10 Essential Tips for Writing Effective Employee Newsletters

Alex Cleary

Updated:

Employee Newsletters

Great writing does more than communicate information—it piques interest, evokes emotion, and demands the reader’s attention. Learn how to write an effective employee newsletter with our professional writing tips and strategies.

With so many recurring internal communications—weekly emails, monthly newsletters, yearly progress reports—it’s tempting to fall into predictable writing habits.

Break free from monotonous copy in internal communications with our practical tips for writing an engaging company newsletter.

Do you find it easier to write if you have a pre-made example or template? Use our professionally-designed sample emails to kickstart your own writing process:

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10 Essential Tips for Writing Effective Employee Newsletters

We all know bad writing when we see it: poor grammar, disconnected ideas, unstructured arguments, typos, etc. But writing clearly isn’t as easy as it seems; like all tasks, it takes careful planning and attention to detail. 

Many of the employee newsletter writing tips we’re sharing come from the wonderful book, Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams and Joseph Bizup. If you’d like to take your internal communications writing to the next level, we cannot recommend this book enough.

1. Create a voice and style guide for your internal communications

Before we get into any specific tips, it’s important to outline your writing strategy for internal communications. For effective internal communications, consistency is key: by using familiar language, structure, and style across your internal communications, your employees will be able to read easier and absorb information quicker.

We encourage you to create your own Voice/Tone/Style guide—or to adapt an existing company style guide for your internal communications. While not as comprehensive as an internal communication plan or internal communication content strategy, your style guide will outline things like:

  • Sentence and paragraph length
  • Common errors, typos, grammatical errors 
  • Reading comprehension level of the audience
  • Company-specific vocabulary and terminology
  • Writing style for your internal communications—do you write formally or informally? Do you address the reader directly or not? Does the writer identify themselves with “I” or “we”?

Feel free to take the tips and strategies above and incorporate them into your style guide. The goal is to make writing your company newsletter an easy, productive, and consistent practice.

2. Write for your specific audience

It’s almost impossible to write effectively if you don’t know your audience. Even as I write this now, I have an idea of who will be reading it and I choose my words and grammar accordingly. 

If you are unsure how to write your internal company newsletter or internal emails, think about the kind of writing that your audience (employees) would be familiar with. Are your employees technical-oriented engineers or people-first salespeople? Is your company culture formal or informal? 

All this information will help you decide what kind of language, tone, and grammar is most effective for your employee communications. You may also want to ask, “what will stand out to my target audience most?”.

And remember: you are also an employee at your company, with insight into what kind of writing is best-suited for writing an employee newsletter. 

3. Simple writing is clear writing

There is a tendency among budding writers to think that complex sentences are better than simple ones. After all, the more details you can include in a sentence to describe the idea the better, right?

However, seasoned writers know that the opposite is often true: simple sentences communicate ideas better than complex sentences. Readers should not have to struggle to discern the important information in your writing; simple writing strips away distractions so readers are only left with the information that matters most. 

When you are writing an internal company newsletter or email, always ask yourself: can this sentence be more succinct? Here are some simple ways you can keep your sentences short and sweet:

  • Avoid long, introductory clauses in your sentences. The dependent clause in the previous paragraph (“When you are writing an internal company newsletter or email,”) roughly represents the longest introductory dependent clause you should use in your writing.
  • Avoid interrupting the subject-verb connection. Every sentence contains a subject and predicate (verb), and readers navigate sentences by understanding how these two elements relate to each other. This means you should make your subject and predicate as clear as possible: in the second paragraph of this section, the sentence makes the subject and predicate clear immediately (“Season writers (subject) know (verb)….”). 

We’ll explore some best practices for writing your subject and predicate in the next section.

4. Instead of “subject/predicate”, think “action/actor”

Writing about business can get a little abstract. When encountering unclear sentences, readers can struggle to determine who is doing what. For example:

“Maintenance on our systems will take place on Friday.” 

You can easily avoid this confusion by ensuring that the subject of your sentence is the person/actor/object doing the action in the predicate of your sentence. To fix the example in the previous paragraph, you just have to reword it slightly: 

“The IT Team will be performing maintenance on our systems on Friday.”

It may seem obvious, but you should explicitly state the actor (subject) of your sentence when you can. Don’t leave it up to your employees to infer who you’re talking about! The second sentence is also an easily recognizable sentence pattern (transitive verb pattern), which means it’s easier understood by ESL employees and translated by softwares.

5. Be strict with your word choice

Whenever you write a sentence for another person, always ask yourself: “What is the minimum information required to communicate this idea?”. This question will help you strip away unnecessary words and phrases from your sentences, leaving only the most valuable information for your readers.

Compare these two sentences:

“As has been discussed by management, Company Ltd. has decided to implement a hybrid work strategy that will be implemented at the start of the next quarter.”

“Next quarter, Company Ltd. will implement a hybrid work strategy.”

Both sentences communicate the exact same information, but the second sentence is much clearer than the first. By stripping away unnecessary information and choosing simple sentence construction, you can ensure your internal communications are clear and effective.

6. Use passive voice strategically

Unless you’re a lawyer, you’ve probably been told to avoid passive voice. Passive voice is when the subject of your sentence isn’t performing the action, but is receiving the action:

“Employee evaluations will be conducted in the coming weeks by managers.”

Compare this sentence structure to a similar sentence written in active voice:

“Managers are conducting employee evaluations in the coming weeks.”

Both sentences convey the same information, but in two very different ways. To determine which is best suited for your current situation, you need to consider to whom you’re writing. A sentence with a subject that applies to the reader will always be more engaging than a sentence that doesn’t. 

So, in this example, if you’re writing to employees, use the passive construction to get their attention quickly. But if you’re writing to managers, use the active voice instead to put them in the subject position. 

7. Create an easy flow of ideas between your sentences

As demonstrated in the previous section, you can use different sentence structures to highlight information important to your readers. You can also do this to create an easy-to-follow flow between your sentences. 

Here are some simple rules for structuring your sentences when writing your company newsletter or emails:

  • Open your sentences with information familiar to the reader: This will give readers an easy starting point to understand what you’re communicating to them.
  • End sentences with new information: After the previous step, you can then mention new information towards the end of the sentence.
  • Repeat the process: Start your next sentence by explaining the new information you introduced at the end of the previous sentence, and then connect it to new information at the end of the current sentence.

Here’s an example of an effective sentence flow:

“On Monday, your manager will explain the details of our new Fire Safety Plan. Our Fire Safety Plan will include information about emergency procedure, plan stakeholders, and legal requirements. To meet legal requirements, we are asking all employees to set time aside to learn our new Fire Safety procedures.”

Each subsequent sentence adds context to information mentioned at the end of the previous sentence. This simple structure is an incredibly effective way to write an employee newsletter. 

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8. Organize your writing with intuitive formatting

While not directly related to writing, your internal newsletter design has a big impact on how your employees will read your newsletter writing. 

Most information on the internet is organized using different styles of text (e.g. headings, subheadings, lists, body text, etc.). Whether they’re aware of it or not, your employees intuitively analyze information according to these styles. Organizing your internal emails according to this structure is one of the best tips for writing a company newsletter.

Use these styles consistently throughout your internal communications to organize your information. These styles not only present information in a logical order to your employees, but they also connect information together even if not explicitly stated. We encourage you to outline rules for how styles are used within your style guide.

9. Always proofread your email newsletter content

We know it’s nobody’s favourite task, but proofreading and grammar checking is crucially important for writing an effective company newsletter. No matter how talented or thorough a writer may be, they will always catch issues or errors upon a second reading. 

We cannot recommend enough to make proofreading an integral part of your process for writing an employee newsletter. You will catch mistakes you made, and removing them will reduce the amount of distractions your readers will have to deal with.

We know proofreading can be a tedious process, which is why we encourage internal communicators to use software tools to aid the proofreading process. Using ContactMonkey’s ChatGPT writing assistant, you can quickly run your email copy through a comprehensive spelling and grammar check to catch anything errors you might have made:

OpenAI ChatGPT3 integration for writing internal employee memos

You can also use our ChatGPT integration to uncover novel ways to communicate information in your internal communications. Just be careful to check the generated text to ensure it matches your style guide!

Check out our guide on using ChatGPT for internal communications.

10. Test, test, and test again

You’ve created your own style guide; you’ve followed our writing tips for employee newsletters; you’ve drafted and sent out your carefully-written internal newsletter; now what?

Clear writing is an ongoing process. You need to understand how your readers read your content, where they struggle, and what you can do to improve. This is the starting point for testing your internal email writing.

There are two ways you can test the effectiveness of your internal newsletter: email analytics and employee feedback. Email analytics give you quantitative data into how your employees engaged with your internal email. Learn how many of your employees opened your email or clicked on a link, how long they read your email, and even what parts of your email grabbed their attention via heat maps:

ContactMonkey's click map feature

Combine this quantitative data with qualitative feedback collected from employee surveys. We recommended including a brief pulse survey at the bottom of your internal emails to let employees tell you what they thought of your email:

Employee surveys easily embedded into emails using ContactMonkey

If you’re curious about whether your writing was clear, just ask your employees! Using ContactMonkey’s anonymous employee feedback feature, your audience can even provide written feedback and suggestions that can help you write more effective employee newsletters in the future!

7 ways to get honest feedback from employee surveys

Will your workforce tell the truth? Foster trust and openness with your employees using these tips.

Great Internal Communications Start with Great Writing

Now that you’re confident on how to write an effective employee newsletter, we encourage you to take charge of your internal communication writing. We hope that our employee newsletter tips help you be proud of the writing you produce knowing that you’ve given your readers the tools they need to get the most from your writing.

At ContactMonkey, we want all our customers to produce the best internal communications they can. Whether you’re writing, designing, sending, or tracking internal communications, ContactMonkey’s all-in-one internal communication tool can help you along every step of the process.

Take your internal communications to the next level with ContactMonkey. Try ContactMonkey for free to see the difference we can make for your internal communications.