What is the Best Layout for Your Employee e-Newsletter?

Whether you’re launching a new email newsletter for your employees or revamping an existing one, considering the layout is just as important as determining the content strategy.

Before you send out your internal e-newsletter, it’s crucial to analyze the visual components in your template. According to Hubspot, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. That means you should approach your layout as thoughtfully as you do the articles you publish. What’s good for one company may not be good for another, so don’t use the cookie cutter approach when it comes to your layout.

Before you finalize a design template for your email newsletter, ask yourself the following questions:
Is there one specific audience for your newsletter or a variety of audiences?
For instance, when publishing an internal e-newsletter, ask yourself if the content applies to the entire employee base. As an example, an HR notice about vacation accrual will apply to everyone on staff, whereas a new incentive program for the sales team may only be of interest to eligible employees.

Depending on the number of audiences you have, you may want to segment your content in a visual manner. Consider whether you want to use one, two, or three columns in your layout. Using multiple columns will aid you in visually breaking up the information.

Think about your company news and its intended audience in a strategic way. This will be the main driver behind the layout you ultimately choose.
How much content will you include in each issue?
It’s important to know upfront how much content you want to include in each employee newsletter. Will there be recurring columns (e.g. a message from the president)? Do you want a meeting or event calendar in every issue? Will each department have its own section for news?
Although a digital email newsletter gives you greater publishing flexibility than a print newsletter, continuity is still important. For instance, try to choose a page count and stick with it. If a newsletter is two pages one time, and seven pages another time, that may confuse employees (who, in turn, may not look past page two since they think that is the end of the newsletter).
What will be the frequency of the mailings?
It’s vital to pick a publishing schedule that you can adhere to. This will help you plan your content and, ultimately, select a newsletter layout that meets your needs.
For instance, if your CEO likes to communicate with employees regularly and wants to have a monthly column, you can add a sidebar on the front page for his/her message. However, if a he/she prefers to communicate less frequently and you choose to go with a quarterly distribution, it’s important to realize that the president’s message just might have more content to it (since it covers news for three months instead of just one). In this case, you might have to devote an entire page to the president’s message in each issue.
What is the nature of the content?
Will your e-newsletter include lots of full length articles? Will it have tips and suggestions in the form of bulleted lists? Will a calendar be created so employees are aware of important meetings and functions? Will there be several recurring columns from department heads so they can communicate with their teams?
These are all important questions to ask as you review your layout options. Your answers will help determine the way you customize your email newsletter.

Do you want to incorporate recurring images or icons?
Will you use the same banner each month for the company’s sales stats? How about the same icon to announce employee anniversaries? And, of course you’ll always want the president’s message to always include a headshot, right?
Think about the elements you want to include in each issue of your newsletter (and remember the importance of consistency!). Create a checklist so you don’t forget any of them. This list will be a critical part of your planning as you determine a layout that best meets your needs.
The questions you ask yourself early-on will serve as the discovery phase of the process. The answers you come up with will help determine the number of columns you want to use, banners you need to create, applicable icons, color usage, font selection, and more.

Remember, publishing your electronic employee newsletter involves more than just collecting the content. The way it looks is just as important and impacts its success. Analyze what you want to say, how frequently you want to say it, who needs to say it, and the amount you want to say. Then, you’ll have the information you need to create a good newsletter layout that intrigues your readers—and keeps them coming back for more.

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