Read These Tips on What to Include in a Newsletter

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A Business Newsletter that Includes the Right Components Can Make a Notable Difference

By Christine Lorraine

When creating a business newsletter there are a number of things to include that will ensure its capacity to inform those who read it. The good news is that once the initial newsletter is established, it will be relatively easy to update and maintain.The methodology behind a successful business newsletter presents the concept that there are two categories of content that need to be included: Permanent features and changing news.

Permanent Features

In most conventional newsletters, certain information will be anchored to the same spot in every issue. Here are some ideas regarding permanent fixtures in a business newsletter, but bear in mind that there is plenty of room for creativity when determining which components to use.

* Name of the newsletter
– This is usually presented as a banner across the top.

* Date of the publication
– The date should be toward the top in a visible location.

* Organization’s name – Common locations for the name of the organization producing the newsletter are directly under the name, or somewhere on the top half of the first page.

* Contact information
– It’s a wise to let others know how to submit ideas or questions. A small text box with names, phone numbers and email addresses in a lower corner in every issue can serve this purpose. It can also be merged or combined with editorial information, such as name of the editor and creative contributors.

* Regular column(s)
– If you think about what a daily newspaper looks like, there are certain features that are on the front page every day, in the same place, such as the index, obituaries and police calls. In a business newsletter, a block that greets new hires, or says “farewell” to retirees is fairly common. Other ongoing posts might be a message from the manager or owner, or a list of employee anniversary dates.

* Wins or Accomplishments
– Consider carving out a set spot to announce employee of the month, the biggest sale of the week, or acts of kindness amongst employees.

Changing News

The news content of the newsletter will change from issue to issue, and includes everything that is not permanently in place. The key to keeping it lively and interesting is to develop the ability to prioritize information. Have someone take notes of what goes on at company events to generate a stream of quality news content.

After the notes are taken, that information will need to be processed and refined. To write articles and design changing news layouts, here are some tips to keep in mind:

* Use the Inverted pyramid
– In the overall news and photo construction of the newsletter, it’s wise to operate with the “inverted pyramid” format. Picture a pyramid upside down. The broad end at the top is where most important news sits. Routine but relevant information is in the middle, and the most trivial news sits at the bottom, at the tiny end.

* Writing articles
– The inverted pyramid method works for articles as well. When creating content for the newsletter, be sure to make sure each informational piece contains the five Ws to ensure relevant facts are not omitted. Under the pyramid concept, start with the most important W first, then list the others in descending order of relevance.

Whether writing about something that happened in the past, or preparing an announcement for a future event, use the W checklist make sure all pertinent facts are included.

Who is the story about, or who needs to be mentioned?

What is the main point or fact being conveyed? What happened?

Where did it take place, or where will it be held?

When was it, or when will it be?

Why did it happen? Or why is it being planned?

How was it done? Or how will it be presented?

Poor example: “On March 25 in Lexington the brand new employee lounge opened its doors.” In this lead sentence, the date is the first W given, and it is the least relevant.

Better example: “A brand new employee lounge opened its doors in Lexington on March 25.

* Accepting submissions
– Opening the door to any employee to submit any story about any topic can cause confusion, but it’s good to have a way for workers to express their ideas. Consider including a regular column featuring an article by an employee so that the creative door is open, but in a controlled manner.

* Free classifieds
– A possible option for newsletter content is to have a classified ad email address or collection box to accept and publish ads from employees. Set standards and guidelines for everyone to follow so that the ads submitted will be reasonable.

Photo Ops

Like the printed word, pictures tell stories too. Whoever said a picture paints a thousand words was correct. A trustworthy member of staff could be appointed as the official newsletter photographer, and have a digital camera on hand for special events.

It’s productive to have a newsletter because it provides an outlet for sharing photos of special events, such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies, grand openings, special promotions, company gatherings, and occasional everyday shots around the office. Sometimes employees will begin to look forward to the possibility of seeing a picture of themselves in the newsletter, and may eagerly await each publication.

Whenever possible, try to write lively and interesting photo captions for photos. Every photo published should have a caption to make sure everyone understands what is being depicted.

Capture the Spirit

A good newsletter captures the spirit of the organization behind it. Let pride and integrity be among the most highly featured elements of the newsletter because they will help propel it to become a newsworthy success.

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