What Not to Put in Your Corporate Newsletter

You already know that your corporate newsletter can be a great vehicle for employee engagement and retention—if you do it right, that is. The best internal newsletters weave together updates from team members, voices from leadership, and company news to paint a picture of your culture and values.

And actually, the worst corporate newsletters do that too; it’s just that the picture they paint is gross. How can you make sure your newsletter is more Starry Night and less Dogs Playing Poker? Keep these corporate newsletter “don’ts” in mind:

1. Politics and Religion

Unless your company is a place where these hot-button issues are a core part of your existence, keep them out of the newsletter or run the risk of seriously alienating employees who aren’t on the same side. Entire cable channels are devoted to arguing about this stuff. Leave it to them.

2. Short-Term Financial Hiccups

Giving the whole team a high-level view of your financial results can be a good idea if you do it consistently and in an easy-to-grasp way, but don’t share metrics that might unnecessarily cause a panic. Your executive suite may understand that a month of poor results is sometimes just a part of doing business, but entry-level employees might take that as a cue to start job-hunting. Highlight metrics that staff can use to improve their own contributions to your performance.

3. Corporate-Speak

Is your company leveraging synergies to drive bottom-line results? Do you want to applaud your team members for thinking outside of the box when implementing best practices? All of that is… fine, but if you phrase things that way, your newsletter might put everyone to sleep.

Maybe you use business jargon as shorthand with customers, but the employee newsletter gives you an opportunity to use a more personal and engaging voice, so take advantage and keep it easy to read. Instead of, “The accounting department finalized a robust project,” try, “Sam and Maria in accounting just finished something really big.”

4. Doctored Qs for Executive As

Many companies like to include a “Question Box” section in their newsletters, inviting employees to submit questions for executives or HR to address. When done well, this can be a great way to model transparency and show you’re willing to respond to employee concerns. But don’t make the mistake of reinventing the question to sidestep the issue at hand.

Here’s a scenario: New mom Allison submits a question to ask if there any plans to improve the lactation room space. COO Harold doesn’t want to engage with that issue, and instead the newsletter goes out with Harold’s response to the question, “What are the company benefits new moms should know about?”

Editing questions for clarity or brevity is fine, but hiding the issues is not. Allison won’t forget what her real question was, and she won’t forget that Harold blew it off. So now the company’s attempt at “transparency” has been revealed as just a façade, and word travels fast about a thing like that. Woof.

Want help avoiding corporate newsletter don’ts?

Creating content for corporate newsletters is a big undertaking, but it’s worth the effort when you get it right. Need some help making sure you nail your newsletter content, and any other internal communications issues you want to tackle? Get in touch with me!

Kate Tichy

With experience in public relations, content creation and content governance, Kate has a knack for whipping content into shape. She spent the first decade of her career at a PR agency, then took a turn to the corporate side, managing content marketing for a fast-growing healthcare IT company. Having worn the client hat herself […] Read Bio »

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