The internal staff newsletter – the how, who and why?

Sinne Louise Brandt Jakobsen, Euprio Conference Poznan 2019 speaker

Sinne Louise Brandt Jakobsen - Denmark

Sinne Louise Brandt Jakobsen works as a language consultant and communications officer at Aarhus BSS, one of the four faculties at Aarhus University. Among other things, she is responsible for editing the internal staff newsletter, planning and developing the content in close cooperation with the management. In 2015, she completed a PhD degree at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University in the field of strategic political communication. Her thesis focused on the strategic communication of political values in Danish political parties entering into a coalition government. Prior to this, she worked for several years as an external lecturer at Aarhus University and Aalborg University in Denmark teaching and developing various communication and language courses. She holds a Master’s Degree in Language for Special Purposes (English International Marketing, Communication and Public Relations Profile) from Aarhus School of Business.

Summary
Creating an internal staff newsletter that makes sense across different audiences while consolidating the organisational strategy is a tricky business. This session offers advice on how to develop a newsletter that considers the users’ needs and supports the strategic goals of the organisation.

Full description
The session will focus on the key challenges related to developing an internal staff newsletter that strikes the balance between fulfilling the needs of the target audiences and supporting the organisation’s strategic goals as defined by the management.

More specifically, the session will address the key questions of how to create an internal staff newsletter that:

1. Is relevant across audiences in a complex organisation

2. Adds value to the additional internal communication tools and processes in the organisation

3. Supports the organisation’s strategic goals

As editor of the internal staff newsletter at Aarhus BSS (one of the four faculties at Aarhus University), Sinne was asked to rethink the newsletter in terms of form and content in order to increase its relevance, value and strategic role. In this session, Sinne will share the analytical methods she applied in the process of rethinking the newsletter and the experiences she gained. These methods included qualitative interviews, a SWOT analysis, and an analysis of the competitive landscape of the newsletter in the organisation.

The various analyses and the subsequent redesign of the newsletter’s form and content led to increased opening and click rates. However, developing a newsletter and maintaining its relevance for audiences is clearly an ongoing process and one that raises several additional questions and concerns – particularly in complex organisations. For one thing, how to use the newsletter to create dialogue and two-way communication between management and staff is a relevant question that merits further exploration. So is the question of why organisations even need internal staff newsletters when employees receive such vast amounts of other internal messages on a daily basis.

To explore these questions further, the session will include a discussion between participants on the internal staff newsletter as a genre and its continued relevance as an internal communications tool. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences in relation to editing or developing – or perhaps simply receiving – internal staff newsletters in their organisation. More specifically, participants should consider and be prepared to discuss the following questions:

1.     What are the main communicative purposes of the internal staff newsletter – the USP, so to speak?

2.     How can internal staff newsletters meet the needs of the target audience while supporting the strategic goals of the organisation?

3.     How can we use the newsletter to create dialogue between management and staff?   

4.     What is the future of the internal staff newsletter? Will it continue to be relevant in the organisation’s internal communications landscape – why or why not?