One of my first projects when I started at the hospital was to take an inventory of the number of printed newsletters in the system. I found a sample of each rogue department newsletter and posted it on a board for our Exec Team. This was my visual argument to show that we need to adopt a single, system-wide newsletter.
Every department had its own printed pieces. Forget “branding”—our corporate logo was nowhere to be found. Forget “design”—ClipArt dominated in these Word-/Publisher-based nightmares. Forget “effective”—newsletters were stuffed in trashcans and littered hallways.
We shut down the bootleg newsletters one at a time, and started a single system-wide newsletter that enjoyed a three-year run. It was a four-color, six-page tabloid glossy. Very nice. But time-consuming. As resources dwindled, the newsletter became burdensome for a two-person staff to write, edit, proof and repeat each month.
Enter the Internet.
I’m not sure what it is about hospital newsletters, but employees get emotionally tied to them. I had to argue for ending the printed newsletter in favor of a Web-based product. Here’s what I reasoned:
• Cost-savings: Pay a Web company upfront for design/tech work on a nice e-blast template and accompanying blog from which the articles pull. Over time, you'll start seeing how much money you save.
• More effective tracking: Gauge readership/interest in an e-newsletter based on click-throughs and monthly Web stat tracking. Evaluate and adjust accordingly.
• Promoting interactivity: Cross-promote your own services by linking to your external sites, as well as your Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.
• Time saving: Forget the regimented schedule of newsletter production. If “breaking news” happens, you can blast it out instantly, rather than including it in your upcoming newsletter as “old news.”
We couldn't be happier with our new system. Now, if I could only find a way to eliminate event flyers...