Send yourself your association’s latest weekly report or e-newsletter. Here are a six specific areas to look at. Keep your own score to see how your newsletter rates:
1. Headers & formatting – Headers labeled with a general category name gives readers a hint about the topic you are addressing. The boldest areas should be set apart to draw the reader to the topic that interests them on that day. Do you have four main headers or fewer?
2. Colors – Keep your template clean with two colors max (a hyperlink will automatically be blue; use only one more color) Varied background and font color does not get attention, it takes it away. Is your newsletter full of distracting font colors?
3. Consistency – Try left justifying everything in your newsletter and make all logos and graphics proportionate in size.
4. Content – Sell to your audience with the information that they will most likely to want to read. Remove the Redundant, Outdated and Trivial. Especially the trivial. Solving a particular customer problem makes a much better connection than highlighting “About Us” as a call-out to a newsletter.
5. What topics are most important? Somehow (by survey, focus group or last resort what you know about your audience) organize your information by the topics members are most interested in. This effort to prioritize will entice them – get their attention – and read more. Do you know – by fact – what topics members most look to your association for?
6. Scannable versus scrollable – remember, members will not take the time to scroll. Shorten articles to a paragraph at most, and remember readers will scan. Your goal is to make your newsletter scannable, not scroll-able.
How did you rate on the six-pack test? If you think you did pretty well, please send Melynn a copy of your newsletter so we both can brag about it! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.