Newsletters are about keeping your audience up to date with the latest developments in your company, school, or organization. They are sent on a predictable schedule to inform readers of sales, promotions, new features, reunions, events, etc. Some newsletters—for instance, those aimed at an alumni group—list personal updates, highlight school events, and showcase new buildings or donations.
Having a strong nameplate unites the document and makes your newsletter look professional. Aim to strike a balance between text and images in your newsletter. Images should contribute to your message, not just clutter the page. Breaking up your text into columns can make it more legible. For a letter-size newsletter, three columns is a good choice.
Creating a newsletter presents a good opportunity to cement your brand. By incorporating your company’s, school’s, or organization’s colors, logo, and typeface, you can increase brand recognition and improve the likelihood that your newsletter gets read. Your newsletter should be instructive without being heavy-handed. Don’t treat the content as an afterthought: if your newsletter doesn’t inform your audience or provide useful updates, you will generate more bad feelings than good. Make sure your text is copy edited and that your articles are succinct and easy to read. Event calendars are expected components of a newsletter. Articles on a given page of a newsletter should have a unified theme. That way, readers can tell at a glance if it will interest them.
Many editorial teams struggle with creating a strong editorial philosophy. They either don’t have an editorial philosophy or don’t see the importance of having one. Some have a philosophy that communicates nothing about why they publish or how their product is different from all the others. The editorial philosophy for your product is critical to keeping the editorial strategy and design on track, and properly focused on your target reader. Another very important goal of the editorial philosophy is defining your competition. By doing so, you can strategically differentiate your product so it’s always at the top of the pile.
The process of developing your editorial philosophy will get your editorial and design teams on the same page by setting goals. In some cases, it’s a great tool to use to resolve disagreements. If something doesn’t fit the mission, it doesn’t belong in the product. Redesign time is also a terrific opportunity to write or rewrite your editorial philosophy. Setting a designer loose on a redesign project without an effective editorial philosophy can almost guarantee that the project will go over budget, miss the mark, or just flat-out fail, wasting everyone’s time. You need to know who you are before anyone else can begin to understand you. Your editorial philosophy can be a measurement tool to use to help evaluate design concepts or a new editorial strategy.
Don’t be generic. Distinguish your brand in the editorial philosophy, whether it’s by geography, industry, niche, etc. (And if you can’t craft a unique editorial philosophy, it may signal a need to revisit your overall marketing strategy.) Always include the purpose of your content in your editorial philosophy. How should it motivate the readers or viewers? What do you want them to know, think, or do? Remember, your content can’t be everything to everybody. Pick a niche audience and ensure that your content is loyal to it.