Newsletter tips and tricks

Top six things to consider

  1. “Who’s the audience?” Answer this question and then you’re ready to consider what they want to know. Avoid the pitfall of filling the newsletter with stories of importance only to you or your department.
  2. Give news they can use: Don’t let the focus become rehashing past events. Share new professional development, latest research and events they can look forward to.
  3. Make it easy to read: Write the articles so readers can get the information they need quickly. Instead of one wide column, consider breaking it up into two or three columns to support the ease of scanning. By making it easy to browse, you increase the chance they’ll find an article of interest and take away at least some information.
  4. It’s not just about words: Readers are more likely to read if articles are supported by visual elements. Compelling photos and illustrations draw readers into articles.
  5. Keep it short, simple: Use short sentences, bullet points and paragraphs. Follow the inverted pyramid style of journalism and lead with the most important information. Direct readers online for more information.
  6. Seriously, keep it short: Readers aren’t going to sit down and read anything cover to cover. They aren’t studying for finals. If you keep it short, focus on stories that are of interest to them, they might skim the newsletter before they recycle it. Don’t, and you won’t get that.

What stories to tell:

Alumni are typically interested more in these stories:

  • Research and new developments
  • Alumni profiles
  • History/nostalgia

They are less interested in:

  • Dean/departmental head letters
  • Donation news (unless you can write about how it will improve education, increase opportunities or support research that can improve the quality of life or our understanding of the world.)

Other items of high interest include:

  • Class notes
  • New educational initiatives
  • News about well-known faculty
  • New faculty (if likely to indicate prestige or advance in the department)
  • Shared student experiences

Story formats can vary: These are some ways to quickly engage a reader’s attention.

  • Five things to know
  • Q&A
  • People profile