Maximizing your Newsletter Design

9 04 2009

Newsletters are an important tool for making a consistent connection with customers, club members, or even employees. Beginning a newsletter printing project, though, can be a little overwhelming without a little bit of education and a lot of planning. Knowing and including the following aspects that every newsletter printing project should have will help your designing be a little less stressful.
 
#1 – Plan how often you will send your newsletters to recipients. Some newsletters are weekly, others are monthly, while others may only be seasonal or even yearly. Whatever your time-frame, knowing ahead of time when you will be mailing each issue will make sure that your newsletters are received when expected and also allow you to create a timely plan.
 
#2 – Write or choose articles that are relevant to your readers. Industry-related tips, customer reviews, features on people or products, opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and hard news are all acceptable content for newsletters as long as they interest your readers. You can save money and write articles in-house if you have a talent for writing or hire a part-time writer. To add extra content, you can even find free or cheap articles online.
 
#3 – Write descriptive headlines for each article. Many people do not have the time or simply do not care to read a newsletter word for word. This is why informative headlines are so important. Skimmers can simply read the articles that pique their interest and pass up those articles that don’t appeal to them.

#4 – Organize your articles into sections. Every newspaper has sections such as the world news, sports, and classifieds. Your newsletter should do the same. You may even want to include page numbers and a table of contents on the cover page so that readers can easily skip to their favorite sections.

#5 – Include an image for every article. Yes, this can be time-consuming but will also greatly increase the appeal of your newsletter. Everyone gets bored with a black sea of text, so breaking it up with some engaging and relevant photographs, graphics, or charts will captivate your audience. You can further enhance the quality of your newsletter by placing captions below each image, since captions can cause a reader to pause long enough to get interested in the article.

#6 – Use columns on every page and justify the alignment of your text. It doesn’t matter too much whether you use two, three, or four columns, just as long as the amount you choose neatly breaks up the text on the page. Using the justification alignment means that your columns are not only aligned on the left but also even on the right as well. Most writing software automatically includes widow/orphan control with the justified setting, but double check this as it prevents single lines of paragraphs being placed at the end or beginning of a page.

#7 – Edit and proofread; then edit and proofread again. And maybe even a third time. Nothing spells unprofessional more than spelling errors and other grammar or typo issues. Many people will give up reading a document that contains too many errors. And equally frustrating is a newsletter with an inconsistent tone. Even newspapers, a compilation of articles with different authors, are edited for consistency of voice.

#8 – Use a professional printing company. Newsletter printing in-house is very time-consuming, frustrating, and can be rather expensive especially at high quantities. But even with smaller quantities, the time saved and improvements in quality is worth any extra cost involved in professional printing. A professional printer will make your images look stunning and can offer options not available when printing on an inkjet, such as full bleed and full color printing.

Include each of these aspects in every newsletter and you’ll quickly be in the newsletter business. Better yet, print and use this list as planning guide so that your newsletter printing project will go more smoothly than you thought possible.

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