We often get asked the question: Should we print our employee newsletter? Our answer: Only if you want your employees to actually read it.
But email/online is “free”
Remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for?” Employees are so inundated with “e-everything” that the online medium has become saturated. Printing the employee newsletter may be more costly, but the return on investment (ROI) is much greater because a physical newsletter is far more likely to be read. And that translates directly into better communication, inspiration and motivation. What good is “free” if the message never actually arrives?
Here are 6 reasons to produce a printed newsletter:
1. Readability. Print newsletters offer easy reading and portability—you can read a print newsletter anywhere. People do not like to read large amounts of text by scrolling on a computer screen. Here is what Paul Swift, Editor and Publisher of The Newsletter on Newsletters has to say: “Studies show online readers retain much less of what they read compared to those reading printed matter…People can keep print newsletters for further or future reading during a commute or some other ‘down time,’ whereas online newsletters are usually skimmed and then deleted.”1
2. Less competition equals immediate attention. A printed newsletter cuts right through the clutter since it’s not competing with dozens of emails clamoring for attention. That’s one of the reasons why users spend only 51 seconds reading the average e-newsletter.2 Which leads to…
3. Desire to delete. Think about your own mindset when you open up your e-mailbox in the morning. Your goal is to get rid of as much as you can as quickly as you can; the natural inclination is to hit the delete button – even for the company e-newsletter. Even if it’s not immediately deleted, once the e-newsletter has moved below the preview pane, it’s gone and forgotten. How much time will you spend reading a newsletter if you never even open it?
4. Reach. In most companies, not everyone has constant access to a computer. Are these employees any less important? Do you really want an entire segment of your workforce completely missing out on important communications?
5. Higher perceived value. Printed material has a higher perceived value than online material. Think about the last time you received a card—what had a higher impact, a physical card or an e-card? People simply prefer the enduring, tactile aspect of paper. Which leads to…
6. Easy to take home and share with the family. The most effective newsletters are those that are printed and mailed to employees’ homes. However, even if the newsletter is distributed at work, a physical publication is easy to take home and has far greater impact when sharing a mention with a spouse or children.
The bottom line is that printed employee newsletters are simply more effective than their “free” electronic brethren. If you’re going to the trouble of producing an employee newsletter that motivates, inspires and communicates effectively, maximize its ROI by putting it in a format that has the highest readability.
About the author: Raleigh Ragan
Raleigh Ragan is president of The Newsletter Experts, a St. Louis-based newsletter publishing firm that helps clients across the country harness the power of employee newsletters by removing the hassles of trying to write, design, produce and distribute it themselves. To receive the free 10-page guide, Starting An Employee Newsletter, click here.
1 Paul Swift, Editor and Publisher, The Newsletter on Newsletters
2 Email Newsletter Usability: 149 Design Guidelines for Newsletter Subscription, Content, and Account Maintenance Based on Usability Studies, Nielsen Norman Group