5 Hacks for Creating Actually Engaging Internal Emails

“Business and organizations function best when they make their employees’ commitment, potential, creativity and capability central to their operation.”

 – David Macleod, Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance Through Employee Engagement, 2009.

We feel your pain. You’ve been working hard on crafting a new newsletter or rounding up important news about your company.

You send out an employee email to the entire organization and days go by without anyone saying anything about it. 

What’s worse, most of your employees have probably missed the important announcements and you’re stuck wondering how to create engaging internal emails.

Even after sending out internal emails with all the relevant information, you will be bombarded with questions like:

“What? I didn’t know we could get the flu shot at the office!”
“Is office yoga still happening?”
“When are we being sent our tax information?”

And it will take all of your strength and self-control to not climb on your desk and yell,


It’s not your fault. It’s not their fault, either.

Modern life has become a battlefield for attention and the #pingpong channel on Slack, funny memes and Instagram are your competition. What this means is that your employee emails better be engaging, concise and entertaining to have a fighting chance.

For that reason, let’s go over five hacks we’ve encountered that will help you create engaging internal corporate newsletters and emails.

1) The first impression (aka the subject line) matters

You can craft the perfect and most beautiful newsletter or write award-winning copy, but if no one opens it, your email might as well be empty. To ensure your emails get opened, you have to:

  • Use short subject lines: research has found that subject lines between 6-10 words have the highest open rates. Another thing to consider is that most people check their email on their cell phones, so a shorter subject line will ensure that your email is displayed correctly
  • Lead with desire: put yourself in their shoes, what email would you open? For your employees to open an email, the subject line needs to go beyond information to address their desires and needs. For example, if for your weekly pizza lunch the menu has been changed to Thai food, which email subject line would you click on …

“Information regarding pizza lunch” or “We’ve got a delicious surprise for lunch” ?

2) Make the content relatable (inside jokes are welcome)

Just as inside jokes play a key role within your group of friends, employees also like to feel that their organization is unique and special, so they will appreciate any references to company-wide experiences in the form of a call-back to that funny shirt your CEO wears or that time the power went out.

Instead of just being informational, make sure that your content speaks to the specifics of your company, whether in the form of a comment about the local sports team, the weather, or the beer selection at company socials.

3) Make it fun and memorable

send better employee newsletters

On that same note, since you’re now competing for attention with Instagram and funny videos of monkeys on YouTube, you need to embrace that your readers expect you to be entertaining. Here are some tips to do exactly that:

  • Add memes, gifs and other visuals to break up your text. Giphy is a great tool that allows you to add gifs to your email and they even have an Outlook add-on (get it here)
  • Add emojis to your subject lines whenever possible
  • Keep it short, fun-size, easily digestible. The golden rule to remember: brevity is king
  • Be a real person. Even when it comes to official announcements, people like hearing from actual people who sound human so your tone needs to reflect that

4) Use the inverted pyramid for information

engaging internal emails

You know firsthand that people have a hard time reading your emails, so you need to make the most out of the couple of minutes when you have their attention. For that reason, you need to embrace the inverted pyramid, a technique used by journalists that illustrates how to prioritize information.

Start Sending and Tracking Employee Emails with ContactMonkey for Free 

In short, the inverted pyramid entails that you should lead with the most crucial piece of information first, followed by other important details and then finish with general information. That way, if your audience stops reading half way, they will still have taken away the most important announcements.

5) Reuse old content

Since most people don’t finish reading emails (and sometimes don’t even open them), employees will undoubtedly miss some information, so reusing content is a great way to increase the chances that they see important announcements.  You can find some tips for getting more people to read your messages here.

You might think that repeating content could get annoying, but fortunately, modern tools allow you to track your emails to the link level right from Outlook or Gmail, so you can see which announcements have been looked at and which haven’t.

Keeping an eye on that granular information will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, leading you to write better emails every time you send something out.

Bonus: How to Measure Engagement from Internal Emails 

Now that you’ve got the tips and hacks to start creating engaging internal emails, how are you measuring if they are effective?

Like we’ve previously mentioned, tracking employee newsletters for opens and clicks will help you create more engaging and relevant content.

With ContactMonkey you can track internal corporate newsletters on an overall campaign level or an individual employee level right within Outlook using your Outlook distribution list. Tracking opens, link clicks, devices and location will help you identify what content employees find engaging.

If you wanted to dive deeper into what actually creates an engaging internal email we recommend including social reactions, pulse surveys, Like buttons and star rating within your employee newsletters.

Using Social Reactions 😀 within Internal Emails

Give your employees the ability to love, like and laugh at any content you send them via email. With social reactions now your internal comms team can constantly gather feedback in a seamless way.

Pulse Surveys ✅ for Employee Engagement

With pulse surveys, you’ll also get actionable data on your email communications in seconds. You’ll be able to see all of the responses live in real time on your ContactMonkey dashboard.

Like Buttons 👍 within your Newsletter Content

By adding like buttons to your own internal emails, you’ll be able to engage your employees with your content and actually learn what they like. (Keep reading to learn how you can create interactive emails for your employees)

Get Social Reactions and Pulse Surveys for My Employee Newsletters


These hacks have worked amazingly for our clients and us, but we’re always on the lookout for more. What are some of your best performing subject lines or emails?

What has resonated in the past with your employees? Let us know in the comments below or tweet at us!

If you want to start learning what actually engages employees you should test drive a FREE TRIAL of our Internal Email Tracking Tool for Outlook! Simply request a demo and we will get you set up!