Newsletters provide valuable information to subscribers, but companies that distribute this type of content need an efficient way for readers to search for past volumes and issues. One of the most effective ways you can help your readers and your own staff track down online or printed newsletters is to develop a consistent numbering system that's easy to use. A numbering system encourages readers to seek out content that you’ve published because they know they can quickly access what they need.

Choose a Volume Numbering System

The volume number always precedes the issue number, so it’s important to establish your volume numbering system. The most common and easiest system to use is to match the volume number to the number of years you’ve published your newsletter. For example, the volume number for all newsletters that were published the year you started the newsletter would be written as “Vol. 1.” Using this example, all newsletters published in the second year would be written as “Vol. 2.” If you prefer to use another volume numbering system, make sure it’s based on some type of chronological order. For example, if you only publish a newsletter every four months, “Vol. 1” could cover the single issue published from January through April of the first year, and you would only have four total volumes for the year. If you only publish a newsletter four times a year, make sure you inform readers of this fact so they’re not confused.

Choose an Issue Numbering System

The issue number always follows the volume number, and the most common choice is a system in which the issues increase, beginning with the first issue. Therefore, the first issue of any volume would be written as, “No. 1.” However, you could also write the first issue of any volume as, “Issue 1,” depending on your preference. The first issue in the first volume of your newsletters would be written as, “Vol. 1, No. 1,” or “Vol. 1, Issue 1.” If you publish every week, then you would end up with 52 issues during a calendar year. If you publish every four months, you would end up with only four issues during a calendar year. Some companies also add the year the volume and issue were published for additional clarity. If you’ve published a lot of newsletters, it could help readers who remember your content was published in a particular year, but don’t remember the specific volume or issue.

Choose Arabic Numbers

These systems use Arabic numbers rather than Roman numerals. It’s recommended that you stick to Arabic numbers when you create your newsletter system because they are much easier for your readers to understand. For example, if you were to use Roman numerals to indicate the tenth volume and tenth issue of your newsletter, it would read as, “Vol. X, Issue X,” which might throw off some readers not familiar with Roman numerals. Clarity is always the key when you’re trying to encourage readers to seek out content you have published.