An internal product newsletter will help build support for your product. In less than two hours per week, you can keep all the key people in your organization up to date with the latest news about your product and the space.
Communication Is Key
Share success. Your team works hard to build and maintain its products. Alert the company when you hit your goals or reach major milestones through a regular newsletter. This will build morale not only within your team but also across the entire company. Everyone wants to be part of successful initiatives — and be recognized for his or her work.
Announce service changes. Companies need to stay on top of service or product changes. If you are changing an aspect of your product, the organization needs to know so that it can plan for the change as well as effectively answer questions for customers and partners.
Alert management of risk. Similarly, management needs to plan for the highs and lows within any product line. If your product is above or below forecast, management must be able to appropriately account for revenue increases or losses in relation to company-wide goals and advise investors of the benefit or risk.
To get started on your newsletter, here are some basic ideas for content. In writing the newsletter, consider your audience. This is particularly important when it comes to confidential information. For example, if you are going to send the newsletter to the entire company, you may want to only share metrics as percentages of the forecast to keep the actual figures restricted.
Metrics. Sharing your weekly product metrics with the rest of the organization effectively builds awareness of the key drivers of your product’s success. Publishing these numbers in a regular communication (e.g., email) also alerts management of potential minor product problems before they spiral out of control. See “Managing by Metrics” for details on how to track and manage metrics for your product.
New features or inventory. Rally the company around the latest feature introduced on your product by sharing the news and detailed functionality in your newsletter. Many times, customer service representatives are the last to know when new features are added, yet they are the first who must respond to customer questions. Ensure a successful introduction of new functionality for everyone on the team through early communication.
Competitive landscape. Help the rest of the company keep track of your competition with regular alerts on competitive product enhancements and key partnerships. Include links to articles on the competition or industry in general.
Customer references. Everyone is always looking for a great model customer for reference on his or her next sales call. Keep a running list of top customers for easy access next time a partner or potential customer asks.
Customer feedback. Include positive email from customers in your product newsletter. The occasional email with constructive feedback is also worth sharing. For comic relief, you may even want to cut and paste some of the amusing emails from customers who are still trying to figure out how to launch a browser.
Links to documents. For information on detailed functionality, include links to your market requirements documentation (MRD) to keep everyone up to date with the latest proposed features.
Press. If your product has recently received press coverage or you have published a press release, share the good news with the rest of the company. Include a teaser from the first paragraph of the story in the newsletter with a link to the full story.
Key deals. Has business development or sales just closed a big deal that impacts your product positively? Rejoice. Put the highlights in the email, and send the closer an electronic pat on the back. It is amazing how well people respond to public recognition.
New hires. Do you have a new member aboard your product team? Announce new employees in your newsletter and include their biographies and zodiac signs.
Surveys/contests. Want help brainstorming a new name for the product? Looking for ideas for new product features? Ask the rest of the company for help in the newsletter and offer a prize for the best idea.