There are only two kinds of newsletters: those that get read and those that get tossed. Through its design and content, a good newsletter captures and holds the attention of the reader. Here are ten tips to make sure your newsletter gets read:

  1. Write your articles objectively. By its nature, a newsletter should be a "soft" sell and provide useful information to readers. A newsletter that's full of propaganda will get tossed.
  2. Write to express, not to impress. The purpose of a newsletter is to communicate, not to see how many times you can send readers scrambling for a dictionary. Don't use big words when smaller words will do. Keep your writing casual and conversational. When using acronyms like CC&Rs, write them out in the first reference, for instance, Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) and then use the acronym.
  3. Proofread. You probably wouldn't dream of sending out a resume that is full of typos and grammatical errors. Make sure your newsletter has polished writing. Proofreading is tedious but absolutely necessary. A second pair of eyes sees things you miss.
  4. Use front page articles to draw in readers. If the front page doesn't contain interesting articles, most people will glance at it and throw it away without even reading one story.
  5. Use graphics like photos, artwork, charts, pull quotes or colored or shaded boxes behind an article. Graphics are important because they are the first things that readers' eyes are drawn to when they turn to a new page. Secondly, graphics are important because they provide visual breaks from solid blocks of text.
  6. Use image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop to sharpen and adjust the contrast, color and brightness levels of photos.
  7. Use accent colors and tints to make your newsletter more eye-catching. A black and white newsletter is better than no newsletter at all. But if your budget allows, add an accent color to your newsletter's design. This is called a "two-color" or "two-ink" (black plus your accent color) newsletter. Another technique is to use different shades of an ink color. For instance, if you use dark blue as its accent color, using a 50 percent shade of that ink which would appear medium blue and a 25 percent shade would appear light blue.
  8. Email your printshop your newsletter in a Word, Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) or Publisher file attachment to print from instead of paper originals. The results are vastly superior to copying a copy.
  9. Use recycled paper. There's very little cost difference today between recycled and virgin paper. Recycled paper generally range between 10-50 percent post consumer fiber, the higher, the better. If you do use it, be sure to include "Printed on Recycled Paper"
  10. Use no paper at all. A large majority of the population has internet access and an email address so newsletters can either emailed or posted on the HOA's website. Save a time and trim your budget.

Excerpts from an article by David Kandler. For more newsletter tips, Newsletter Basics.

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