Whether you choose to distribute a print newsletter or send your newsletter via church email, one thing remains constant: the importance of creating captivating newsletter content that church members genuinely want to read. More than just a church bulletin, a church newsletter can serve as a valuable tool for communication, keeping your congregants informed about church news, upcoming events, sermons, and ministry news.
However, to maximize any newsletter’s impact, it’s essential to be aware of certain pitfalls and common mistakes that can hinder your church newsletter’s effectiveness. By understanding how to navigate these challenges, you can create church communication that not only captures attention but also fosters a stronger sense of engagement and connection within your church community. We think these church newsletter ideas can not only help you avoid common mistakes but also elevate your designs.
Too Many Boxes
In some church newsletters, almost everything has a box around it. Boxing an item can be an effective way to make it stand out and draw attention to it. But if in your newsletter template everything is boxed, there’s no benefit. When everything stands out, nothing stands out. Boxing also eliminates any sense of narrative flow by chopping content into separate segments. Most newsletters can be improved by reserving boxes for selected items. Rather than trying to make a one- or two-sentence announcement stand out by boxing it, group several shorter announcements together in a section titled “Short Takes” or “Bits and Pieces.” One editor suggests this newsletter idea: “In my software program, I draw the box, type the article, and justify the lines. Then I select ‘no color’ for the lines around the article. Then the article forms its own box shape.”
Saving space by fitting everything onto a few pages or one screen may be good for the budget, but it’s distracting for readers. When copy crams every nook and cranny of a layout, people find it challenging to focus on—and finish—an article. If your newsletter has too much news for its space, you can add pages to your template or increase their size—or both. Doing so allows room for the separation of paragraphs, bold print for headings, more than one column, and wider margins. Increasing the space also means the text can be larger, which can enhance your overall newsletter design. Small print is difficult to read, especially for churchgoers with visual impairments. Another option is to place (or continue) articles on the church website. Just make sure those online pages aren’t packed to the gills, either.
Too Much Bold (or Italics or All-caps)
Again, when everything stands out, nothing stands out. Most of us have seen movies where an official gets on the horn and shouts, “Now HEAR THIS!” That’s what bold type does. It says, “Hear this, see this; this is important!” Use bold type sparingly to tell of a particular church event that is more than just routine news. When it’s overused, bold type loses its ability to emphasize. The same thing applies to using italics and all capital letters, which are difficult to read in large amounts.
It’s nice to visit an ice cream store with dozens of flavor choices, but at the counter, you generally order only one or two of them. Think of your church newsletter in the same way. Variety is the spice of life, but like everything else, it can be overdone. When newsletters use too many font styles and sizes, a “crazy quilt” of words and paragraphs can result. The many changes in type are usually distracting rather than enhancing. If text tends to focus readers’ attention on font styles instead of on the meaning of the words themselves, too much font variety exists.
Pictures of people doing things are great additions to any church newsletter, and everyone enjoys them. Unfortunately, many of these photos are of poor quality because they’re dark, fuzzy, or so small that faces can’t be recognized. Make sure you ask your photographers to get close to their subjects. Rather than trying to show everyone in one photo, take several photos that have fewer subjects in each one. And last but not least, if you’re going to use photos—which we highly recommend—make sure to use a procedure that results in high-quality images. (And remember to use explanatory captions throughout your church newsletter!)
If you create a print newsletter and it is printed on paper that’s too thin, the print and graphics on one side of the page are visible through the other. This makes reading extremely difficult. The pages look “dirty,” and readers get distracted. That, in turn, gives people a poor impression of the publication—and possibly the church. The quick fix for this problem is to use paper that’s heavy enough to avoid show-through.
Take time to review your church newsletter template and make these simple adjustments for overall readability. A weekly newsletter can provide a lot of important information and content about your church and your congregants, so make sure yours is up to the task.
We love art, are passionate about helping churches create professional-looking communications and are a fun bunch of folks. With an in-tune creative director and a rock-solid team of artists, we will provide the art you’ll want to use, plus templates, puzzles and extras that make your job easier. Our knowledge is here to help you make any church publication, including your newsletters the best they can be for your church members.
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