Newsletters can boost communication.

Using multiple communication channels, as well as repeating key messages, are best practices for delivering Commercial Card information within your organization. One option to consider is publishing a newsletter. However, like any endeavor, keep the cost versus benefit in mind. Spending your valuable time on newsletter production should yield positive results. Keep reading to acquire newsletter tips and see one end-user’s perspective. For Theresa Blatner, CPCP, P-Card Administrator, Southern Company Gas, newsletters have been a successful part of their P-Card program for nearly four years.

Newsletter Tips

  • Determine the purpose and what you want to achieve.
  • Create a template for a consistent look and feel. Ensure it aligns with other communications, including other internal newsletters, if applicable. 
  • Include key information in every edition, such as a link to related content, who to contact with questions, etc.
  • Keep the newsletter short and sweet.
  • Archive newsletter editions online, so they remain accessible to employees. However, if there is a notable program change that contradicts a past newsletter, you might want to remove the outdated edition.
  • Solicit feedback. How often do cardholders read the newsletters? Do they think you are capturing the right content? What do they find most useful? What would they change?
  • Monitor newsletter metrics, such as email open rates if possible. At a minimum, try to track the impact. For example, are you seeing a reduction in FAQs? Is compliance improving? If you cannot identify any advantages, reconsider whether you want to continue. Would other communication channels be more effective and require less time to produce?
Are key messages reaching your audience today? Could a newsletter enhance program communications?

Are key messages reaching your audience today? Could a newsletter enhance program communications?

Sample

Recharged Education offers a simple example of what a P-Card newsletter might look like, with topics such as security tips, program milestones, new suppliers that accept cards, etc. Click here to view the sample newsletter (reflecting Lorem Ipsum dummy text for placeholder purposes).

P-Card Newsletter for Southern Company Gas

The following reflects my interview with Theresa Blatner.

Q: What motivated you to start a newsletter?
A: I did a newsletter at my previous job and it was well received.

Q: Who do you email it to besides cardholders?
A: It only goes to cardholders plus administrative assistants (“admins”) who process expense reports but do not have a card. I also have a newsletter archive online.

Q: How often do you publish a newsletter?
A: Newsletters are sent out quarterly or, if needed, more frequently. Typically, a special edition occurs around the fourth quarter holidays because of increased vacation activity, and the shortened timeline for submitting and approving transactions. During that time of year, I like to remind them of some key policies such as no gift card purchases.

Q: What is the typical length? 
A: I try to keep it to one page. It's short, but to the point. I don't want readers to feel like they have to spend a lot of time looking at it. The format is standard for any newsletter that goes out, no matter what the originating department. Other company newsletters address travel and supply chain topics.

Q: How do you decide on topics?
A: I do some recurring topics, especially if I continue to receive the same questions about a process or policy. I went back and looked over several past issues and there always seems to be something mentioned about the bank cycle dates, or the timeline to submit and approve expense reports. Another topic I like to add is around fraud. For example, I had a piece explaining what a compromise is. We get a lot of card closures because of a compromise and I felt like the cardholders were thinking the bank was at fault. I also did a piece based on one of your articles. 

Q: Have you gotten any feedback?
A: Yes, and it’s been good. Admins have said there is always something in the newsletter content that they can use. They appreciate the information.

Q: What do you think are the greatest benefits in doing a newsletter?
A: It gets information out to the cardholders in a format that is different than the everyday email. Plus, I think it reduces some FAQs, such as where to find P-Card job aids, forms, etc. For example, with my latest edition and going forward, the P-Card Intranet site will always be mentioned along with my contact info. This will drive it in that there is such a location for more P-Card information.

Related Content

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About the Author

Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more

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