How to design a good newsletter

Like social media, newsletters can become the victim of not enough time, lack of content and inspiration.

What starts out as a regular and engaging conversation piece can slowly develop into a poor quality announcement sent out once every blue moon. Subscribers slip away, employees disengage, and an important communication opportunity vanishes.

So how do you come up with newsletter articles that are interesting? How do you design a good newsletter?

Here are some tips to keep you on track.

1. Know your audience

Don't overlook the importance of understanding the problems, motives and pastimes of your readers.

If you are able to speak to them about topics that are of interest, your attempt at communication will have much more chance of being read.

2. Choose a topic that's newsworthy

Newsletters are meant to cover news.  

Whether that news is about a special offer, a review of an event, a local interest story or the development of a new product or service, it should be recent and interesting enough for readers to feel compelled to read it.

3.  Write an effective headline

Advertising legend David Ogilvy is renowned as much for his quotes as for creating hugely successful advertising campaigns. One of his most famous states:

"On average, five times as many people read the headling as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."

Keep your headline short and punchy and provide your reader with the strongest and most important benefit.
If your newsletter is being sent by email, it's even more important to choose a headline/subject line that will inspire your viewers to open and read your email rather than give it the flick. 

4. Follow it with a powerful lead

The lead in paragraph needs to hook your reader into reading the whole article, so don’t be afraid to put the most interesting information up front – don’t bury it further down the page.

A slightly quirky introduction or teaser can work effectively here to draw your readers in. 

When writing your main body content, go back to the basics of 'who, what, when, where, why and how', if you need help with formatting your story.  

5. If it's relevant, include a quote

A quote can add interest to your article and show the ‘human element’ in the story.

If your newsletter contains information where including a quote is relevant, use it to express opinion, confirm an observation or create impact. Don't waste it by including dates or times.

6. Use an image to create interest

People love pictures.

Think outside the square and show off your products, employees or even your premises in a different way. Or if it's a seasonal newsletter sent out at Easter or Christmas, don't forget to include an image that's relevant and timely.

7. Finish your article with a call to action

Don't leave your reader hanging with nowhere to go or nothing to do next.

  • If you want them to buy, provide an opportunity to do so
  • To capture more information invite them to register for training
  • And if nothing else is appropriate, at least provide the link to your website where they can find out more about your business, order online or download a policy.

By using these tips as guidelines, your newsletters will be an effective marketing tool or communication piece that your readers look forward to receiving.

Designing a good newsletter
Printed newsletter