It's newsletter season!!! (cue the moans...) Every May and December my mailbox (both physical and electronic) floods with somewhere between 30-50 newsletters from people all over the world. And I'm not mad about it. I love hearing about what my friends are doing and the stories of how they are impacting those around them.
But I have to be honest: I only end up actually reading probably about 25% of them, maybe even less. Please don't hate me. It's partially just because of the sheer volume of newsletters I receive (it's just too much to read through all of them), but the biggest reason is because they are just plain hard to read. If your newsletter is predominantly just a page of text with a title and a picture stuck in there, the chances of someone sitting down to read the whole thing are pretty low. That's not good. Especially if you have a fundraising ask at the end.
But I get it. Most people that have to send out newsletters regularly dread the whole process. But you're told by your company or organization that you need to send them out to your donors, clients, supporters, etc on the reg and so you bite the bullet and open up Word to get started.
Whether or not you send print newsletters or digital/email ones, here are 4 ways for you to take your newsletter to the next level:
1) Use some color!
Choose and incorporate a color scheme into your newsletter. Generally, the brighter the color, the more your reader's eye will be drawn to it - so use it for titles, highlights, and quotes that you really want to pop. Stick with 2 colors (3 if it's just for accents) and use them to communicate what's important in your newsletter. Another thing - don't go crazy with fonts. Use no more than 2 different ones, and pick ones that are easy to read. If you need a way to differentiate content, use a different size or weight of the same font you're already using! Here's a newsletter that incorporates a cohesive color and font scheme:
2) Take advantage of WHITE SPACE.
Just because there is space on the page to write out a 12-paragraph story doesn't mean you should. White space is essentially the blank space (not necessarily white!) on your page, and it is SO important! (read here if you don't believe me) If there isn't enough white space in your newsletter it will feel cluttered and make it difficult to read. Make sure your paragraphs aren't too long and leave some space between paragraphs, photos, headers and footers (see the above example).
3) Use an infographic.
Some people are tired of infographics, and this I get too. I'm not telling you to cover your page in infographics, please don't, but I'm telling you to pick one infographic to highlight the story you are telling through your newsletter. Maybe it's as simple as a pie chart. Infographics help break up your text and are a way to present your story in another form. They don't have to be super fancy. Here's an infographic I put in one of my last newsletters to illustrate that showed where the girl's I mentor at Yale were going to be over the summer:
Still not convinced you should be using an infographic in your newsletter? Read this.
4) Hire someone!
If you hate designing your newsletters, or when you read the last point you thought "what's an infographic?" you might just need to hire a designer (see my last post). There's no shame in not doing everything yourself, and if you hire someone who really knows how to tell your story through design and layout, your newsletter will be exponentially more effective in communicating with your donors, clients, supporters, etc. I recommend this ESPECIALLY if you use your newsletters for fundraising. Investing some money up front for someone to create your newsletter can multiply your fundraising efforts by telling your story in a compelling way.
Don't settle for mediocre newsletters! Your people deserve better!