Great initiative, your idea for an inhouse magazine/newsletter! And one that would definitely go a long way in improving morale and increasing (today’s much-sought-after commodity) employee engagement…
Just a few broad thoughts on what to keep in mind while embarking on this (I’ll try and keep it as brief as possible)…
Format: Print v/s electronic
Structure and Content
Content and editorial teams
Management buy-in: The first challenge is getting Management buy-in, right at the very top. This means a serious commitment from the CEO/MD, backed up by a mail from him/her to the senior executives and group heads, announcing the launch of the mag and urging them to cooperate fully and contribute thru their teams. Also, a commitment to provide a “From the CEO’s Desk” piece for each issue.
Format (Print v/s electronic): The print medium is expensive, but has a much longer shelf-life, and can be read outside the office (few people have the time or inclination to read in the office), which increases visibility/publicity. It also can be shared with family and friends, which also increases visibility/publicity, while getting some amount of family involvement/buy-in in the organisation (the latter is an important “hook” in retaining the employee, as a family that’s comfy with the company wouldn’t encourage him to leave). The electronic medium has definite cost advantages, but lesser scope of being read (especially when the employee’s work already involves spending hours with eyes glued to the comp-screen). Also, with most of your employees at client sites, internet access might be an issue, for your employees to get the emailed newsletter or to access a portal where the pages are hosted. One other aspect: email puts constraints on your content and design. Also, with email being an instantaneous medium, the expectation on you would be to provide more current news, within hours (or a day or two, at most) of the event happening; this would be extremely difficult in the early stages, unless you have a strong and dedicated team of contributors.
Frequency: Go for a monthly; it would be far more sustainable in the long-term. Weekly is ambitious (even if you are considering an email newsletter). If you are keen on doing a weekly, opt for a limited edition (half a dozen brief news items, with a couple of announcements about upcoming events, that’s all); however, you’ll need the support of a robust team to pull it off successfully.
Budgets: Based on what format you opt for. Electronic would involve only design costs. Print would incur design, processing-printing, and distribution (courier) costs.
Structure and Content: Contents list; Editorial (capturing the highlights of the issue, and sometimes “motivational”); From the CEO’s Desk; HR section (covering HR-related info and events); Corporate news; Tech pieces; Project/team news; Events coverage; Leisure section. We can explode these into further segments later. You could also look at including sections like Quality etc, as well as bringing out special supplements (as and when required) on various groups/events/initiatives.
Content and editorial teams: Your content team would include people on the ground – working on various projects/teams but volunteering to seek and send information/articles on what’s happening at their locations. Your editorial team would be professionals who would rewrite, edit, proof-read, oversee design and production. Distribution can be handled in tandem with your Despatch/Mailroom section.
Design: Best to outsource this to an external agency, unless you already have a competent design team inhouse.
Production: Outsource to external agency. Provide specifications and get quotes from 3-5 different vendors; then go with what suits you best.
Distribution: Let Admin (Mailroom/Despatch section) handle this. You would provide them with the mailing list – find out from your various locations how many copies they would need, and periodically update these as the numbers increase (monthly should be fine).
Hope this is of some help.
All the very best.