Two models for internal newsletters to faculty and staff

In evaluating peer higher ed newsletters and meeting with their communicators to learn about their internal communications strategy, two primary newsletter models emerged.

Brand journalism models

These optional newsletters—typically sent daily or weekly—are mission driven and create pride in their universities. In addition, they generally:

  • Duplicate materials from the PR and Marketing teams such as copy from news releases or website materials. Most content is also amplified externally.
  • Primarily focus on research, university governance and operations, and athletics stories; a featured event (no more than four); and articles quoting faculty or staff.
  • Highlight five feature stories with photos at the top in two columns and use links for the rest.

Content marketing models

These often mandatory newsletters focus on driving employee satisfaction and engagement. They include items that have broad appeal and prioritize information such as resources that help employees do their jobs by focusing on a question that guides all internal communications: What’s in it for me as the reader?

In addition, they generally:

  • Include deadlines, employee resources, a “Did you know?” fact (e.g., a lesser known benefit), link to or summarize senior leader messages, employee awards (rather than their research generally), and have a photo gallery.
  • Feature a few events and include a couple of articles quoting faculty or staff.
  • Adapt copy to appeal to employees when including a story that has also been sent externally. For example, if a research story is included, the copy must include the faculty member’s name.
  • Focus on scannability by using a small header, colors to differentiate each section, and including few images.

The institutions who use the content marketing model often have a separate optional newsletter that follows the brand journalism model.

Check out more newsletter tips by reading the past blog posts Tips for standout internal newsletters and Newsletter best practices.

If you have questions about internal newsletters, reach out to the internal communications team at