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Blog: Four questions employee magazines should answer

Four questions employee magazines should answer

September 17, 2015

Corporate employee magazines can be somewhat formulaic these days.

A splash of news, picture-led features – often focusing on the organisation’s CSR programmes – and an understandable desire to promote a feel-good factor among colleagues are found more often than not in today’s employee magazines.

Yet like all comms channels, print needs to constantly adapt too. So how should you go about evolving an internal magazine?

Mark Newnham, our Head of Creative, recently wrote this excellent blog about the niche print has made for itself in today’s multi-layered internal comms mix.

Evolution is vital for a thriving employee magazine.

Take Tullow Oil’s in-house printed publication, Tullow World, which is produced in partnership with Headlines.

Having scooped a trio of awards at the 2014 IoIC awards – including the coveted title for Best Quarterly Feature Magazine – it would have been easy for Tullow to sit back and enjoy the acclaim.

Yet that did not happen. Instead the FTSE 100 exploration company pushed its flagship print title forward again, transforming its award-winning content into a state-of-the-art digital publication.

It was named Best Digital Magazine at the CIPR’s Inside Awards earlier this year and has been shortlisted in the Best Mobile/App category at the IoIC awards 2015.

Bold, innovative and forward-thinking – the approach has paid dividends.

Every internal magazine is different. Every audience has its own unique demands.

But there are several basic questions – elements that must be met if a print publication is to hit the heights.

I don’t mean the standard queries – “Is it designed well?” or “Does it have enough pictures?” – but questions aimed directly at strengthening the very foundations of an internal magazine.

1. Does the publication have enough people in it?
Simple but often overlooked.
Far too many internal magazines focus on dull corporate news, forgetting the power of colleagues.
People, to be quite frank, are interested in other people.
Statistics and high-end business news can be overwhelming for readers. Unleash the power of your colleagues and help increase engagement.

2. Does your magazine remind people what the business is all about?
Regardless of size, every business has a story: past, present and future.
How often do you consider these elements when plotting copy or features for the next edition?
A printed publication is regarded as a more leisurely read – the ideal time to reinforce an organisation’s visions, values and aspirations.

3. Can employees see the career opportunities for them in your company?
I’ll stick my neck out here.
Out of all the internal communication channels, I’d suggest print is the one that can inspire employees more than other.
As Mark wrote in his recent blog: “Print should be seen as a promotional item for a business – highlighting fantastic achievements that employees feel proud to be associated with and want to share.”
In short, print offers the ideal platform to show the road ahead, and can inspire colleagues to play a key role in the journey.

4. Does the magazine reflect two-way internal communication happening in your organisation?
Listening. Our old favourite, something we harp on about at Headlines more than anything else.
Social provides the ideal opportunity for colleague dialogue – and canny magazines need to reflect that feedback.
Seeing their views and opinions being taken seriously by employers will only foster employee engagement among colleagues.