Eight Ideas and Techniques for Generating Employee Newsletter Articles
Coming up with great employee newsletter ideas every time you write your employee newsletter is perhaps the most grueling and frustrating part of managing this in-house task.
Be careful trying to assemble an on-time employee or company newsletter because the dynamics associated with this task can quickly lead to drudgery and the feeling as though a sword is always hanging over your head. If this happens to you, hating your job, experiencing mind intrusion (thinking about the task and having it always in on your mind), and eventually seeking relief by allowing the newsletter to dwindle and –poof—disappear, will be your fate.
When in-house, do it yourself newsletters will flop. Everyone is thinking the same thing, “Hey, what happened to that newsletter we used to get?”
To reduce your stress and prevent the frustration of newsletter management, systematize the steps in your production. Create a structure that works automatically to produce the sort of content you want so you can complete other assignments of your job that management likely thinks are more important.
Employee newsletters and company newsletters are often viewed by management as “nice to have” benefits for employees, but they are anything but.
In fact, employee workplace-wellness and productivity newsletters—as I have settled on calling them--are management tools for reducing risk of loss in the organization. There is a business case for the employee workplace-wellness and productivity newsletter. They are not a “nice to have” line item expense.
Employees are the organization’s most valuable resource, and of course, they are the most costly even when they are healthy and productive. With employees on the payroll who are at-risk with severe personal problems, costs can explode with a critical incident.
The important thing is to have your newsletter focus on wellness, productivity, news, and prompting employees always to consider the company’s EAP or recommended helping resource. As you can see, jokes and recipes in workplace wellness newsletters don’t really help employees and employers. Save these things for the office kitchen bulletin board.
Most employees who have responsibility for producing in-house employee newsletter production as a collateral duty worry and fret over deadlines, and this in-part explains why most company newsletters fail, despite the excitement they generate at first. The human body and mind will relieve itself of stress one way or the other, procrastination certainly is one way its done.
If you have quality employee newsletter ideas before sitting down to write your newsletter, it will go faster and smoother, and the articles you produce will be of higher quality. How do you get them? How do you collect them? How do you systematically ensure that they are collected? And how to you write about these ideas so they will have meaning and be of practical use to employees?
No matter how excited you are about producing an employee newsletter, definitely plan ahead and answer these questions first. The hardest part about internal workplace newsletter management is coming up with ideas for employee newsletter articles and funneling them into a production process that requires little, and preferably no energy or stress on your part. If you do not heed this warning, you will dread this task and find yourself on weekends giving up your personal life, forced to produce the company newsletter.
Side note: These instruments are called “employee workplace wellness and productivity newsletters.” An employee workplace wellness and productivity newsletter has one overarching goal: Deliver useful and practical tips and education to employees that promotes their wellbeing, improved productivity, and informs them about important company news, as needed.
Notice that I said “as needed.” You won’t always have company news or you at times will not have it available for the newsletter. Launch the newsletter anyway (you can use FrontLine Employee to remove the burden of finding employee newsletter ideas and topics, but you can also find employee newsletter content writers on Upwork.com.)
Have button on the bottom of your computer in the “Task Bar” link to a free “Evernote” account. This tool allows you to have a virtual file cabinet of stuff. Put ideas you generate and collect here. Here is a graphic of what my Evernote for newsletter ideas looks like.
When an employee newsletter idea strikes me out of the blue, I click the button and type the idea here for a future issue of FrontLine Employee.
My secret to finding great ideas for employee newsletter articles is the news tab on Google. Any keyword can be used on Google, and followed by clicking the “news” tab. Here is an image of this tab.
Beyond these two tricks, there are FIVE major sources of employee newsletter ideas that I would like to recommend.
They include 1) issues going on in your workplace and the lives of your employees; 2) recommendations made to you by employees and management; 3) a search of topics that you might find on the web site known as USA.gov (this is a web site portal for the U.S. Government but there is so much stuff on this site, employee newsletter ideas will not b hard to find); 4) topics that are related to current issues in your community locally or nationally; and 5) a survey of the most popular topics of concern facing companies and employees by searching Twitter, HR Workforce Management Forums, and employee newsletter ideas you get simply from reading journals and magazines.
Make it a one minute – 60 seconds only – tradition to collect company newsletter ideas and topics at every meeting of employees. Do this and you will not run dry of ideas. When employees are in groups, synergy and mastermind dynamics take place. This mastermind effect is inherent in humans. Exploit this for one minute at the end of all meetings have a scribe write down the employee newsletter ideas.
Employee Newsletter Ideas from Workplace Issues Affecting Your Workplace
Pay attention. Have there been layoffs, a recent accident, a theft, downsizing, or a lot of people out sick with the Flu? To generate content ideas ask who, what, when, how, which, why, where, and “what’s behind the story”. As you spot issues day by day or week by week, jot down your employee newsletter ideas and keep them in a file or a coffee can. Nothing works better than a coffee can! Just jot your idea on a post-it note and throw it in.
Newsletter Ideas from Your Employees
Solicit employee newsletter ideas from your employees by email blasts, permitting. They will keep you busy with new ideas but you must ask. Pay attention to their complaints because they will tell what they want just be observing their behavior on the job. Do a survey, it works great and then plan articles for future issues from these issues.
Search the USA.gov Web Site
There is a ton of stuff on this web site that includes content from the federal agencies of the U.S. government, state, local governments, and universities nationwide. Google a topic an you are sure to find a tone of stuff.
Local News and National Events
A word of caution: Stay away from politically charged content or controversial topics that rub people the wrong way. This includes religious matters, matters of sexuality, politics, “social justice” and similar issues. Do not use a newsletter to criticize officials, comment on new events, or similar topics.
Pay attention to your gut like I do. I have torn up articles that I have taken a day to write because I was not sure if they were going to be truly appropriate.
Be firm in refusing to run controversial content. and most ecological content issues like global warming, conservation ecology, and animal rights. These subjects will cause big problems and your employees will raise heck. The sooner your employee newsletter article ideas includes these articles the more effective they will be.
Topics on Forums, Journals, and Social Media
This can be a super source can help you discover what is topical. Go to Twitter and scan entries. Twitter.com actually will give you content entries that by keywords. Search with hashtags. A tag like “difficult people” can lead to many articles ideas.
So, let us say you need employee newsletter ideas related to workplace stress. Then search the Twitter browser bar starting with “Workplace Problem with_______” and see what pops up. You will be surprised. It might be trouble with day care or trouble with the boss. Ideas will pop in your head. Be sure to write down.
Avoid a mind block and the staring at a blank screen on your computer when trying to produce employee newsletter ideas. Use a system, love your job more, and avoid the stress.