How to create a valuable community newsletter
The new year is a many-splendored thing. A time for fresh starts and new beginnings. As you're putting together your list of goals for the new year, why not go ahead and add creating a newsletter for your community!
This is a great way to reach your residents and inform them of all of the happenings going on in your community. Creating an effective, attractive, and well-written newsletter can be easy, and the rewards are great!
Here are five important elements you'll want to keep in mind when creating your next newsletter.
Always remember, content is king. This is the most meaningful part of your entire newsletter, as this is what you are wanting to share with your residents. Therefore, take the time to make sure everything you’re including is informative, factual, and valuable.
Some of the types of content you may want to include are news and announcements that relate to your community. This could be writing about what’s going on in your HOA and upcoming plans pertaining to it. You can also include news of happenings in your local community, list upcoming events, and include shout-outs to certain members of your HOA.
Another valuable topic to include in your newsletter would be announcements about planned maintenance or repair work that will be going on in your community. This helps to keep residents in the loop on changes or temporary inconveniences they may face. You can also include reminders of HOA rules that may be noteworthy for certain times of the year. For example, are fireworks not allowed in your community? You may want to include this around holidays when fireworks are sold.
While there are quite a few different topics you can talk about in your newsletter, you’ll want to steer clear of anything negative or that may embarrass another member. Avoid calling out residents who have violated certain rules, those who have yet to pay their membership dues, or complaining about something going on in the community. If the topic does not add value to your newsletter, don’t include it!
With there being a number of topics you can include in your newsletters, remember to have fun with it! Just be sure to double-check that whatever you decide to include is informative, factual, and valuable to the reader.
Part of writing great content is making sure that what you’re talking about is relevant to those reading it. Meaning, it is vital that when creating your newsletter you know your readership. If what you include in your newsletter does not pertain or relate to those who will be reading it, then all of your hard work put in would've been in vain.
Making sure that everything you’re including is relevant to at least a majority of those who will be reading it is essential for creating an effective newsletter.
Another vital element of a newsletter is making sure it’s readable! You could have great content that is relevant to your readership, but if they aren’t able to read it due to poor grammar and typos, then that’s a problem as well. Therefore, before you publish your newsletter, make sure to thoroughly review it for any errors. Here are some things to look out for:
- Grammatical errors
- Choppy sentences
- Spelling errors
- Confusing or wordy sentences
- Inconsistent viewpoints
- Irregular verb tenses
Having a second pair of eyes look at your newsletter is a great way to catch any errors you may have missed. Another option to double-check that everything looks it’s best is to run your newsletter through a grammar checker online. Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are two free solutions that we like to use at HOA Express and would highly recommend for double-checking your work. Taking the extra time to ensure the wonderful content you’ve produced is readable is something your audience will thank you for.
So far we’ve reviewed how relevant and readable content is a necessity for your newsletter. However, how your newsletter is presented is also important. Here are some design elements to keep in mind when putting your newsletter together.
Decide on an overall design
Having a consistent design style throughout your newsletter will make it appear more clean and professional. Try to avoid using different fonts, text sizes, and formatting on the different pages and sections of your newsletter. Keeping the design consistent throughout will not only make it look more appealing, but also will be less distracting, and easier to read.
For your fonts, you'll want to steer clear of using more than a couple. Choose one for your headings and one for the body of your text. When selecting a font, fun ones are always great to use, however, you'll want to select a more simple one for the body of your text. A couple of classic options are Times New Roman and Arial.
The size of your text is also an important design element. When deciding on the best size to use, it's important to know your audience. If most of your residents are older you may want to use a larger text size (i.e. 14pt). However, a good rule of thumb is to use 12 point as the text size for the body of your newsletter, as it is large enough to read but doesn't take up too much space.
A great way to jazz up your newsletter is by adding images! In this case, less is more. Adding one or two crisp and relevant images can be very eye-catching and add value to your newsletter. However, cluttering the page with multiple images that are blurry or non-related will do more harm than good.
You can add images you’ve taken of your community or choose from high-quality free images offered on the internet.
Note: You’ll want to make sure to double-check that the image you’re using is not copyrighted, and check the license to see if credit is required.
Here is an exaggerated example of what you'll want to avoid:
Now, here is an example of a more appealing design. You'll notice that, unlike the other one, this has a clean and professional layout. There is also consistency between the fonts being used, text size, and cohesive images.
Once you’ve created your stunning newsletter, it’s time to share it with your audience! One way to do this is to print out your newsletter and distribute it across your community. If this is the route you would like to take for sharing your newsletter, we offer an automated letter mailing service through the "Communications" section of your website. All you need to do is upload the PDF of your newsletter and we'll take care of the rest!
If you would rather not print your newsletter, you also have the option to post the newsletter to your website! This way you can create your newsletter and upload it to your website as soon as you’ve finished from the comfort of your home. Residents can then easily reference it and view the contents at their convenience.
Creating a newsletter can be a vital tool in making sure that your residents are informed of everything going on within your community. Not only do they hep enhance a sense of community, but informed residents are more likely to become involved in community events and organizations. Therefore, taking the time to make sure your newsletter is presented in its best light and is effective, attractive, and well-written will be worth the rewards it brings!
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