Believe it or not but a church newsletter is a very useful tool for building community. Especially these days when we can’t all gather together. To help you use your church newsletter effectively, we’ve pulled together this 5-step process that will help you get your message out, and have your congregation actually read it.
1. Have a Purpose for the Church Newsletter
Having something to say and something your reader can take away is probably the most important role for your newsletter. Purpose also helps you frame your message in a more engaging and meaningful way. Here are some ways your newsletter can have a purpose:
- Lead the reader in a spiritual exercise such as a devotional or Bible study
- Give the reader links to useful or funny or endearing posts on other sites
- Ask for volunteers or prayer requests
- Provide resources, especially now, that can help individuals link up with things like food, work, or community connection
2. Personalise the message
It’s so simple to make a message personalised. All you need to do is add the actual name of the recipient by including a <name> field in your email list. The next part of this process is to make sure your “from” email and sign off is not something like info@yourchurch.
Instead, sign off each newsletter with a familiar member of your church leadership. Ideally this is your head of church. This person’s name can appear in the “from” field as well as the bottom of the email regardless of who is in charge of the newsletter creation. This also creates a connection that allows the recipient to reply and start a conversation based on the email.
3. Add a Post Script Message
Like the personalisation, adding a PS to an email newsletter adds a compelling, personalised touch. It makes the message feel authentically from someone. The PS should support the main point of the email newsletter and not go off on a tangent. This brief communication is part of the broader plan to increase engagement between your parishioners and your church.
4. Create a Plain Text Email
There is a central problem with the e-Newsletter that might be surprising. A newsletter is transactional, whereas the reader views an email as a one-to-one interaction. We might prefer the look and feel of a designed newsletter, but when we get an email, we want to view it as a correspondence.
Not only that, but HTML emails are more likely to be filtered out as either spam or promotional.
So our workaround? Write a purpose-driven, personalised email. Maybe it’s taken from a daily prayer or thought from the lead pastor, it offers a connection and feels and looks like an actual email. But it has a call to action. This is the link to the full, HTML rich newsletter that has all the details you want your congregation to be aware of, such as important dates, ways to connect, and so on.
5. Develop an HTML-rich email version
This might sound like a lot of effort to create two distinct pieces of the same mechanism, The HTML-rich email should contain much of the original email content, but this time you break it up to digestible chunks with attractive graphics or images of members of your congregation.
By linking to your newsletter from your personalised email, you drive your congregation to a central landing place where they can choose to navigate about and see other elements of your web page. Plus with this link, you can more easily share out your newsletter across your social media channels to reach those who have yet to share their email address with you.
Use your own graphics when possible, but you can also access free photos and templates on sites like Unsplash and Canva.