How to Write Employee Newsletters Your Staff Will Want to Read

Employee newsletters are meant for employees to read, whether they’re standard company updates or something more exciting to raise morale. Creating a compelling newsletter that makes a difference and is well-received, however, often poses a significant challenge.

Written by

Henrik Jesman Sunde

April 4, 2022

Sending any kind of newsletter can feel a bit like talking into a black hole. You may get some feedback here and there, but it’s hard to know how content was received (and if it was read in the first place). Beyond metrics like open rates, did your message resonate?

How did everyone feel? Was there something that was unclear or something especially beneficial; what stood out? Maintaining employee engagement—especially in hybrid and remote work environments—is an ongoing process that changes as the people in your organization change. But even in the most successful companies, it can be hard to capture people’s attention in our busy and distraction-prone world.

So how can you crack the riddle and kickstart your employee newsletter engagement? In this article, we put together some of our favorite employee newsletter ideas, tips, and best practices to inspire and strengthen your internal communications.

6 Tips for Writing Amazing Employee Newsletters

A few best practices stand out when it comes to creating and sending employee newsletters. Keep in mind that an internal newsletter is not only meant to provide updates but also to create opportunities for interaction between team members.

1. Focus on Your Audience

Think of all of the people at your company. Who will be reading this newsletter that you’ve been working so hard to write? What are they like? What do they care about?

First, be considerate of tone. Keep it light, genuine, and action-oriented. Even if you’re not a motivational speaker by profession, enthusiasm transfers. So, if your newsletters sound like they were written by a robot, chances are employees won’t be thrilled to read them.

Creating newsletters people want to read also involves picking the right topics! Maintain a healthy balance between content focused on your company, your employees, and the work you do for clients or customers. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. At the root, the best content will grab readers’ attention by its very nature.

2. Diversify Voices

We often think of the final product in creative settings, whether that’s an employee newsletter, client deliverable, or anything else. Depending on your organization’s size and who’s writing your internal communications, don’t overlook the power of working collaboratively.

This could mean having multiple people from different departments contributing to a single message; or, as is more often the case, a variety of leadership team members sending out their own company-wide updates throughout the year.

Hearing from multiple leaders, directors, and managers from different teams on a company-wide forum deepens collective insights. Need we mention the benefits of increased dialogue and more dynamic communication?

Your approach will vary depending on your organization; what’s important is to provide something valuable for staff members of all levels.

3. Employee Newsletters Can Take Many Forms

While email communication is the first thing that often comes to mind when you hear the word “newsletter,” many companies today also make use of alternative channels to send company-wide updates.

How you structure and write your newsletter—along with the actual content included—will vary depending on the formality of the channel, along with other factors such as the number of employees and your particular industry. Sending updates across multiple channels is also quite common, so be considerate of how your messaging will display and read for different contexts.

This brings us to formatting. It’s no secret, but big blocks of text—especially on mobile devices—are more of an eye strain to read compared to shorter lines of text.

Like this.

On that note, keep your internal newsletters short and to the point. You can still include those adjectives and go into detail when necessary, but be concise. Writing newsletters your staff will want to read starts with the reader in mind!

4. Language Matters

We’ve already touched on the importance of tone and formatting for solving the overcrowded channel problem, but don’t forget the basics! When writing your newsletter, consider doing the following:

  • Use bulleted lists to break up dense paragraphs of information.
  • Remove redundant, repetitive, and unnecessary words.
  • Find a balance between a conversational and a more formal tone.
  • Vary sentence length and structure.
  • Mix up your punctuation, from occasional exclamation points to the ever-professional semi-colons!
  • Explain your message in clear terms that make it easy to grasp the meaning.
  • Use personal pronouns—I, we, and you. 
  • Tell a story. Short anecdotes and lived experiences make for great learning opportunities when shared in the right context and with the right emphasis.

Use your best judgment as you work to find the appropriate words, tone, and format. If you find you’re getting hung up, take a break and come back to it!

5. Use Newsletter Templates

Templates are a great way to save time while improving overall content consistency. With the Zelo App, you can use a drag-and-drop email composer and newsletter templates for ready-to-go content blocks for dynamic, easy-to-read messages.

Zelo also allows you to customize message formatting for every channel, from email to Slack, SMS, Teams, and more. This gives employees a way to stay in the loop and receive updates tailored to their preferences.

6. Mix in Engaging Media

Look for opportunities to diversify media types in your newsletter. Even if your communications are primarily text-based, a banner image, gif, or a few emojis go a long way to making your content more personable and engaging.

Interactive content like surveys or polls can also be highly effective. Will you be sharing a lot of data or a report recapping company projects? You can also keep it more traditional and use an infographic or short video to communicate the story.

Mixed media content doesn’t have to be super elaborate, as too many images and graphics will inevitably clutter the text—and your message. Choose media that stems naturally from the topic itself. For example, when discussing an upcoming company event, you could embed a calendar invitation along with the link to RSVP.

10 Employee Newsletter Ideas to Kickstart Creativity

An internal newsletter is a lifeline between an organization and its employees. It’s where you share company updates, milestones, fun facts, and so much more. To write engaging newsletters (that actually get read) you need good ideas.

And we get it, ideas are hard to come by. See our 10 examples of newsletters, topics, fun ideas, and themes below.

1. Announce Upcoming Events

Announce upcoming company-wide or team events in your employee newsletter. As these events are often fun and enjoyable, people will be more excited to open up the message to see what’s in store. Examples of events may include holiday parties, lunches, guest speakers, retreats, and more.

2. Celebrate New Hires

Celebrate new hires by giving them a warm welcome to your organization in your internal newsletter (or by posting in a shared digital space). Include a few fun facts about the person, where they’re from, what team they’ll be joining, and anything else fitting. This is a great way to break the ice while creating excitement for someone’s new job!

3. Acknowledge Milestones

Use your newsletter as a platform to call out recent promotions, work anniversaries, birthdays, and anything else significant like the birth of someone’s child. Be mindful of people’s privacy when sharing updates about individuals, and check in first when in doubt. Note that you can celebrate work milestones for employees as well as for the company as a whole.

4. Send Surveys

One of our favorite employee newsletter ideas is to leverage feedback through informal surveys and polls. Three to five short questions are all you’ll need to get a better idea of where everyone stands on a topic (from challenges to team opportunities, feedback on an event, and so on).

5. Shoutout Wins

Teams work hard day after day to deliver high-quality work to clientele. Use your internal messaging to give kudos for a job well done, from the completion of a major project to positive company PR or a gained certification.

6. Share Job Openings

Sharing internal job openings is a great way for organizations to create closer-knit teams. This gives employees an opportunity to refer their friends (especially if you use referral bonuses) and also provides broader awareness for the state of company growth. In some cases, job openings may be relevant for existing employees looking to change roles or lean into the development of a new skill.

7. Write Top 10 Lists

This is a really fun employee newsletter idea that shakes up the daily grind and casts work culture in a broader light. Write up a little in-house listicle featuring the top-rated coffee shops near your office or everyone’s favorite weekend activities outdoors. You can use survey and poll results here to share more specific recommendations, favorites, and noteworthy events.

8. Share Pet Pictures

This employee newsletter idea is a little more informal but is great for smaller teams and for use on casual channels like Slack. Employees can submit pictures of their furry friends to be featured in a section of the newsletter, whether that’s each week or during certain occasions such as holidays or team shoutouts.

9. Provide Industry Insights

Give employees industry updates by sharing sources, courses, articles, or podcasts for continued learning opportunities. If your company has industry thought leaders who frequently blog about their field, don’t be shy to share their findings.

10. Give Client Updates

For many companies, keeping employees in the loop about client updates can be quite beneficial. Mention new or returning customers, those who have expanded scope, and those who have left or reduced services.

Keep this positive and share only as much of the “why” as you think would be helpful for morale. Include client updates in part of a larger internal newsletter or even during a company-wide meeting, if that seems more appropriate.

One Tool to Reach Your Whole Organization

Creating high-quality content that your employees will want to read often calls for a dedicated tool or system. Level up your employee newsletters by using Zelo, with a seamless drag and drop email composer, responsive HTML templates, and cross-channel customization for messages that look good on every device. Explore the unified Zelo dashboard for tracking communications metrics and other analytics as you refine and reoptimize your internal newsletter strategy.

Creating higher quality newsletters ultimately goes beyond just newsletters, tying in with broader HR and IT initiatives, goals, and processes. In turn, this leads to more authentic engagement, stronger team connections, and a more organized workplace.

Final Thoughts About Employee Newsletters

Employee newsletters are hard to master, but with the right approach and tools on your side, you’ll be singing the newsletter theme song in no time. You know your organization best, so follow your instincts when planning, drafting, and sending out messages to colleagues.

For more helpful content on how to build better teams and systems, check out the Zelo blog. And if you’re looking for a communications and analytics tool for your business, check out our product features to see how we can help you with all of your employee newsletter needs today.

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