This might be a good time to start a newsletter because:
___You need to get a lot of information to a lot of people on a regular basis.
___You want to educate or inform the community on important issues.
___You want to attract new members.
___You want to build a sense of common purpose, or motivation--or both -- among members.
___You want to get feedback from your members.
___You want to increase recognition for your organization or belief in its cause.
___You want the public to see you as a credible and significant group.
You have asked yourself the following questions:
___What is the primary purpose of the newsletter?
___What are the other purposes?
___Who is the audience?
___How frequently do you want the newsletter to appear?
___How many copies do you want to produce for each issue?
___How much will this cost?
___How much can you afford?
___Who will design and edit the newsletter?
___Who will write the articles?
___How will you distribute the newsletter to its audience?
___How will you know if you have been successful?
Before you start working on your newsletter:
___Decide whether you will publish the newsletter yourself or use professionals
If you want to produce the newsletter yourself, make sure you have the necessary tools at your disposal:
___A typewriter and access to a copier;
If you are using a computer:
___Software that includes a capacity for word processing, page design, and graphics;
___A high quality printer
If you are having the newsletter done by a professional:
___Get your copy shop, professional printer, or graphic artist involved before going beyond the planning stage. Don't be afraid to talk to professionals; they may be willing to contribute their services or offer them at a reduced rate.
___You might use a copy shop if you are cutting and pasting from typewritten material.
___Computers that make layout and printing easier can be found there, too.
___Graphic artists can make layout and printing more attractive and interesting, and help convey information better.
___You can take camera-ready copy (you do everything but print it) to a professional for final printing.
___Confirm every aspect of the printing process at this time, including cost, time, what color is to be used, grade of paper, etc.
Steps for all newsletters:
___Decide what will be in the issue and how much of each will be included -- for example, articles, features, news notes, and opinion pieces.
___Design the layout for the newsletter.
___Write the articles for the newsletter -- or have them written.
___Edit the articles -- for content, for style, and for space.
___Edit them again. Ask someone else to help you with proofreading.
___If you are having your newsletter professionally printed, take the final copy to the printer.
___Check the final copy one last time for any errors in printing or editing.
___Mail or otherwise distribute the newsletter.
___Get as much feedback as you can about the issue.
If you want to get others to contribute to your newsletter, try the following:
___Find some other members to help plan the newsletter with you.
___Invite member articles, features, and columns; an occasional guest columnist can add luster.
___Pass around a sheet for written announcements and story ideas at your group meetings.
___Replace minutes with task force summaries in the newsletter.
___Reprint news coverage of the coalition.
___Borrow from other materials people send to you.
Words and graphics
___You understand that the masthead is the title on the front page of every newsletter.
___Keep the name of your newsletter short and catchy.
___Consider using your organization's logo or symbol as part of the title.
___Consider having a professional design this part of the newsletter, even if the rest is done in-house.
___You understand that the font is the style of typeface you use.
___For the text of your articles, you're using serif fonts instead of sans serif fonts.
___For the headlines, you're using sans serif fonts.
___You're using fonts consistently and refraining from using many different fonts on a single page.
___You use italics sparingly -- words in italics are difficult to read.
___When you have two or more columns, you justify your type to make it more readable.
___You understand that the headline is the short title or introduction summarizing the main ideas of an article.
___Print headlines in the same color as the article for easier reading.
___Set them like sentences without periods (i.e., capitalize only the first letter of each word).
___You understand that the articles are the stories and text that explain the different events, issues and plans that are important to your group.
___Unless it's a technical newsletter, your articles are written at approximately an eighth-grade reading level.
___The font size in articles is at 10 to 12 points.
___Choose a topic that's interesting to you and that others might enjoy.
___You've asked yourself, "Who is my audience?"
___You've asked yourself, "What main ideas do I want them to understand? "
___Organize your ideas before you begin; consider making an outline.
___Avoid complicated words and lengthy sentences.
___Use examples to back up your ideas.
___Always proofread your article for spelling and grammar errors as well as overall understanding.
___Whenever possible, have another person look over it before you turn in your final draft.
___Use two to three columns per 8 1/2" x 11" page for easy reading.
___Limit each page to no more than three or four articles.
___Make effective use of white space.
___Examine the page at arms-length to check balance.
___Use graphics, clip art, or photographs to break up the text and give your newsletter a more polished appearance.
___Consider keeping your newsletter at six pages or under (four is often ideal).
___Consider using a consistent layout that will make your newsletter more familiar to your readers.
___Involve the printer from the very beginning.
___Talk to the printer about every detail of your goals, your dreams, your budget, and your timeline.
___When choosing paper, stick with neutral colors such as white, tan, or light gray that are not jarring to the eye.
___Request a second "spot color" to add life to your newsletter without adding too much cost.
___Ask for the standard paper size that the print shop typically uses for other orders; it's usually the cheapest.
___Learn some of the vocabulary of printing so there will be no confusion when you speak with your printer.
___Listen carefully to the printer's advice, but remember, it's your newsletter, so it's up to you to make the final decisions.
Cost saving tips
___Consider selling "advertising" to help cover the cost of your newsletter.
___Determine if you qualify for non-profit status to lower your postage rates.
___Check into bulk mailing and bar codes.
___Consider other means of distributing your newsletter besides using the mail. Be creative!
___Decide how often you really need the newsletter to go out.
___Move through every step of the process of creating your newsletter carefully, and make sure to edit as you go along.
___Have another person take a final look with you.
___Ask your printer or other newsletter editors how your newsletter can be done for less.