Think about the last newsletter you received in your inbox. Was it a newsletter you looked forward to or just another e-mail to add to the daily clutter in your inbox?
If it was clutter, then I would suggest that the information provided in the newsletter did not give you any value. So how do you give your newsletter value and avoid being added to the daily pile of junk? We have put together 10 ideas for you to help you create a great newsletter that gives value to your congregation.
1) You need the right tool
This is an obvious one, but first things first you need to find a means to distribute your newsletter easily. We believe ChurchDesk does exactly this with our tool People that makes sure you only have to worry about the content.
2) Who are you aiming to reach?
This seems extremely obvious, but is it? Yes, your newsletter is aimed at your congregation but which part of your congregation? What style of writing/language would they most likely engage with? Your elder members and your youth will react differently to how the message is told.
If you were this person, what would you like to read? Think about how you would normally talk to your audiences and write accordingly. Newsletters are generally a friendly casual variety of digital communications, so write how you would speak; this will make it easier and quicker for your readers to digest.
3) Stay focused
When we provide unnecessary information to a client we call that noise. Noise is simply a distraction from the message you are trying to get across. Focus on what it is you want to say and stick to it. Don't try and give too much information. What if you have a lot to say? Fantastic, send out another newsletter in a few days. Keep your story tight and to the point.
4) Give it some personality
You want to give the user the feeling that it was written specifically from you to them. This includes making sure to greet them by their name and only sending relevant information. You might want to add relevant events from your calendar that applies to their specific interests. ChurchDesk also lets you do this automatically to make sure that you only get what you actually want.
5) Don't forget headings and story titles
Headings and titles are critical - and pretty tricky to master. Be mindful of what captures your attention when you're browsing a newsletter or web page. What draws you in? You can have a brilliant article but if your heading isn’t interesting enough it could be bypassed. Content and headings are equally important. Writtent.com have a really interesting article about this here.
6) Use pictures
If your newsletter is full of only text it is going to be boring, no matter how interesting your church news is! The right images can be a great way to communicate your message to your readers. So, if you have some great pictures from your last church event, then put them in your newsletter. If you don't? Make sure to take your camera with you to the next event! In ChurchDesk we have a file manager that allows you to store pictures in full resolution and use them in your newsletter directly.
7) Include the future not just the past
Newsletters are great for building up a sense of expectation amongst your congregation. Your newsletter doesn't have to be just about what your church has done. Try sharing some of the church's aspirations for the future. Take your congregation on the journey. Let them know about your ups and downs, get them involved and excited about the church.
9) Show confidence
This is so important. If you don't believe what you’re writing then no one else will. Believe in your church and it will show in your writing.
10) Encourage feedback
The old Newsletter is traditionally a one-way piece of communication, but with an online newsletter it can now be two-way. Your digital church newsletter is one of the best tools you have in encouraging members to get involved. Consider asking for feedback or opening up a debate that members can get involved with. Get your congregation involved!
So, there you have it, 10 ways to improve your newsletter and get people to actually read it. I hope this will be of some help to you the next time you are looking for inspiration.