Using email newsletters to improve internal communications and drive traffic to your intranet

e-newsletterWhen it comes to group and mass communication, the intranet and email are the two dominant channels, and both evoke strong feelings from people whove had poor experiences.

Poor experience? I didnt know it was on the intranet and I get too many long emails.

Well designed email newsletters can drive interest in the intranet and reduce email overload.

Email is not dead

As much as we must focus on new ways of working, and use the appropriate channel / tool for the job, email is not dead, nor hated by everyone.

Reducing email overload while increasing awareness, involvement, and engagement can delight your stakeholders and audiences if you can demonstrate impact. To get the right metrics, you need more than Microsoft Outlook.

Your e-newsletters can drive intranet use, and publishing urgent and important updates on your intranet can help develop trust (helping people expect valuable content on the intranet). Different people prefer and rely on different channels; make holistic use of your channels to reach more people.

Reduce email overload with aggregate e-newsletters

Good communication is about the quality and the quantity. Employee engagement is going to go down if every day is a battle with their inbox. Reducing the number of emails a person receives through the month can increase their perception of the quality of your comms.

The idea is to set a schedule for your regular mail-shot, and restrict the number of topics within each e-newsletter. As a channel manager, youre already used to maintaining a pipeline or news schedule; this is no different.

The hard part is involving all the stakeholders who believe their news is urgent and important. Governance has to be set to stop individual organisation-wide projects, programmes, and initiatives from emailing every employee.

Your newsletter can work hand in hand with your intranet. If a stakeholder insists that their news is urgent and important, assure them that it can go on the intranet asap, and appear in the next e-newsletter (or the one after). Explain that people often need more than one opportunity to see a piece of news, so staggered, repeated communication can be great.

The governance that stops certain stakeholders from emailing every employee does not stop projects, programmes, and initiatives from publishing news on their own intranet sites and offering subscriptions. Subscriptions allow employees to opt-in to notifications when something new is published.

For a valuable internal e-newsletter:

  • Design the layout to be on-brand, distinctive, and clear;
  • Optimise and test your email so that it works well and looks good across desktop, tablet and smartphones;
  • Stick to a schedule gather content in advance (the aim is to aggregate news into one e-newsletter, rather than allow multiple dull emails to be sent);
  • Set org-wide governance so that project communicators and change initiative comms people know not to develop yet another e-newsletter or email campaign;
  • Craft meaningful headlines and summaries;
  • Use multimedia pictures and videos (pictures of people are great for piquing interest and encouraging clicks);
  • Link to new and existing content on the intranet dont rely on publishing articles wholly within your newsletter;
  • Measure open-rates, and click-through rates so you know what content was of interest;
  • Accept replies! Encourage people to respond pass on feedback to the relevant person.

Dont send using Outlook

If youre laying out and sending mass emails in Outlook, you will struggle to measure results. Read receipts wont provide an accurate open rate as so many people turn them off. You wont know what content within your email piqued peoples interest, unless you dive into your intranet metrics and look for traffic spikes around the time of your email.

For organisation wide emails, the look n feel of your emails has to be on-brand and distinct from all the project and programme emails that others send. Standard Outlook emails arent going to help your news stand out. You either need decent templates, or a separate email system.


We work with some clients who have developed their own solution, allowing them to drag n drop content blocks from SharePoint into their email template.

But we also work for clients using Campaign Monitor; we literally plan, write, send, and monitor internal communications with and on behalf of our clients.

You might prefer to use MailChimp or Newsweaver.

Managing your list of employees within such an email solution can be a task and a half, and thats on top of managing your content pipeline. If we can help, give us a shout.


Now, the big question: do you allow employees to unsubscribe from your weekly corporate e-newsletter?

If you want help with your email newsletter or any other aspect of your intranet and internal communications, its like we can help. Visit our intranet and SharePoint services page to find out how we can help.

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