Best-Kept Secrets Of 15 Comms Pros For Drafting Effective Internal Emails

3 months ago 66

Writing a great internal email for employees requires a clear purpose and a concise message. Whether you’re announcing new hires or sharing company news, it’s crucial to keep the content relevant and focused. Short paragraphs, a conversational tone and a clear call to action can encourage greater engagement and response rates from your team.

As leading experts in their field, the members of Forbes Communications Council understand what it takes to craft a well-written and effective internal email. Below, 15 members offer their best strategies for writing emails employees are likely to read and engage with, ultimately improving communication across the company.

Members pictured from left to right.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Lead With The Human Element

What employees often care about most in a company are their teammates. Company news communicated via email should lead with the human element and weave in only the most “need-to-know” corporate information. Emails are best used as a communication vehicle for only the most business-impacting information, so restrict their use to information announcing new leadership hires or people-impacting news. - Sarah Hanel, OneSpan

2. Incorporate Interactive Links

Writing great internal emails depends on being brief and interesting, as readers are looking to understand information quickly and effectively. I have also found great success incorporating interactive links to improve engagement and better understand how users are interacting with our newsletters. - Layla Kasha, Grocery Outlet

3. Keep It Short And Stick To One Topic

When sending an email, there are two things to remember: Keep it short and stick to one topic. Most emails are actionable. Make sure your email subject line reflects that. It’s also crucial to understand your audience. Posting it on an intranet is helpful if employees are trained to know that important information lives there; this allows them to pull info they are looking for versus you pushing info that may not be of interest. - Mickey McClay Wilson, Freeman

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4. Read Emails Aloud Before Hitting Send

For any internal communication, read your email aloud before hitting send. Does your voice sound authentic? If not, revise until it does. Yes, you are a writer, but you are also a person reaching out to other people. People don’t just want information—they also want to feel a connection. Every organization, big or small, is a collective of people all working together to realize a purpose. - John Jorgenson, Cambium Learning Group

5. Write A Compelling Subject Line

Take advantage of the subject line to cut through the clutter in your employees’ inboxes. It’s often the last thing we think about after crafting the perfect email, but a compelling subject line can increase your open rate. Beyond just increasing your click rate, you can also use employee emails to send quick pulse surveys that encourage meaningful interaction with your content. - Frank Wolf, Staffbase

6. Do Personal Interviews With Executive Teammates

A periodic newsletter highlighting the unknown sides of more prominent colleagues can generate great engagement. People are keen to learn less-known details about the people they don’t get many chances to interact with at work. I recommend doing a frank interview with a member of your executive team, or someone on an obscure team, and delving deep into topics that aren’t necessarily related to work. - Toma Sabaliauskiene, Nord Security

7. Keep Emails Short, Clear And To The Point

Use a subject line that clearly states the purpose of the email. Personalize the message by addressing the recipient directly. Use bullet points to make the content easily digestible. Use a conversational tone and keep the message relevant to the recipient. - Vincent Phamvan, Vyten

8. Treat Employee Emails The Same As Prospect Emails

I would treat employee emails the same as prospect emails. Focusing on things such as being clear about “what’s in it for me” (the employees) and the value they’ll get from reading an email are key. Also, I would make the subject line time-sensitive and actionable—for example, “Invest in your professional growth—last week to register.” - Gily Netzer, Perimeter81

9. Use Humor And Show Your Human Side

Make your emails worth reading by using humor and showing your human side. Include photos and videos. Ask a friend in your organization to get the comments going and tag people who can add to the conversation. Get the comms party started! Your team will respond to the fun tone. - Casey Munck, Act-On Software

10. Hide A Contest In The Body Of The Email

Hide a contest in the text! For example, the first person to send in the right answer gets company swag or a day off — plus bragging rights. Make sure to recognize the winner in the next issue. This tactic doubled engagement for an internal newsletter and turned a boring, repetitive task into something the marketing team loved creating. - Theresa Anderson, Agorapulse

11. Don’t Add More Information Than Necessary

Writing great internal emails that are short and to the point is an essential skill for effective communication within an organization. To write such emails, it is vital to have a clear and specific subject line that gives the recipient an idea of what the email is about. In addition, the body of the email should be concise, avoiding unnecessary information and getting straight to the point. - Ryan Becnel, Energea

12. Tease Upcoming Content In The Subject Line

Tease the type of content you are sending in your subject line when writing to your employees. With so much junk flooding inboxes, it can be easy to miss important news or content. We have consistent categories of news we send out and include those categories in the subject line—for example, “New Hire: _____” or “Corporate Training: ______.” - Roshni Wijayasinha, Prosh Marketing

13. Make It Fun And Interesting To Read

Years ago, as part of my internal comms tasks, I was responsible for writing the refrigerator clean-out announcements at my company, and I decided to just have fun with them, turning them into stories or rhymes. After a while, employees would look forward to the emails just to see what they’d say. Why not let your creativity shine in unexpected ways? - Melissa Kandel, little word studio

14. Create A Sense Of Urgency Without Creating Angst

Humans go on autopilot for efficiency—and this behavior leads them to miss announcements and file them away to (not) be read later. Company communications need to strike a balance, using levers of urgency while not creating internal angst. Use a subject that prompts opening and copy that points to “read now.” - Deetricha Younger, Deetricha Younger, LLC

15. Use Clear, Simple, Human Language

While author Brené Brown popularized the term “clear is kind” in regard to dealing with conflict, it’s also a great principle to follow for internal comms. It’s best to use clear, simple and human language. Avoid jargon and acronyms, even if they’re well-known at your company or in your industry, and keep messages succinct and to the point. - Rekha Thomas, Seismic

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