Writing Newsletters

Writing Newsletters

What is a newsletter, and why should you consider learning about writing newsletters?

The newsletter has changed the way it is viewed.  Years ago, a newsletter was printed on paper, duplicated perhaps on an old gestetner or spirit duplicator, and distributed by hand or by the postal service to the recipients.  

Those days are long gone – and some will be singing the praises of the new technological era that allows newsletters to be prepared, posted, and distributed through the Internet.

Source of information.  The purpose of the newsletter is to provide a source of information about a club or organization, generally, with the goal of informing all the readers of the activities of the club or organization. 

The purpose is generally to publish the “news” of the organization – what is important about upcoming events, and details about events that have already taken place.  If the organization held a raffle or a fund-raising dinner, the newsletter would include information about the results – how many attended and how much money was made for the organization.  

The newsletter is only as good as the readership.

You could print the most eloquent and most attractive newsletter – and there are some who believe that is what they do – but if the newsletter is not being read, then where is the success?

One of the challenges in this day-and-age is to produce a newsletter that people will want to read and that people will, in fact, read.

If the newsletter is published once a month, the goal is to have the readers read the newsletter once a month.  

So, how difficult is that?  For someone writing newsletters, it's a challenge! 

People are busy.  You probably can be counted in the numbers of people who receive too many emails on a daily basis.  Your email post box is overcrowded.  You simply cannot get to all of the emails that you received.  So, you may delete some without reading, or you may just decide that you’ll read a few of them “tomorrow.”  And, that tomorrow never comes because by tomorrow you’ve forgotten.

We’ve all been there!

Put yourself into the reader’s position.  What would make you open and read a newsletter?  What do you want to read?  In what format?

  • The format must be attractive.  
  • The contents must be clear and easy to read.
  • A few articles must stimulate your interest through their headlines.
  • Headlines and clear spaces should delineate your articles.
  • Include enough white space to separate the articles.
  • Include photographs that are well identified.
  • Maintain a consistent format.
  • Use only one consistent font for your body text.
  • Use only one consistent font for your headlines.
  • Keep the presentation simple – not too much colour.  Adding colour through your photographs  will enhance the presentation.

What format when writing newsletters?

PDF format.  When writing newsletters, the format is important.  An online newsletter can be printed in PDF format.  There are a few interesting websites for making your Word documents into adequate PDF files.   A simple search can find a number of appropriate websites.

Graphics/photos.    Be careful with your graphics.  It is so very easy to have a lovely-looking newletter, but then – if you have too many photos – and too many large photos – your newsletter will become a huge document and will be unwieldy. 

That’s not a good situation because then you can’t send it to anyone.  No one will be able to open it. So, when writing newsletters, the size of the file is another hugely important consideration!

Think about the readers who may not have the fastest internet speeds.  If they cannot open the document, they cannot read it.

Downsize the graphics.  Corel Paint Shop Pro is a graphics program that allows you to downsize graphics very effectively.

Downsize the file.

  If you have an Adobe software that can reduce the size of a PDF file, that will be very helpful to you.  Often, a PDF file that is 10 mb can be reduced to just about 1 mb by running it through Adobe Standard.  If you are publishing newsletters with lots of photos on a regular basis, this software is a very good investment!

The WOW factor

The WOW factor.  You might want to achieve the WOW factor.  You can do that very easily with the following websites.  Give it a try.  You will be so very happy with the result.  Both free. 

1.    http://issuu.com/explore
2.    http://www.flipsnack.com/

And they will provide the host site for your newsletter – all you have to supply your reader is the link – and that can be done with a simple email.

The banner.  An identifiable banner across the top of the first page will be valuable.  It will clearly identify your document for your readers – and they will be more likely to search for it.

The banner should include the name of the document, the date, and other relevant information – name of the group/organization, name of the president perhaps, and even the name of the editor.  

The more consistent you can make each newsletter – from publication to publication – the better you will become at producing an excellent and professional document!

Give it a try!  Good luck!  Happy Writing!

LINK - Return from Writing Newsletters to Professional Business Writing.