Employee newsletters should be straight forward right?

Find content about the company, paste it in, find some images and bam, call it a newsletter.

But we all know that’s not usually how it works. Especially if you want employees to engage with your content and actually read the newsletter.

You have a lot of competition for employees’ attention. That’s why we have put together these 6 engagement hacks that will help you hook employees on your internal newsletter.

1. Write me-mails, not emails


“People don’t want email; people want ME-mail."

—Seth Godin


The last thing employees want to read is content that has nothing to do with them or their interests.

There’s no good reason you shouldn’t be treating employees like customers when it comes to communications. You should be selling them on your content and its value. If you want employees to read your content, you have to spin it so they see how the content is relevant to them or their jobs.

Employees want to read about themselves and their colleagues. They want to hear about how you’re going to help them or make their lives better.

A great way to hone your me-mail technique is to get employees to submit their own content. Whether its images or stories, encouraging employees participation through user-generated content is a great way to engage employees and make the newsletter more personal.


2. Don’t reinvent the wheel


No one is going to read everything you write every time. Employees will miss content, no matter how much time or effort you put into it, or how awesome it is.

Reusing content is a great way to make sure important messages, articles or links are seen by the most number of people. As long as you have a good balance of older and newer content, seeing the same content again shouldn’t dissuade readers from engaging.

If you can measure which links your audience is clicking or not clicking, it’s easy to find out which content you should be reusing. If you have a feature that has less engagement than usual, try representing the content in a different format or a change its placement in the newsletter.

For links or content that you want to reuse because they aren’t getting the engagement you are looking for, make sure you look at the problem holistically and assess why employees aren’t engaging with it.

  • Is it hard to read?
  • Is it clear what it is about?
  • Is it relevant?
  • Was the message sent out while employees were on holiday?
  • Does it get skimmed over because it is not standing out visually?
  • Is there a content type that would make this information more engaging?

Before you rework the content, assess why it isn’t performing and then test the same content in different ways. Switch it up and use video, images or just different text and headlines. You can see how engagement changes and find out what kind of content performs best with your audience.

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3. Spice it up with new content

We live in a very stimulating time.

The bad news is that you are competing with social media, cell phones, apps, devices, and the internet for employee’s attention and time.

The good news is that you have more choices and means than ever when it comes to deciding how you want capture employees’ attention.

Coming up with new ways to use and present content should be done in two steps.

First, explore which media types are most engaging with your workforce. If they are desk workers, they may find video, images, drawings, and infographics more engaging.

If they are non-desk workers, they may prefer to get their information by audio or simple text they can read on their phones.

Then experiment with what types of content you send to your employees. Test which content works best with which media types, and you can find the perfect pairing of content and content delivery.

For some content inspiration, here are 28 great content ideas.


4. Get the most important information out first

Not all of content is created equal.

There are need-to-haves and nice-to-haves. Make sure that your need-to-have content is displayed first in your newsletter.

There is some backward logic out there that claims that you should mix up the important with the unnecessary so that people will read the newsletter in-full to find the relevant or most crucial content.

That is a bad, bad idea. People won’t go looking for the important information. They won’t read it at all and will likely miss those important messages you need them to read.

No one likes to have their time wasted. Keep the most important information at the top of your newsletter and easily accessible. User attention drops of significantly after the fold (the bottom of what is visible on a screen without scrolling) so make sure your most important info is front and centre.

Having the most important things first also shows that the newsletter has a purpose. Make all your newsletter content as relevant and helpful to employees as your first items, and you’ll be more likely to get the engagement you’re looking for.

Genuine engagement will always be better than forced engagement.

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5. Make it snackable

Maybe you’re working on a novel in your spare time, but this isn’t the place to show off how much you can write, no matter how good a writer you may be.

The best newsletter writing gets straight to the point.

Free write what you want to write about, then cut half of it. Rewrite it again for clarity, and then cut out anything that isn’t relevant. If it’s not necessary, don’t include it.

This isn’t the time for you to stuff your writing full of big words no one knows, or complicated terminology that only makes sense to a select few in your company. Show how smart you are by being concise and direct instead.

If you’re editing for a colleague or executive, you may have to be more gentle when it comes to cutting back the fluff. It’s best to communicate to them that the fewer words they use the more impactful their message will be, and the more likely people will be to both read it and understand it.



6. Break it up visually

Readability isn’t just about word choice. How your newsletter is formatted and how the content is displayed makes a huge difference.

If your page is cluttered with images and text jammed together, most people will have a hard time reading it, which will make them more likely not to read it at all.

Leveraging whitespace is a great way to make your content is easier to read. Whitespace also makes the newsletter look like there is less text which helps counter content overload.

You can also use well placed images, lines, and good font choices to break up the visual density of your newsletter and make it more readable.

These engagement hacks are some of the best ways to get readers engaged and coming back for more. If you want to learn more awesome ways to make employees fall in love with your newsletter, register for our webinar below!