7 ways you're sabotaging your e-newsletterDone properly, a company’s employee newsletter can deliver information employees need when they need it. An e-newsletter can reduce email volume by collecting content that otherwise would be sent separately. An e-newsletter can easily link to relevant spots in your intranet to encourage online visits.

But there are at least seven ways companies undermine their efforts with e-newsletters, many of which apply to print as well:

  1. Being boring
    Start on the right foot with a unique subject line highlighting something of value in the content. Please, stay away from a boring mention of the date, as in “February newsletter.” Be sure to continue with engaging and useful content written in a warm, friendly style.
  1. Ignoring multimedia
    Look for photos, infographics, video, audio, charts and other ways to bring information and stories to life. Link to existing content on the intranet.
  1. Ignoring mobile
    Three out of four Canadians own a smartphone. Pew Research Center says more than two-thirds (68%) of Americans own a smartphone, and some 88% of smartphone owners use email on their phones. Assume that many employees will open your e-newsletter on a smartphone or tablet, and make sure the content is readable and attractive no matter where it’s opened.
  1. Not publishing often enough
    Publishing once a year just isn’t enough, unless it’s an employee annual report that complements other frequent sources of information. Quarterly is better, as long as you support it with more timely news in other ways. Monthly is a nice regular way to provide perspective and encourage connection to the company. If pressed, make your newsletter shorter or less elaborate rather than cutting the frequency.
  1. Publishing too often
    A weekly or even daily publication might be appropriate if you’re delivering critical news or staying on top of major change, like a merger or takeover. Just don’t bombard employees with too many messages that have little value. You’ll simply train people to ignore your emails.
  1. Forgetting to provide value
    Always keep in mind, what’s in it for the reader? Offer useful information, helpful content and practical advice. Make connections between different divisions or countries. Show how employee efforts support business goals. Be concise, and point employees to places on the intranet where they can find additional information and resources they need. Encourage feedback and conversation.
  1. Assuming your newsletter covers all the bases
    A newsletter is just one way of reaching employees. What other channels are available to which employees? How can you best reach them, especially ones who don’t work at a desk? Be sure you’re also supporting face-to-face communication, exploring social media and collaboration apps, making effective use of your intranet, using polls and other feedback channels, podcasting, sending text messages, and so on.

Of course we all get too much email; the key is to make sure your e-newsletter provides something of value. Look at your own inbox. Aren’t there certain e-newsletters or messages you’ll read no matter how much else is in there?

What ways have you found to make your employee e-newsletter something worth reading? What other ways do companies unwittingly sabotage their efforts? Please comment below.

A version of this was originally published as a guest post for Paul Barton, ABC and appeared in my monthly newsletter, Wordnerdery. Image by Paul Barton, ABC.

Related reading:
How often to publish your newsletter
More on how often to publish