In addition to the weekly bulletin, many parishes today are taking it one step further and communicating with members through a digital newsletter. Not only does it allow parishes to relay information that couldn’t fit in the bulletin, but it also allows for last-minute news, sudden announcements, additional events, and more to get in the hands of your members even after the bulletin has been printed for the week.
From items to always include to image best practices, here are four things to know that will make your parish newsletter worthy of reading!
1. Design That Encourages Parishioners to Read
Before you start laying out what goes where, make sure that you are working with an attractive newsletter template that clearly lays out everything you want to convey. A great way to do that is to “map” out what goes where and keep it consistent with each publication date.
Imagine that your parish is looking to share at least four articles in each newsletter, in addition to upcoming events, contact information, and a place that encourages parishioners to get in touch. Things that never change — such as the contact information and your “Get in Touch” call-out — can be easily copied over from the template, while the articles and event information will be copied and pasted into a block of copy. No need to shift where usual information goes, just keep it where parishioners can expect to find it and plan your articles and events around them.
2. Keep Content and Images Engaging and Informative
Keep content clean and concise by sticking to a general word count and running it through an editing stage to catch any misspellings, incorrect use of grammar or information that isn’t correct. It’s usually better to have a separate set of eyes look it over, as the writer may overlook mistakes just because he or she has seen it too many times.
It’s natural to check in with Google when searching for specific images, but be careful that you don’t choose images with low resolution (which will become pixilated when stretched out to full length), or images that are copyrighted and not approved for use.
If you have yet to try it, WeCreate, our art and content platform, is specifically designed with churches in mind. Here you’ll find the latest in stock photography, church clip art, Catholic prayers, weekly Gospel reflections, and more to make your bulletin, digital newsletter, social media squares, and more engaging and relevant. And if you have a bulletin contract, access is FREE!
3. The Ultimate Goal? Reach People for Christ!
Spending time creating quality content is a waste if people aren’t reading it. Ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste by keeping a comprehensive list of email contacts. From actual parish members to those just looking for more information about your faith community, this is an easy and oftentimes free way to share all the ways your church is helping bring others to Christ.
If you have yet to do so, make sure that your parish is actively gathering all parishioner contact information, including email addresses. Not only does that help you save on postage for regular communication (such as end-of-year financial statements or requests for volunteers), but it also give the parish some important data that the post office CAN’T deliver, such as who opened your email, which links were clicked, and how many actually read your content.
4. Clear Call to Action
So, you have emails, content, images, and a way to put it all together and deliver it to contacts … so what? Unless you present people with a clear call to action, it’s like throwing a dart at a moving target. You need to come up with an actionable step (or steps!) that your readers can easily follow.
What is the intended goal of your newsletter? To get members informed about your parish? Encourage them to share their time, talent, and treasure? To ask friends and family to come check out your church? As a staff, come together and make a list of end goals for your parish newsletter, and then make sure you are being clear with them. Easy to spot buttons, copy with clear and concise actions, and engaging images are all helpful when it comes to calls to action. Don’t hint at what you want them to do, be bold and tell them!
Does your parish have an eNewsletter? What are some content items you always include? Let us know in the comments!