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“You want to have some continuity [with your newsletter]. You have to create a habit.
Four times a year, you're able to do that. It starts to slip away after that.”- Steve Crescenzo

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Issue 43   September, 2016

How often to publish
Employee newsletters:
How often should you publish?


Dear <<First Name>>,
How often should you send an employee newsletter? As with many areas of communication, the answer is, “It depends.” You want the publication:
  • ...to be seen often enough that it’s familiar or expected, but not so often that it’s annoying.
  • ...to be timely enough to be useful, but not so infrequent that it’s out of date.
  • ...to complement the information available elsewhere (such as your intranet or website), providing background and perspective rather than repeating the once fast-breaking news that has gone stale. Frequent updates can also combine messages to limit the flood of “all employee” emails.
Properly answering the “how often?” question takes you back to your strategy and the reason for the publication. How often do you need to publish to serve your purpose? “Delivering news” must be frequent or it’s out of date. “Providing background and perspective” can be less often. That means:
  • Weekly or even daily updates aren't too often if your company is undergoing major upheaval and has much to communicate – and you have the resources to keep the pace. A number of people joining an IABC #CommChat in November 2015 had weekly or monthly newsletters.
  • Quarterly isn’t bad if you complement it with frequent news online. Employee communications evangelist Steve Crescenzo prefers quarterly because he finds people don’t have time to turn out a quality monthly publication. On Twitter, communications professional Karen DeBreau said quarterly “seems ideal” for her 12-page publication, produced in five languages (!) for a global organization of 5,500 employees.
  • Save two or three times a year for a special report, complemented by more frequent online information. An IABC contact on Twitter said her company’s three issues a year aren’t enough, and she’d like to see a shorter, more concise monthly newsletter.
  • Once a year is fine for a one-time publication like an employee annual report or anniversary celebration, but don’t call it a newsletter.
  • Whatever you choose, be consistent.
Over the years, several contacts have reduced the frequency of their print publications (yes, print still lives!) to save money. In one case, the company was thinking of changing a quarterly newsletter to twice a year and increasing the size. Another dropped a quarterly to three times a year.
 
I always suggest companies cut the length or frills of a publication before cutting the frequency. In an email exchange earlier in 2016, Steve agreed, “I would definitely recommend cutting down the length instead of going to three times a year. You want to have some continuity. You have to create a habit. Four times a year, you're able to do that. It starts to slip away after that.”
 
And don’t be distracted by people telling you that employees are drowning in information. You know yourself that when you get something of value, you’ll read it no matter how much else is in your inbox. And that’s the key whatever the frequency – make sure the content delivers VALUE.
 
What do you think is the ideal frequency for a newsletter? Please hit "reply" to share your thoughts.

Freelance writer Sue HornerMay I help you?
Many of my clients are overworked corporate communicators who appreciate a writer who provides clear, friendly and readable copy. I simplify the complex, uncover “what’s in it for me?” and find the human angle in just about any story. Contact me and let’s chat about how I can take some pressure off your day.
Sue's photo: Rob Jeanveau of IABC/Golden Horseshoe. Reader by "graur razvan ionut" and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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(IABC CommChat Nov. 2015)

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