I know that producing an employee newsletter isn't easy. After all, you've got to find compelling content, get it approved, put the publication together and cross your fingers that employees will actually open it, read it and get it.

Partly because of the degree of difficulty, newsletters are often static, stale and stifling.

It's fine that there's really no news--everyone's already heard about the urgent issues--but often there's no interesting content, either. There are too many quotes by old white guys (a.k.a., senior management). Articles are too long. Helpful information is lacking.

What can you do to refresh your employee newsletter? Take advice from a group of very smart communicators I hung out with last week from Rutgers University. I was leading a workshop on creating newsletters, but, as usual when I get together with communicators, they had many great ideas about how to make newsletters compelling and meaningful. 

Here are the 23 attributes these experts suggest be part of every employee newsletter:

  1. Short, easily digestible content
  2. Surprising, uplifting--even fun!
  3. Relevant to employees' needs
  4. Helpful advice--give employees information to solve a problem, tackle a challenge and make improvements
  5. Clever writing
  6. Consistent schedule, so employees know when to expert the newsletter 
  7. Appealing photos
  8. Simple copy
  9. Inspiring and motivating
  10. Unique information (that employees can't find anywhere else)
  11. Organized by topic, so the newsletter is easy to navigate
  12. Concise blurbs that get at the heart of the story
  13. A heads up on upcoming events 
  14. Catchy headlines
  15. Punchy subject lines
  16. Content that interests employees (that they want to learn more about)
  17. Personalized, based on criteria employees can set
  18. Colorful
  19. Addresses questions that needs to be answered
  20. Convenient
  21. Curated, so it's short and purposeful
  22. Links that take employees to more information
  23. Demonstrates that the organization cares about its people

Nice list, right? I know that some of these are more difficult than others, but I hope these ideas give you a good start to improve your newsletter.