Designing a Newsletter

Newsletters are an effective means of promotion for any community group. Producing your own newsletter can help keep your members and local community informed about your community group’s objectives, activities, services and events.

The design and layout of your newsletter should take into consideration:-

  • the type of people who will be reading it
  • your group’s own brand identity – you may already have a logo and standard colours that you will want to add to the design and ‘look’ of the newsletter

Improvements in desktop publishing have made it easier for community groups to produce attractive and professional publications.

There are many different types of software available, from professional packages used by the publishing industry, to free ‘open source’ page layout software.  Some programmes, such as Microsoft Word, come with a large variety of newsletter templates.

No matter which package you use, following the guidelines below will enable you to produce a consistent and professional newsletter:-

  • keep your newsletter layout simple. Complicated layouts are distracting and difficult to maintain
  • use white space to break up pages and articles
  • choose two font types and stick to them
  • use your group colours, logo and strap line to reinforce your brand
  • if your newsletter will be printed in black, consider using coloured paper
  • get the reader’s immediate attention with an eye-catching image on the first page
  • break up longer articles with sub-headings and images
  • keep your paragraphs short and try to balance the amount of text and images
  • if you email your newsletter or make it available to download from your website make sure it is a PDF  
  • always include your group’s contact details   

Producing and Distributing Your Newsletter

How often you want to produce your newsletter will depend on:-

  • its purpose
  • your group’s activity

If your group is very active, you may decide that a monthly newsletter is required to provide updates on a regular basis. Alternatively, you may decide that a quarterly newsletter is better suited to your needs.

Whatever your production frequency, you will need to establish dates for:-

  • receiving and collating articles
  • producing the newsletter
  • sending it to be printed or setting a print date if you are doing it in-house
  • distribution

It is important to set a realistic schedule to allow enough time for the collation of articles and production.

Ensure the newsletter is ready for distribution on the date agreed. If people are used to receiving it on a particular date and it arrives late – this could reflect on their view of your group and lose you valuable support.

Distributing your Newsletter

To make your newsletter accessible to as many people as possible, consider producing it in both printed and electronic formats such as PDF.

A printed newsletter can be:-

  • posted direct to members
  • distributed door to door
  • put in public places such as libraries, health centres and council offices. Think of the places your target audience is likely to visit

An electronic copy can be:-

  • sent in an email
  • available on your website for download
  • put on other websites whose audience would be interested in your group’s activities
  • passed on by subscribers to even more people

If you make your newsletter available as a download on your website, add a subscription form for people to sign up to receive it automatically - also include a method for them to unsubscribe.

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Last Updated 05/02/2013 14:08