Using newsletters to serve your audience

A newsletter is an essential publication that an organisation can use to inform, interact and engage its internal and external stakeholders. It comes in many formats: printed or electronic; publication or email. And, it can be distributed weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.

Its primary aim is to meet the needs of the audience. To this end, it is critical to understand the needs of the target audience before deciding on content, platform and timing.

There are essential elements to consider before developing a newsletter starting with the content. A newsletter diary helps you to have proper plan of what your content will be, how your newsletter layout will flow, and the numbers of stories and pictures needed.

If you are working in a team it makes it easy to share stories amongst team members.

Some content ideas include:

  • Letter from the executive director;

  • Upcoming events;

  • Reports from the field;

  • Questions and answers from beneficiaries;

  • Photogallery;

  • Updates on Programmes; and,

  • Staff announcements.

Here are some steps to use as guidelines for your newsletter:

  • Decide what will be in the issue and how much of each will be included -- for example, articles, features, news notes, and opinion pieces.

  • Ensure consistency in the design by creating a newsletter template;

  • Assign stories to various staff members to ensure a variety of issues and voices;

  • Remember to edit the articles and proofread ahead of publication;

  • If you are having your newsletter professionally printed, take the final copy to the printer.

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