We’ve all received newsletters that were basically "snooze-letters." Here are a few tips to keep your newsletter interesting. Your goal is to create a newsletter people want to read!
- Make your newsletter accessible.
Make your newsletter something people want to read. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. What are they interested in? What do they want to read about? Put the most interesting and preferably short articles on the front. Use a minimum of jump lines (i.e., "continued on page xx"). People hate flipping through pages to find the end of an article. Also use graphic elements like kickers, decks, sidebars, and pull quotes to make articles more accessible
- Use graphic design to lead readers to the most important elements first.
Use design elements such as headings, subheads, and drop caps to emphasize parts of the page. Readers use these visual cues to help them navigate the newsletter. Also try using icons or graphic elements to indicate departments or repeating elements.
- Keep your visual elements and editorial consistent.
Use the same terms throughout the document. Continuity is comforting, so make sure the newsletter editorial and design is consistent from one article to the next.
- Use visuals to break up the page.
People love looking at photos, so include them where they can help convey your message. Also include tables or informational graphics, such as charts to explain complex data. Be sure to include captions for your artwork to point out the most important information.
- Don’t overdo it.
Good design is often the design you don’t notice. Remember that the reason a newsletter exists is to be read, so don’t overdo it and include every font, icon, and graphic device you find. Make your newsletter reader-friendly. The design should enhance the material you are presenting, not detract from it. You can have the best content in the world, but if it’s impossible to read, people won’t. No one wants to work to read something, so make sure you don’t make any page difficult to decipher. Any page that isn’t readable won’t be read.
- Use shorter paragraphs.
A long column of text is intimidating and often difficult to read. Break up long articles into two or more shorter ones. Often some information can be broken out into a sidebar that appears with a larger article. For ideas, check out magazine layouts, such as Time, that use sidebars extensively.
- Get readers involved.
Tell your readers what you want them to do or learn from your newsletter. If your newsletter is designed to raise money, tell them how they can give to your organization. If your newsletter promotes your business, show (but don’t tell) them why your business is the one to choose. Make your newsletter so useful and friendly that readers will feel like they already know your organization before they call.