An imperative attribute of mass communication lies in connecting many stories on a continual platform, with an underlying message that binds the receiver. The information shared in different formats evokes a range of responses. Every information shared, requires reinforcement through different channels. In a business environment information is shared through different communication channels such as Townhall, CEO’s or MD’s address, Intranet, notice board and bulletin. A newsletter is a summation of information as required by the readers. It is written in first person to find a greater connect with the readers to the community or the ecosystem. It subscribes to a greater adherence to the group.
As described by Bob Garner, “The purpose of the newsletter is to supply the reader with a reliable supply of seeds made up of proven motivational ideas and strategies that can be immediately put to use.” The information delivered to a target group at a definite interval creates a greater bonding. It creates a level-playing field for everyone. The interval to publish it depends on the message that is required to be shared. It is daily only when the target message changes everyday such as stock market performance. Monthly and quarterly durations are chosen to space the information provided and disseminate a fresh share of values. Financial reports are published in an alignment of the business result. Whereas a newsletter for the employees will have the information about the star employees and other kudos earned.
Forms of distribution
A newsletter is distributed in print and a digital version. The communication mode depends on the budget of the company, aim of distributing the newsletter, the demography and many other factors. The behaviour of the reader contributes to a fundamental role in choosing the medium. If the target reader-base of the company is comfortable reading it as a soft copy, publishing in print will create a disassociation.
Information shared and the guidelines
- Events: Incidents and events which impact the work environment, such as a new client added to the business or starting of a new business unit.
- Promotions and transfers: This is essential as it shares the growth path and motivates not just the one who has been promoted but the one who wants to attain it.
- Announcements: Upcoming events and other happenings need to be shared. This allows the employees to be prepared for it, hence encouraging participation.
- Knowledge sharing: Any working knowledge from a definite team, which can be used by every employee should be shared through articles and other knowledge nuggets. If one team can find a solution to a customer’s complaint and feel that the strategy can be shared with other teams, it should be published as a case study in the newsletter. Best practices and problem solving ideas should be encouraged through this platform.
- Brand Building: Create compartments in the newsletter to promote the brand of the company, to its internal customers. Referral programs can be promoted extensively through the newsletter.
David Le Blanc said, “If I go back and read the trooper [newsletter] going back 10 years, it’s the same issues, there is a lot of frustration about where we are not and where we should be.” This remains primal as beaten track messages fall out-of -league with the readers. The evolution shared creates a greater adhesion. It allows every employee to find themselves as a partner to the organization’s change.
The biggest challenge I faced while running a newsletter was maintaining the momentum. The excitement level used to be very high when the newsletter would be launched. Initially the engagement would build with everyone wishing to contribute. This would bring in an option for visibility. This is exactly where it would start rolling downhill. If the rejections were not taken openly, it would start the friction among the readers and the publishing teams. The dissent towards the content would remain an eternal point of debate. Balancing interest to remain upbeat can get arduous in the long term.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Focussing on the launch should not drain the team out of the energy required to keep the momentum.
- Engagement level needs to be respected. Any rejection should be made with a positive way out. Rejecting an article doesn’t mean the rejection of the author. Every situation needs to be dealt individually.
- The openness of the publishing team plays a crucial factor to the success of the newsletter. The newsletter is for the readers, hence should be aligned to their requirements rather than what the publishing team wants. A flexible approach towards the content, style, language, vocabulary and distribution would synchronise it with the requirement of its readers.
- Focus on perpetuity than bubble enthusiasm. Plan the content publishing for a long-term. Make sure that the content remains valid to the season and celebration. Generally the festivals and other occasion have enough events to be covered in the newsletter. This keeps the readers glued. Hence, during the rest of the period, publish interesting and actionable but neutral information and maintain continuity in readership.
- Remain receptive towards feedback. Isolate actionable data from emotions in a feedback. If an employee says he doesn’t like your newsletter. Please ask him what he doesn’t like about it. How can it be improved? What are his views towards the newsletters published by his former employers?
- The content needs to be balanced. Newsletters are distributed irrespective of the designation and level. This brings in a disparity in readers. Yet the content needs to offer every reader the equal amount of takeaways. Creating different segments and connecting them helps resolve this concern.
- Identify the catchphrase of the employee base and line it up to the intended buzz word to be built. Suppose during the world soccer phase, when the employees are buoyant with it, there is a quality standard or 5S Program to be announced. This would require a higher engagement level in employees. Hence, connect this with the clash of titans and evolution of a winner to the announcement of the news to bring out the best and greatest coherence in teams.
Leslie Reiser said, “At every point, the newsletter isn’t about watching a movie and going off. It’s a constant call to action; it’s collecting more information, while still giving that viewer total control so that they can flip from article to article, and link deeper into content.” This remains the guiding light for publishing newsletters.