A print or e-mail newsletter can be an ideal way to explain and showcase your organization’s wellness program. With a little planning and creativity, yours can be on target every time.
If you’re considering launching a wellness newsletter to better communicate with employees, follow this checklist:
1. Editorial schedule. Start by developing a regular production schedule. To stay on course, set firm deadlines for collecting article ideas, writing drafts, design, fact-checking and final proofing.
2. Categorical plan for content. Categorize your thinking into sections that match your mission and your employees’ needs. Your favorite monthly magazine includes regular “departments” in each issue that complement its cover story and main features. This material changes from month to month, yet the structure gives readers a sense of comfort and trust.
3. Emphasis on seasons. Most organizations don’t plan their newsletters in advance. They produce messages haphazardly, often at the last minute. Instead of grasping at straws, grab a calendar. A smart, systematic way to effectively communicate the value of your wellness program is to think in terms of seasons of the year and seasons of life. Mix your topics among a variety of demographic groups, and try to plan your messaging one year out.
4. Use of National Health Observances (NHOs). Employees are more likely to listen and respond to repeated, positive messages. The National Health Information Center lists all NHOs, along with sponsoring organizations and information about supporting materials available online. These health observances are tied to nearly every aspect of wellness and health, and they present opportunities to work with other community agencies and organizations to coordinate joint events, programs, and celebrations.
5. Ongoing idea file. Good ideas come when you least expect them. Keep good ideas in a file on your computer.
6. Medical Advisory Board and/or medical editor. An individual or group of medical experts should review content to ensure it’s medically sound and suitable for a consumer audience. (Hope Health provides this assurance to its clients. Members of its Medical Advisory Board are actively involved in reviewing all products, and their expertise covers self-care, nutrition, disease management, finance, workplace benefits, and corporate wellness programs.)
7. “Less is more” philosophy. Entice readers with compelling “blurbs,” and include short, punchy articles. Your employees most likely will only scan snippets and brief articles that catch their attention. A clean design helps — an experienced, creative designer enables your newsletter to have a “visual voice” that complements or matches the editorial tone.
8. Ability to partner with publishing and communication pros. You should be able to rest assured that your projects will be handled by seasoned professionals in the world of workplace communications. If you don’t outsource currently but seek options, ask colleagues for referrals to communication agencies familiar with your industry. Pick a partner who’s willing to showcase and discuss current projects. (Hope Health’s high-level custom projects include ones with Proctor & Gamble, Fusion Sleep, Skanska, Baptist Health, and many others.)