Writing an employee engagement newsletter is hard enough. But there’s no guarantee that after all your hard work anyone is actually going to read it.
Newsletters can play an important part in developing employee engagement and loyalty if done right, though.
So, how do you write an employee engagement newsletter that people will actually read? It’s time to bring out the psychology textbook and throw away your English notes, because great writing of any kind of is the opposite of what you were taught in school…
Don’t write an essay
The only time most of us are taught to write nonfiction is when we’re taught essay writing in school.
But that writing style just doesn’t cut it in the real world.
Most people outside of academia don’t read essays for fun. If they do, they’re essays that are relevant to them, fun to read, or—hopefully—both.
That means it’s time to put away the big words, long paragraphs, and formal tone of voice. If you want employees to keep reading, you need to make what they’re reading accessible.
There’s a reason the most widely-read newspapers have an average reading level of an eighth grader. More people can understand them because it requires less brain power to read them, regardless of their level of education.
Reading takes time and energy. You don’t know what the reading skills—or energy levels—are of your employees.
Giving them something that’s easy to read will make them grateful you’ve put their needs on equal footing with (or even above) what you want to talk about.
Which means they’re more likely to read what you send them, and to maybe even look forward to your employee engagement newsletter.
Embrace white space
White space is exactly what it sounds like: all the white (empty) space around text, imagery, etc., on a page.
The point of white space is to guide your reader’s eye to focus on particular words or phrases, which is why it’s common in poetry.
If you look back through this post, you’ll notice that many of the paragraphs are only a sentence or two-long. That’s me embracing white space.
Why do I do this?
Because it’s easier for you to read.
Think about the last time you read a really long paragraph, particularly on a small screen like a mobile phone. Your fingers don’t move as much, nor do your eyes. And so your eyes start to get tired. Which makes your brain tired. Which makes you start to get bored. Even if the topic you’re reading about is interesting, a wall of text simply isn’t as accessible to read on a screen. Not to mention it doesn’t look particularly attractive, either—it looks intimidating and makes people want to switch off.
See what I did there?
How far into the paragraph above did you get before your eyes started to twitch or your mind started to wander?
The longer your paragraphs are, the more readers will feel that way.
In the modern age, most attention spans are around eight seconds.
Not to mention reading on screens isn’t exactly pleasant for our eyes.
You want to make sure people’s eyes are constantly moving around the page and their fingers are always scrolling. This will help to keep their brains engaged.
Write in second person
Second person writing uses the pronoun ‘you’ to create a deeper, faster connection between writer and reader. It’s why most blog posts are written in second person.
It also makes readers feel like the content is more relevant to them, since they’re being addressed directly.
Make it relevant to them
Why do you want employees to read your newsletter? What’s the benefit for them? There should be clear benefits to them reading it beyond just ‘we’re sending it to talk about the business’.
If you don’t have anything interesting to say…spend your time writing something else.
Nobody wants to read a newsletter that’s full of bragging or navel gazing. If you’ve had a recent win, by all means share it, but don’t go on and on about it.
An employee engagement newsletter should be about building rapport and camaraderie. If you’re just doing it to brag about stuff, employees will glance over it and have no interest in reading future installments.
You may feel like you work in an industry that can’t use humor. But stay with me for a minute.
You know why popsicle stick jokes are so bad?
Because we bond over how bad they are.
Comedy itself can be divisive. Everyone has slightly different senses of humor, and, particularly in larger companies, there’s no guarantee everyone will find the same thing funny.
But, if you use humor in the right way, you can deepen engagement and employees’ feelings of loyalty to your brand.
To use comedy the right way, make sure you never, ever make fun of an employee. That’s the kind of comedy that’s divisive and can be harmful.
And steer clear of controversial topics like politics or religion.
Instead, think about how you write about something.
Where can you bring in analogies, anecdotes, or comparisons? When did something unexpected happen that you could share?
You could even ask employees to share their funny work or personal stories to make them feel more involved.
If you want some tips on how to add humor to a business environment, check out David Nihill’s “Do You Talk Funny?”
If employees know when to expect your newsletter, they can carve out time in their day to read it.
If it’s sent intermittently, they’re more likely to be in the middle of something.
So they’ll plan to read it once they’ve finished what they were doing, but then more stuff gets added to their to-do list, the newsletter gets pushed down their priorities, and eventually it gets forgotten.
Sending your employee engagement newsletter at the same day/time, whether that’s weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or something else, ensures they know when it’s coming up and can factor it into their schedule.
Writing any newsletter people want to read is easier said than done. That doesn’t make it impossible, though.
It’s all about changing your perspective to make it about what your employees want/need to know, over what you want to talk about.
At the end of the day, putting employees first is the most important part of building a happy, productive company culture, right? Your internal newsletters can play a big role in that.
In fact, if done right, they can encourage employees to be more engaged with your business, and maybe even inspire them to write better business communications themselves.
If you’re looking for an easy way to organize and distribute communications like an employee engagement newsletter, Workrowd has you covered.
With our one-stop platform for employee communities, it’s easy to ensure your message reaches the right audience every time. If you’d like to learn more about how we can take your communications sharing to the next level, drop by the homepage or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.