Newsletters can be such a hassle, but worth every minute of frustration. They are a necessary way to reach out to customers and keep that connection alive. If you are ready to shed some of that frustration with newsletter design, here are some steps you can follow to make it a little easier.
Step 1: Printing Decisions
Before you begin the design process, know what newsletter printing company you will use. Make sure that they have plenty of experience with newsletter printing and offer the options you need for your specific design. For instance, some printing companies only offer a tri or half fold, which are both doable for newsletters, but many newsletters use a French or even Z fold. Or your newsletter may even need to be bound into a booklet format. In this step, you will also need to decide on what size your newsletter will be when folded, the quantity, paper type, and any other choices required by your newsletter printing company.
Step 2: Article Decisions
Decide what type of articles you want to include and how many of each. For instance, your newsletter sections may include editorials, industry news, letters to the editor, and features. Gather or write the articles you need keeping in mind your audience. The success of your newsletter depends highly on presenting reading material that will interest your readers.
Step 3: Image Decisions
To break up the monotonous look text can give to a newsletter, include images with every article. Yes, this can be time-consuming but it will greatly enhance the appeal of your articles. There are many websites that offer free or at least royalty-free stock photographs, such as Stock.xchng and EveryStockPhoto. Just make sure to download photographs at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher to avoid blurry or pixilated images.
Step 4: Headline Decisions
Your newsletter needs a title, every section needs a headline, every article needs a title, and long articles should contain subtitles. Clear headlines allow readers to easily skim through the articles and pause on those which interest them. Not everyone has time to read a newsletter from cover to cover, so appropriate and descriptive headlines ensures that more people will at least glance through your newsletter. In this step, you will also want to take the time to design your nameplate if this is your first issue. Nameplates typically contain the newsletter title, company name, issue name if needed, and publication information. Keep the design of your newsletter nameplate the same for each issue.
Step 5: Layout Decisions
You’ve done the hardest work so far. Now comes the fun part – putting together the pieces. Place the most relevant and interesting sections in the beginning of the newsletter and the least popular in the back. You may also decide to include a table of contents on the cover page, usually placed horizontally on the side of the page.
Step 6: Editing Decisions
Every good newsletter has been proofread for grammar errors and edited for a consistent voice. You can almost never proofread too many times. In fact, it’s a good idea to have several different co-workers proofread as different eyes will catch different errors. Only assign one person to be the editor, though, since it’s the editor’s job to keep the tone the same throughout the newsletter.
Congratulations! Your newsletter is ready to send to print. Hopefully by following a step-by-step system such as the one above, it will make the process much more relaxing for you, and maybe even allow you to look forward to preparing each issue.