If you work with several colleagues on the same project, you might have noticed how difficult it is to follow each other’s progress, especially when you’re not working on the same tasks or if you’re not from the same city or country (as is the case in H2020 projects). As a team, it is important to keep up to date with the latest achievements of your partners to ensure an up-to-date and cohesive consortium.
As a communication assistant on European research projects, I realised how essential it is to maintain good communication between us and to share the latest news about our project. Whether it be the arrival of new members in the team, or an achieved goal it is important to get the right message to the right people. Newsletters play a role in a strong communication strategy: if the messages delivered are interesting, relevant and coherent, the team in charge of communication won’t be the only one to share information and will create engagement. Today we are going to share with you a few tips with you to improve your internal communication by using an important method of internal information dissemination: newsletters.
1. Use an online newsletter tool
There are plenty of online newsletter tools on the internet, each of them has its own specificities. You can try and compare which one suits your needs the most: for marketing or information purposes, the number of contacts you would like to send emails, the level of customisation, etc. They offer more or less the same free functionalities such as customization of templates, scheduling and analysis of your mailing campaigns.
Here is the top 5¹:
They all have their pros and cons but at Sparks & Co, our favourite one is MailChimp because of its intuitive and user-friendly interface but also their great sense of humour that you can see in their visual identity:
The main advantage using a newsletter tool is it enables you to create a newsletter that your colleagues not only find easy to read but also one that they look forward to reading. In addition the easy format allows them to spend only a few minutes to catch up the latest news about the team.
2. Be organised in the gathering of information
As it is a written assignment, starting with a plan will help you to visualise the future newsletter. Filling the blank spaces with relevant information the other members of the team want to or should know will be up to you. For instance you should include the latest news about a project or the team, relevant articles and events that could interest your audience, or information about the next deliverable deadline.
Choosing the relevant information is one thing, the process of gathering information is another. For example when including the latest news about the team, it is important to know in advance the information that you would like to share. As everyone doesn’t work on the same tasks, they might not progress at the same time. Depending on the fact that they might be busy or maybe on holidays, take into account that it might take some time before getting an answer! A smart organisational structure for these internal newsletters will allow you to contact the person in plenty of time to allow them to provide you with the content you need.
3. Add some interactive and relevant content
Reading a text without images can be dull and can feel like a chore if there is a lot of written text. To avoid this, add some colours in your titles to enhance them, and if you can, include some photos and videos to share with your partners. Photos and videos that the partners provide, from events they attended or some presentation they gave can enhance the connection between the members of the team. A personal touch is sometimes much appreciated! You can experiment several tools online or use software and challenge your creativity to provide attractive but still serious content. People will always remember and speak about content which draws their attention.
Of course, sharing information is important but it has to be done with the relevance in mind. People don’t like to waste time to read something that didn’t inform them about something new. Creating an interesting newsletter may take some time: you have to carefully read any article you may share, create graphics related to the information if it can help illustrate some articles or even look for interesting events related to your field to attend soon or later. In a few words, if you found something relevant, the readers might think the same.
We hope these few tips will help you in improving your internal communication, do not forget that the main aim of an internal newsletter is to keep the conversation between all the members of your company or institution.
Were these tips were helpful for you? Did you have new ideas of improvement for your internal newsletter? You can share your opinion on the comments below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
¹ According to: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2453354,00.asp
² Myemma.com that is, not our International Cooperation Manager: Emma (though she does also have internal communication skills!).