Readership stats for online employee newsletters don’t exist2004-12-10
At least once a week, I get e-mail from a communicator under pressure to show that readership of the online newsletter she produces for employees is acceptable. “Do you know where I can find any statistics about readership of online newsletters?” the e-mails usually ask. “I was hoping to get some perpective from other companies.”
I make a dedicated effort to stay on top of communication research, but I’ve never seen a study that assesses readership of online employee newsletters or bulletins across multiple organizations. I suspect the need for an apples-to-apples comparison is behind the lack of statistics. If I work for a company where only half the employee population has access to computers, I could never achieve the levels of readership enjoyed by one in which all employees are networked.
There are other factors that keep any such analysis from being meaningful. Employees are more likely to read online newsletters they can scan in a minute versus those that require 20 minutes of focused reading. The relevance of the news is also a factor. It would be tough to measure up to statistics of companies that produced effective newsletters while mine was filled with corporate rhetoric and fluff.
If anybody were to undertake such a study (Melcrum Research, are you listening?), it would need to incorporate these differences into the research instrument. It would be valuable for communicators to know what works in getting employees to read online newsletters in different work environments; it’s research that’s long overdue. Convincing a research institution to understake so unsexy a study, though, may be as great an effort as conducting the actual study.
If anybody knows of such a study, please fill me in!