Newsletters & Portals
1 November 2013
Many organizations manage their organizational and professional knowledge in different platforms, such as organizational portals, professional communities, staff rooms etc. With the launch of the portal begins the next stage- communicating and assimilating the portal into the organization. Usually, in order to pass this stage successfully, we would begin with building a communication and assimilation plan that will guide the activity during this stage.
In this article, I wish to zoom in on one of the tools available for all portal and community managers: the electronic magazine, more commonly known as a newsletter.
According to Wikipedia
'A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication that is generally about one main topic of interest to its subscribers. Newspapers and leaflets are types of newsletters. For example, newsletters are distributed at schools to inform parents about things that happen in that school.
As mentioned above, newsletters were originally used by large companies as supporting tool for publishing, communication and promoting product sales or informing customers of different services via email.
What is the difference between an organizational/professional portal and a newsletter?
If we take components from the commercial use of newsletters, it seems that this tool can be used for intra-organizational purposes as a means of communication for different organizational processes, welfare activities, and professional information and of course as a supportive means of communication and assimilation in professional portals and communities.
The intra-organizational can serve as a simple and efficient communication channel in the email that assists in distributing messages in the organization and informing edge users of updates and different changes in the portal as well as of organizational processes.
Tips for producing an intra-organizational newsletter:
An effective newsletter is a newsletter which motivates the reader to act and encourages the user to continue consuming content by entering the site and receiving more information as well exposing the user to other content available on the site. It is therefore important to dedicate thought to defining:
The target audiences and its interests.
The objectives which the organizations is interested in promoting through the newsletter and combining this tool as part of the yearly communication program. Define what critical routes you wish to channel readers towards.
Frequency of distribution- is it a monthly newsletter? Is it published around special organizational events/processes? Maybe both?
Template- if the newsletter is monthly, make sure to maintain a fixed template. Plan the different sections of the newsletter that will appear each month. For example, a head story, columns about getting to know the activity of different units in the organization, a 'what's new in the portal' column, etc.
Look & Feel- the newsletter's visibility has added value in conveying messages to edge users. It is recommended and important to dedicate thought to UI issues. This is a onetime investment in creating the template, since most of the activity will focus on collecting and instilling content and integrating it into the existing template.
Combining social media- is your organization ready for integrating elements of social media into the newsletter? According to your organization's readiness, you can begin with the basic option of sending a general survey/feedback concerning the contents of the newsletter, and then proceed with the option to add worker's responses to different articles. Of course, it is important that the answer and treatment are defined and managed.
Concise writing- Clear and simple articulation important in order to make the content accessible and the newsletter affective for its target audience.
If utilized correctly, a newsletter can be an extremely effective tool.