Internal communications

Dos and don’ts of the internal comms newsletter

By March 12, 2015 No Comments

Your department is tasked with the all-important job of keeping employees informed and feeling engaged, but do you have the tools to do it?

Internal communications are often the unsung heroes of the marketing world, tasked with everything from communicating culture change within an organisation to simply keeping different arms of a business informed on what the other is doing.

A report from last year, The Global Perspective Survey, by research company ORC, shows that the role of internal communications has never been more vital. According to its findings, the UK currently ranks the third lowest globally for employee engagement. Among other things, only 36% of respondents in the UK believed that organisational change is managed well and less than 40% hold positive perceptions of senior management.

The UK currently ranks the third lowest globally for employee engagement

Email is still the go-to tool for internal communications but it’s got to be done well to be effective. Here are my top five dos and don’ts for success.

Don’t cram too much into your subject line

I like to think of subject lines for emails in the same way as I do a headline for a story – applying some journalistic thinking to your comms can reap rewards and increase open rates. Take Time magazine for example. Speaking to The Poynter Institute’s blog last November, Time’s editorial director for audience strategy, Callie Schweitzer, shared how the publication’s newsletter achieved a 40% open rate (more than twice the industry average of 16%). She said that Time learned through A/B testing that open rates decrease when subject lines are crowded. A tightly written headline always wins out so Time’s sub editors aim for 45 characters or fewer in subject lines, which means they not only pique interest but are readable in full on most smartphones.

Don’t throw the kitchen sink at it

You’ve probably got several key messages to communicate and in a large organisation there’s going to be a lot to talk about but don’t let every single department hijack your newsletter. Create a content calendar and schedule updates from different departments. They’ll be happy knowing they’ve got a slot and you can concentrate on keeping copy concise and calls to action punchy.

Do include some white space

It’s a running joke that all graphic designers ask for is more white space but they have a point. If your copy has room to ‘breathe’ and the overall design of your internal comms newsletter is visually appealing, people are more likely to read it. Simple as that. Also, more white space makes newsletters easier to read on mobile.

Do use video

Who says all your comms have to be in written format? A message from the CEO via video can be more powerful than a written message (that most people will assume – correctly? – was written by your department anyway). If yours is one of the organisations where staff have a poor perception of senior management, making them visible – literally – can be very effective.

Do optimise it for mobile

If your email isn’t optimised for mobile, it’s going to be ignored

An internal comms survey from 2014 by Newsweaver and Melcrum revealed that 64% of employees can access company content via their own devices – people catch up on email on the way into or on the way home from work and if your email isn’t optimised for mobile, it’s going to be ignored.

If you have any questions on how to revitalise your internal comms, why not get in touch? We’d be happy to help.

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