, paired with your institutional knowledge, and experimental spirit are sure to create a more engaging newsletter experience for your audience. You might even earn the nickname Dr. Engagement 🙂