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Promoting Your Service Through News. Thursday 10 th February 2005 What You Need To Know About Newsletters By Sharon Watson - Freelance Journalist / Editor. Sharon Watson. Journalist since 1983 Worked in UK and New Zealand

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Promoting your service through news l.jpg

Promoting Your Service Through News

Thursday 10th February 2005

What You Need To Know About Newsletters


Sharon Watson - Freelance Journalist / Editor

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Sharon Watson

  • Journalist since 1983

  • Worked in UK and New Zealand

  • Working on local newspapers, trade union journals, professional magazines, regional ITV news, online news and consumer magazines

  • Former Texaco Industrial Journalist of the Year

  • Runner Up in UK Press Gazette Business Press Award

  • Numerous TUC Media Awards

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What is a newsletter?

  • Short

  • Contains news

  • Valuable

  • Targeted audience

  • Targeted content

  • Trustworthy

  • Personal

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Types of newsletters

There are four basic types

  • Marketing

  • Public Relations

  • Internal Relations

  • Commercial

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Marketing Newsletters

  • Sell something

  • Focus on actions

  • Emphasise benefits

  • Partisan point of view

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Public Relations Newsletters

  • Focus on attitudes

  • Make readers receptive to marketing

  • Help people know more and feel better about the organisation

  • Foster interest in the subject

  • Build respect

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Internal Relations Newsletters

  • E.g. for employees or members

  • Give information about familiar people, places and ideas

  • Honour outstanding performance, build morale and stimulate attention to quality

  • Help shape organisational vision

  • Establish direction

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Newsletters for Profit

  • Exist to make money

  • Usually mailed

  • Cost ££££s

  • Quality

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Readers like:

  • Interesting topics

  • Short articles

  • Attractive graphics

  • Easy-to-skim designs

  • Bulleted lists

  • Clear organisation

  • Calendars

  • Offers and benefits

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Readers don’t like:

  • Intimidating pages

  • Disorganised information

  • Long, continuing articles

  • Irrelevant content

  • Impersonal tone

  • Chaotic page design

  • Too many pages

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Objectives in Newsletter Writing

  • Clarity – Misunderstandings anger people, cost money and endanger credibility.

  • Conciseness – Concise writing saves time, reading time, writing time and paper. It also enhances clarity so that the main points stand out rather than fade into a collage of details.

  • Proper Image – People notice errors. They either smile and overlook them, or think the writer or organisation is careless. Poor writing not only affects your organisation’s image, but also personal image.

  • Cost Efficiency – Effective writing results in saving money – on reading, writing and reproduction costs.

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Budgets and End Products

The budget determines…

  • Print run

  • Frequency

  • Distribution

  • Pagination

  • Colours

  • Paper

  • Design

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Should you go for a magazine?

Magazine characteristics

  • Less newsy

  • Longer to produce

  • Relies on images

  • More creative layout

  • Longer articles

  • Advertising

  • More pages

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Consider changing your newsletter to a magazine if you have:

  • Lots of material

  • Access to good quality pages

  • A good budget

  • A need to establish a more authoritative ‘voice’ in your field

  • Other news outlets

  • Extra time to produce a bigger publication

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Design, Layout and Production

  • The ‘look’

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel

  • Use colours or special paper to enhance your newsletter

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  • Type shouldn’t be noticed

  • Use standard typefaces like

    Times, Courier and Helvetica

  • Italics can slow reading

  • For body text, use serif fonts such as Palatino, Times Roman and Garamond.

  • Use bold letters for names and important points

  • Non serif typefaces are good for headings (such as Arial)

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  • Use clip art

  • Don’t overdo it

  • Don’t put boxes round your illustrations

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  • When photographing people take control.

  • Aargh! Handshakes!! Avoid clichés.

  • Get a variety of poses.

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  • Appoint an editor

  • Meet to discuss style, content, deadlines and costs

  • Set clear goals

  • Meet deadlines

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Body Type



Clip Art

Type used for text. It is generally 10-12 points in size

The reporter's name, usually at the beginning of a story

A line or block of type providing information about a photo. Used interchangeably with cutline

• Copyright-free images you can legally modify and print as often as you like

Newsletter Language 1

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Legal protection for stories, photos or artwork to discourage unauthorised reproduction

A small detailed diagram showing where all elements go. Also,

the process of drawing up a layout

All the characters in one size and weight of a typeface

• The underlying structure of a page

Newsletter Language 2

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Large type running above or beside a story to summarise its content. Also called a head for short

A part of a column set in a narrower width. Often the first line

of a paragraph is indented

The placement of art and text on a page. To lay out a page is

to design it

• The space between elements on a page and the space

between the edge of the paper and the elements

Newsletter Language 3

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White Space

The name of the newsletter as its displayed on page one. It generally extends across the top of the first page

A standard unit in a measure of printing. There are 72 points in

one inch

A family of fonts – for example the Arial family, which includes

Arial, Arial Narrow, Arial Bold, etc

• Areas of a page free of any type or artwork

Newsletter Language 4

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Dummy Text 1

  • The purpose of dummy text is to fill help lay out a page before you receive the actual copy.

  • The standard dummy text is the Latin text Lorem Ipsum, and looks like this:

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Dummy Text 2

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum."

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Dummy Text 3

  • Used in printing since the 16th century

  • Comes comes from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" by Cicero, written in 45 BC.

  • Used because it looks like readable text (but isn’t)

  • Normal distribution of letters, so it fills the space

  • Makes readers focus on the typeface and layout, not the content.

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Desktop Publishing

  • Can make the job easier or harder

  • Don’t waste time with it if you aren’t competent

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  • Get several quotes

  • The same goes for colours

  • Ask to see samples of printed work

  • Don’t print in full colour unless necessary

  • Speak to your printer about reducing costs – it may be easier than you think

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  • Always keep your audience in mind.

  • Plan and influence.

  • Is your newsletter sustainable?

  • Build from the basics up.

  • Keep to your deadlines.

  • You are the captain.

  • Offer feature writers a byline and an author’s note.

  • Be concerned about how your newsletter reads before you worry about how it looks.

  • If you are producing an email newsletter, ‘clean and simple’ spells effective.

  • Good writing and good editing require direction and hard work.

  • Lead with strong items that have broad appeal.

  • Learn the distinction between simple information and a story.

  • Any successful newsletter depends on plentiful and reliable sources.

  • Always look for reader feedback.

  • The true test of performance is behaviour.