It’s a corporate newsletter, not a corpse
By Kimberly Easley
So, you’ve been named Director of Innovative Inspiration and Strategic Solutioning, or something like that. Anyhow, you’ve paid your dues, you’ve worked long hours; essentially, you’ve worn the soles of your shoes climbing that corporate ladder. And now, your new title finally affords you participation in those “power” meetings where people in high pay grades envision business goals, growth, and greatness.
Yes, you are now a “strategic partner!” Just as you are getting accustomed to sitting in that cushy executive chair, perfecting your “I’m on board with that” nod, some brilliant vice president in the board room makes the following suggestion: “The only way we will be able to take this company to the next level is by getting in the trenches, becoming an ‘executive worker bee,’ if you will.” Your “I’m on board with that” nod quickly spirals into an “Oh, no he di’ent!” neck roll.
You know exactly what this means: new title, old job. You’re still in charge of the [Psycho shower scene music goes here] … the corporate newsletter. Things that you were looking forward to delegating—interviewing stakeholders (boring), taking their pictures with your digital camera cause the company will not purchase one (boring), brainstorming the next Tech Talk Q&A (boring), updating the calendar of events (total snoozer)—these duties still are within your job responsibilities.
Fret not; leverage your new title to infuse some innovation in producing and publishing that corporate newsletter. The design of this deliverable doesn’t have to mimic its traditional template. To maximize readership of your newsletter, beyond those who are featured in the newsletter, think outside the box.
First, assess the vision and value of your company’s newsletter. Consider its name (is it compelling or appropriately promote the company’s brand?); is the content useful, too lengthy, engaging? Is the visual design dynamic? Are the overall concepts presented forward-thinking or merely forgettable?
After you have completed a thorough assessment, research other corporate newsletters, find best practices, which will help you strive toward excellence in publishing your editions.
There are several things you can consider when seeking to jazz-up your corporate newsletter:
- Invite several colleagues to contribute their perspective to a particular “spotlight” or “strategic commentary” section. The more participation, the more people are encouraged to read the newsletter, and truly feel that they have contributed to something valuable. Also, this idea promotes a “one-team” approach opposed to an executive taking sole ownership of vision for the company.
- Assemble the right team. If you have the resources to do so, employ creative professionals who truly understand the principles of design and content: Visual Designer, Content Strategist, and Information Architect. If you must wear all of these hats, educate yourself about the importance of “intelligent design”, inclusive of audience consideration, and compelling and clear information, which is easy to navigate and is complemented by useful and engaging graphics.
- Marry innovation and human experience. Make your corporate newsletter “sizzle” with dynamic elements such as brief Q&As with executives and “learning corners” that feature whitepapers, abstracts, or other deliverables that inspire “shared knowledge.” More elements include:
- Little known facts about the company or colleagues
- Polls and surveys that, again, spark increased participation and readership; it’s also a great way to garner feedback on the value of your newsletter
- Photos, images, and graphics, oh my! Amid new-century delivery of newsletters these days coupled with busy schedules, people are scanning more and reading less; use photos to communicate stories or charts and graphs to translate or simplify complex ideas such as quarterly earnings or analysts’ reports
- Humor – inject some fun such as providing a comical recap of the company’s holiday party or offering fashion advice and etiquette tips for the upcoming Black & White ball; or even hold a baby picture contest
- Create and plan an editorial calendar. This will certainly make your life, as the editor, easier. At the start of each fiscal year, invite a team to help you identify the important corporate events during the year (e.g., sales rally, tradeshows, conferences, etc.). Then, dedicate specific editions of the newsletter to those events, which makes the newsletter more “relatable” and in-tuned to the company’s business momentum. Also, provide contributing writers with a full deadline and production schedule.
- Make the newsletter your signature portfolio piece. In the professional world, we are what we produce. So, create something that you will be proud to showcase to not only your colleagues, but also to potential future employers, or even your own clients someday.
Voila, now you have newfound energy to take on your corporate newsletter. With any content-oriented project, it is important to treat it as a strategic puzzle—consider all the pieces such as audience, brand, information, design, delivery, and results. Once all the pieces are in place, what you’ll have is a blueprint for recurring success.
“We’re on board with that.”
Need help “enlivening” your information, let WriteFusion help. We’re just a click away, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kimberly is Principal Content Consultant for WriteFusion. She has extensive experience in newspaper, business, and creative writing. She’s worked in the e-business and technology consulting field as well as in the industry of higher education.
Write On is a column published quarterly, which explores tips, trends, mechanics, and perspectives in content, information design, and writing.
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