Complete Guide to a Successful Company Newsletter [with Templates]

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“We should start a company newsletter,” your boss says.

You say that’s a swell idea, and you mean it. Your company does a lot of cool stuff, and you’re pretty sure you’ll have enough to fill up a newsletter. But when you sit down to get to work, you realize you have no idea what to include. You start asking questions like…

  • What do people like to read?
  • What are some of the really cool things the company is doing?
  • How can I personalize a newsletter so it captures the spirit of my company?
  • Where do I start?

If you’re asking these questions, then you’re on the right track to designing a solid company newsletter. Considering these key points means you care enough to think critically about delivering a newsletter employees will love.

And of course, we’re here to help. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of structure or push in the right direction to go from “I wish I could do that…” to “look what I can do.”

Explore your questions and get started using the company newsletter ideas and templates below.

 

Newsletter Templates

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Fill personalized details into any of these newsletter outlines to make something that perfectly suits your company.

1. The “Just the Facts” newsletter

  • Message from the CEO or President. Ideally, this short and sweet message will come directly from your CEO or president. Simply ask the boss to talk about what was most exciting or significant about the upcoming month or quarter.
  • Cool stuff that already happened. What are the most notable things your company has been doing for the past month or quarter? What events have you held? What records and goals have you met? (Hint: your company’s leaders will know this – it’s kind of all they think about. Have your CEO dictate this info to you. Your job is to translate it into a newsletter.)
  • Cool stuff that’s happening soon. Get everyone excited about upcoming events, company changes that affect all employees, short-term goals, and anything else that comes to mind.

Tip: When you’re coming up with content for the “cool stuff” sections, simply go with what you think is cool. Trust your instincts. If you find something interesting, chances are your team will as well.

  • Employee spotlights and Q&As. Add a little human interest to your newsletter with an employee spotlight at the end of each issue. Choose about five questions to use every time, and simply email the employee to get answers and a picture to go with the post. Here are some question ideas:
    • What’s your favorite thing about the company?
    • What’s your best workplace memory?
    • What are you listening to right now? (Music or podcast!)
    • What’s one must-read blog you’re into at the moment?
    • What’s your favorite motivational quote?
    • Where are you going on your next vacation?

 

2. The video newsletter

Copy everything from the bread and butter newsletter, and replace the chair’s message with a video. Obviously, this works only for online newsletter formats.

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  • Don’t be intimidated. Sure, this takes a few extra skills, but there are tons of tutorials for entry-level video editing software like iMovie.
  • Do it all on your phone! The camera on your phone is likely more than powerful enough to get the job done. In fact, there are great mobile video editing apps to help you make a professional-quality video newsletter all within your smartphone. This guide has tons of options and info.

 

3. The gazette

Writing your newsletter with bold, cheesy headlines (in the style of an old-fashioned gazette) delivers news while providing some light-hearted entertainment.

  • National News. Select three of the latest and greatest company happenings. Summarize the major points with eye-catching headlines. Here are some examples:
    • Account Team Lands Biggest Client in Company History
    • CEO Makes Show-Stopping Presentation
    • New Wellness Initiative Makes Weightloss Waves
  • Style and Society. In this section, profile things going on with employees. Highlight new hires, birthdays, anniversaries, and company events.
  • For each issue, ask one department manager to write a short opinion piece on a bit of national news that’s relevant to the company.
  • Letters to the Editor. Here, answer frequently asked employee questions. You can source these from the HR department, a suggestion box, or any social media channels your company uses to interface with employees. This is a fantastic way to give your team a sense of ownership, and to make sure your internal communication is more of a dialogue than a corporate soliloquy.

Pro-tip: the light-hearted tone of this format works best when it aligns with your culture and brand.

 

4. The human interest newsletter

This newsletter gives people what they really want: juicy details and information about their co-workers.

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  • New hire announcements or profiles
  • Retirements
  • Benchmark anniversaries (5, 10, 15, 20, etc.)
  • Promotions
  • Department Q&As. Often, employees across a company have no idea what other departments do. For each issue, pick a department for a Q&A that tells employees exactly:
    • What the department does.
    • Who the department serves.
    • How the department does what they do. (Do they use any technology? What special skills do employees in this department have?)
    • What the department sees as their goals for the future
  • Past event highlights. Try to get plenty of pictures and maybe a few quotes from employees who attended the events.
  • Upcoming events.

 

5. The listicle newsletter

A popular format in modern media, the listicle post is fast and easy to read and skim. It helps guide the eye and provides busy employees with a streamlined reading experience. (Don’t forget to use a power word in the headline to get people to engage!)

Here are some specific listicle ideas:

  • Top 10 Jaw-Dropping Things That Happened Last Month
  • Top 10 Unexpected Reasons We Love Working at [Company Name] This Month
  • 5 Crucial Things You Might Have Missed in [Insert Month]
  • 10 Mission-Critical Company Goals for [Insert Month or Quarter]

 

6. The roundup Newsletter

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The email marketing experts at Pinpointe recommend a roundup post featuring your company’s best blog posts or social media posts from the past month or quarter. These items usually aren’t initially targeted to employees, so the content will be new for them, and you barely have to create anything new; you simply have to put existing content into a cool email template design.

Here’s what to include:

  • Top 5 blog posts (most read)
  • Top 5 social media posts (most shared)
  • Top 5 events

 

7. The Inspirational Newsletter

If most employees already know all about the happenings at your company, try delivering a different benefit other than news—try delivering inspiration and education.

  • Vision Message. Have the head of your company write a brief summary of their short-term vision.
  • Upcoming Classes and Workshops. Even if your company doesn’t offer these, you can find local sources to include.
  • Inspirational Videos. Ask leadership for recommendations for videos they think all employees should see.
  • Quote of the month/quarter. Ask employees for quotes or just look some up online. Here are 141 Motivational and Inspirational Quotes for Work.
  • Recommended reading. Ask leadership for book or article recommendations they believe would help employees in their work. With so much content out there, in can feel like a firehose of information. A curated list like this is a huge value add for your team.

 

8. The podcast newsletter

The fresh format will entice employees to listen to your company’s news. It also provides a welcomed audio break in a work day overloaded with emails, or a convenient way to consume important company info during commutes or other idle times.

Tip: If you want to try this, but you lack the technical skills, check out Buzzsprout’s illustrated podcast how-to.

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Here’s what to include:

  • Message from the CEO or President. Instead of asking leadership to write something, simply go and record the message in person.
  • Event Highlights. Go to events and record presentations and talks and ask a few attendees to provide quotes. You can sort through the audio clips later on to find short sound bites.
  • Cool stuff. Choose two news items to recap and two upcoming items to reveal. Select a well-spoken coworker to read the news items and then add transition music or sound effects between each segment.
  • Employee spotlights and Q&As. Record employee Q&As in person (But be sure to email the person so they can think of their answers ahead of time.) Do as many “takes” as needed to get audio that’s clean and natural. Here are some question ideas:
    • What’s your favorite thing about the company?
    • What’s your best workplace memory?
    • What are you listening to right now?
    • What’s your favorite motivational quote?
    • Where are you going on your next vacation?

 

Newsletter Dos and Don’ts

Do:

  • Include info that’s relevant and interesting to everyone. When considering whether or not to include something, use the “so what?” test. Read the news item and ask yourself, “so what?” If the event doesn’t have the significance to answer that question, cut it.
  • Represent a variety of voices. Highlight employees at all levels—don’t only focus on leadership.
  • Keep the length in check. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re having fun, but remember, even if your newsletter is absolutely awesome, most employees only have the time to read a page or two.
  • Collect analytics or take surveys to find out:
    • If people are reading the newsletters
    • What people really want to hear about in a newsletter
  • Make the title compelling and clear. What will people get when they read the newsletter? Use your answer to create a title. “[Company Name] News” works every time.
  • Offer the newsletter in multiple formats. Many companies provide an email, a website, and a downloadable/printable PDF.
  • Make it shareable. Add share buttons to each segment so employees can share what they find most interesting and relevant.
  • Keep leadership in the loop. Get leadership’s input and approval before sending anything.
  • Make the newsletter mobile friendly. Ask your company’s web team how to do this.
  • Make the newsletter visually interesting. Work with a designer if one is available to you. If you don’t have the resources, simply remember to include photos and plenty of white space.
  • Create a template and stick to it.
  • Create a summary/at a glance section. This means even people who don’t read the whole newsletter can take away important information.

 

Don’t:

  • Forget to include or involve remote employees or offices. Be sure to include information relevant to these people and even spotlight some remote employees; regular employees will enjoy getting to know their remote colleagues.
  • Rush to send without checking your facts. It’s better to miss a deadline than it is to misrepresent something.
  • Forget to find the balance between necessary and unnecessary info. Make sure your newsletter content doesn’t skew too far in either direction.
  • Neglect technical details, including spam filtering. Work with your resident IT department or expert to make sure your newsletter will display correctly in emails and inboxes.
  • Do all the work alone. Invite people to write guest columns, and of course, ask for more ideas. Collaborative newsletters are more fun to create and read.
  • Forget to match the newsletter tone to your company culture. If you work for a conservative law firm, then it’s probably best to skip a newsletter that channels Buzzfeed.
  • Ignore key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals in your planning process. Even if you love your newsletter, you will still need some objective, quantitative metrics to use in measuring success.
  • Get greedy with the news. You’ll definitely be tempted to hold back some juicy news for the newsletter, but some timely information should go out immediately. Consider how the news affects employees to make the decision.

 

Getting People to Read Your Newsletter

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1. Make the newsletter the primary source/reference for event dates.

Why it works: When employees stop receiving handfuls of reminder emails for the same event, they’ll learn to use the online version of the newsletters as their sole event reference guide. With hope, they’ll read some of the newsletters while they’re checking dates.

 

2. Capitalize on nosiness by including human interest items, such as promotions and Q&As.

Why it works: Just consider Facebook’s success; everyone wants to know what everyone else is up to. Make your newsletter a source of human interest information and employees will read it religiously.

 

3. Include a photo diary.

Why it works: The internal communications experts at Poppulo recommend including a photo diary in your newsletter. This strategy excites the same inherent curiosity as human interest stories. People love reading about other people…and looking at their photos.

 

 4. Include rewards and giveaways at the end.

Why it works: Tech giant Apple has been known to sneak giveaways into their massive terms-of-service list. A $25 gift card for the first person who reads the entire newsletter is a great way to boost buzz and reader loyalty. You can even move the reward text to different locations, such as photo captions, to send readers on a pleasant Easter-egg hunt.

*To manage the reward, simply provide an email address. The email with the earliest timestamp wins the prize.

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5. Add a survey or poll.

Why it works: A survey or poll makes your newsletter more interactive, and therefore, more enticing. Jostle recommends sharing the results in real time if you have the ability.

 

6. Use the newsletter to answer questions.

Why it works: Link the newsletter to your suggestion box, or simply announce that you’re taking hard-hitting questions for a Q&A section of the newsletter. Many print magazines address reader queries in the front matter of each issue, and this is the same idea. Those who asked the questions will definitely read the newsletter, and everyone else will enjoy reading answers to questions they never thought (or wanted) to ask.

 

7. Resend.

Why it works: This strategy is not a cop-out; it’s just smart. Interact recommends re-sending at least once to get your newsletter in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

 

8. Make it short.

Why it works: The Bananatag blog recommends making newsletters short and snackable. In other words, make your point using as few words as possible.

 

9. Send the newsletter from the CEO’s email address.

Why it works: A newsletter from the CEO? That gives your newsletter the air of gravitas many readers need to dive in.

 

10. Promote the newsletter with posters around the office.

Why it works: What questions does your newsletter answer? Turn those questions into posters and paste them around the office, noting how you’ll answer this question and more in the next newsletter (include the drop date). People who weren’t initially curious about the question will get curious the more they think about it.

 

What does your company’s newsletter feature? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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