Whether your newsletter is for a church, a power tool enthusiasts’ club or the bougainvillea society, readers find it most engaging when it combines the thing they all have in common and people they recognize. If you’re writing an e-newsletter, make sure each story includes a link that leads to the appropriate website where people can find more information or the full article.
Spotlight or Feature
If your newsletter has four or more pages and comes out periodically, make all the sections revolve around a theme. Also include one long feature on the subject (your "cover story"). Take some time to think about your theme so you can properly plan the issue.
Interview With a Member
Is there a new member in the community, or did one of them do something notable lately? Interview her about it. Your community will get to know that person, and the interviewee will want to share the piece with friends and family. When publishing the interview, stick to a simple Q&A format.
Guest Contribution From a Member
Invite readers to contribute articles. If anyone in the community has special knowledge in the newsletter’s field, ask him to write a piece about it. Like the interview, it guarantees more readers because the contributor will want to show his family or friends what he wrote. The community also enjoys reading something a fellow member wrote. If it’s a regular feature, community members might even approach you with ideas for contributions, which is the kind of reaction you want your newsletter to prompt.
Find out what’s new in the field you’re writing about, but keep it light. Look for novel discoveries, technologies or even people advancing the field. Stick to reporting: don’t insert your own opinion in this section. Your community will be pleased to know you’re keeping on top of things.
Add little boxed-in bits of information, things that start with “Did you know…” or “Historical tidbit.” Fun facts are great conversation starters, especially when they’re wacky.
Are there new members, upcoming workshops, cancellations, a rescheduling or other things worth announcing? Do it here and make sure to provide all the details.
Calendar of Events
Remind your members of upcoming activities or meetings. Include a calendar grid that takes readers all the way to the next newsletter, and inscribe events on specific dates. Some of the events found in “Announcements” may make their way into the calendar also.
Puzzles and word games don’t translate as well on an e-newsletter, but readers enjoy them in print. Certain websites generate newsletter-friendly games like crossword puzzles.
Run a contest. If there’s a company that specializes in or is related to the field covered in the newsletter, ask them to sponsor a giveaway. Such contests can also generate revenue when the sponsor pays to announce it in your newsletter. Readers can participate by answering a simple question or entering a draw. If you have a contest in each issue, you’ll always have readers.
- today's news image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com