Okay, can I be honest? I hate reading newsletters. Whether it’s from my favorite retail store or campus ministry, newsletters are the bane of my existence.
Slight exaggeration . . . but you get my point.
Most of the time, newsletters are wordy, and many of the announcements don’t apply to me. So how can your church newsletter break the mold and keep your members from absent-minded skimming?
- If you’re sending your church letter to your entire congregation, only include information that applies to a majority of the congregation. Don’t include an announcement for your small group Bible study in the weekly newsletter to everyone. Focus on announcements such as the annual church picnic, new member class, or volunteer opportunities.
- Include pictures when relevant. Don’t clutter up your newsletter, but if there’s an especially cute picture from VBS or a photo of this year’s confirmation class, it can help break up the text and make it less overwhelming for your reader.
- Keep it short and sweet with a relevant headline. Make that headline prominent—in a larger or bolder font—so that your readers know what point you make below it. In the meat of your announcement, give the date, time, place, and contact information. Make sure your readers know what the event is about, but don’t go overboard with the fluff text, like “come out and enjoy a great afternoon of food with friends!!!”
- This isn’t a high school research paper—make it visually interesting. Change your font from Times New Roman to something simpler, like Helvetica; vary the font size for headings; and bold important information. Wrap text around pictures, and experiment with columns.
- Along those same lines, keep information timely. Make sure your announcements are not outdated. Once an event has passed, take it out of your newsletter. Don’t leave “thank yous” from congregation members in the newsletter for weeks on end, and don’t include information for ongoing activities that are no longer happening.
Fishhook wrote a blog post about this very topic, and they offer a few additional tips for writing announcements! They also hosted a webinar in June, where they elaborated on these ideas as well.
While your newsletters will probably never win a Pulitzer Prize or make The New York Times Best Sellers list, you can make them interesting enough to capture your members’ attention and help them retain the most important information!