How to Edit a Newsletter

Newsletters are a great way for companies and organizations to deliver information to employees, members or customers on a regular basis. They can recognize people for achievements or provide details about new policies or events. Some newsletters are printed and mailed, but many newsletters these days are delivered electronically.

Editing a Newsletter

Write or assign the articles. Many newsletters are one-person operations and the editor writes all of the stories. Newsletters for larger companies or organizations may have staffs that include designated writers. In either case, one of the editor’s major responsibilities is to develop story ideas. A newsletter editor must have a strong knowledge of the subject area and a good sense of what articles will interest readers.

Edit the written or submitted articles. Good editing begins with spell checking and making sure all names are spelled correctly. It also includes making sure articles are written to interest readers, which means sentences and paragraphs make sense and flow smoothly and that articles are written in active instead of passive voice. Some newsletters use a formal style while others are written informally and designed to be more conversational.

Design the newsletter’s pages. Page design is a key component to drawing reader interest. Software programs for newsletter design allow editors to easily choose article or headline fonts and add photos, column rules, boxed text and other design elements. Many word-processing or graphics software programs provide templates so editors don’t have to create their own designs. Newsletters designed for e-mail or online distribution often have hypertext links to other articles and information.

Proofread the completed newsletter. This is the last chance for an editor to catch mistakes that may have been missed during initial editing. Besides another check of spelling and article clarity, the editor must review all of the headlines, photo captions, online links and design elements. Many editors like to print a hard copy of the newsletter for proofreading because they believe it is easier to spot errors.

Distribute the newsletter. Newsletters can be delivered by email, fax or postal mail. They can be posted on a website for reading or download. Editors often are responsible for distribution, which means maintaining the lists of recipients and emailing, faxing, posting or printing and mailing the finished product.

Tips

  • The best newsletters have short, lively articles that provide information without making the reader work to get it. Poorly designed or badly written newsletters generally will be ignored.

References

Resources

About the Author

Marv Balousek got his first newspaper writing job in 1976 and worked more than 30 years as a reporter covering business and other beats for the "Wisconsin State Journal" and other newspapers. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois.