Good Writing is Still Good Writing: How to Write an Effective Newsletter

Newsletters are one of the oldest and most effective media for communicating with customers/members, but the digital revolution is leaving the print newsletter in the dust. These days, many organizations have moved their newsletters online.

This does not mean, however, that the basic principles for effective newsletter writing have changed. Even in this exciting and fast-moving world of technological change, it is crucial that you carefully plan and execute clear, concise messages to your constituents. Here are four key steps to writing a successful newsletter.

Determine the goal:  What do you want this newsletter to do?  If you’re a company, maybe you want to inform your customers of new products or updates on current projects.  If you’re a nonprofit organization, you may want to promote your cause and inform readers of upcoming events.

Decide on the logistics:  Before writing the content of the newsletter, you must figure out the details.  How long will it be?  How often will it be sent out? Weekly, monthly, or quarterly?  What method of delivery will be used?  Will it be sent in the mail or read in an e-mail or company website?

Create the content:  Newsletters contain a variety of information, but all articles and topics must be relevant to the newsletter’s objective.  The content can include everything from interest articles, interviews with clients or employees, promotions for events or products, and updates on past newsletter topics.

Keys to getting the point across:

  • Keep articles short and written in simple language.
  • Give every article a heading and every picture a caption.
  • Make sure all content is useful to the reader in some way.
  • Provide pictures or graphs, not just a lot of writing.

Gain a Following:  Newsletters are supposed to create a stronger community within a business, town, or organization through communication.  To do this, make sure newsletters are published on a consistent timeline so readers know when to expect them.  Also, encourage communication by providing an e-mail address where readers can send questions or concerns, or a comment box in an online newsletter.  You may also want to publish a “Letter to the Editor” or “Q&A” section within the actual newsletter.

The web is awash with how-tos, but here are a couple of sites that will help you construct an effective newsletter that is appropriate to your organization, your goals, and your constituents.

Do you know of any online resources for newsletters? Share them below!


2 responses to “Good Writing is Still Good Writing: How to Write an Effective Newsletter

  1. This has been helpful. I agree that newsletters are there to get a following. Readers expect them at a certain time each week/month/quarter and it would throw them if it came at a different time.
    We don’t print out newsletters, we send them via email. We do this because it can increase the traffic to our site as well and is more cost effective – and nowadays most business people have smartphones so can read them on the move without being in the comfort of their own home, the only thing, I feel would change with email newsletters would be to not include too many graphics due to some connections being slow and this could irritate the user if it is.
    We have an article on email marketing for newsletters which you could find interesting, it’s got some very similar points, but differs in some areas

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