A newsletter is a great way to keep members and other interested parties informed about what is going on in your congregation. It doesn't do you any good, however, if no one reads it. Follow these tips for making your church newsletter a dynamic tool that people can't wait to get their hands on every month.
Introduce New Content
Many people disregard their monthly church newsletter because it's full of things they already know. Often, organizations use them as a dumping ground for holding all current information in the same place. Every communication method you use should have its own unique purpose and content, though, and the newsletter is no exception. Every issue should contain some exclusive content that people can't get anywhere else. Even if you do use it to reiterate information found elsewhere, adding a few more details can mean the difference between members considering it a worthwhile read and disregarding it.
Impose a Text Limit
Your newsletter is not a magazine or a collection of short stories. If you want to hold readers' attention, you need to keep the articles short. Since opinions of what constitutes a short message can vary greatly from person to person (particularly among clergy), you must be specific about the maximum word count for each piece. Aim for articles that are no longer than 150–200 words to help your readers stay focused.
Invite Everyone To Contribute
If you send out a monthly newsletter, you probably have a writers’ group or other team in charge of putting it together. This team doesn't need to do all the writing, though. The best church newsletters are the ones that are written by several members of the congregation, and it doesn't have to be the same people every month. Encouraging everyone to contribute gives them a sense of ownership in the content, and that can make reading the newsletter more enjoyable for them.
A key aspect of the news you include in your publication are the upcoming events for the current or following months. The newsletter gives you more freedom to explain the events than a simple flyer or social media post can. At minimum, every blurb about upcoming special dates should include the time and location of the event as well as where to RSVP for it if a headcount is needed. Only include contact information for the event organizers if it is an official church email or office number or if you have permission from the individuals to give their personal information to the public.
Implement Digital Options
Your church newsletter should be accessible to every member of your congregation. Everyone doesn't necessarily need or want a printed copy, though. For every 50 members of your organization, print 10 copies of the newsletter to put on display in the common area so that those who prefer to read a physical copy can do so. Send the digital copy of the publication in an email to the whole church and post it on your website. You are likely to find that, when people have the option of reading it on their computer, phone or tablet, they are less likely to want it printed. You may even find that you have copies left over at the end of the month, which gives you the information you need to gauge how much you can adjust the number of copies you print next time.
Having a church newsletter that most of your congregation enjoys takes a little time and effort, but it can be well worth the work you put into it. Creating unique content that comes from multiple sources and gives all the information needed in one place is a great service to your members.