In today’s hectic world, very few find the time to seek out information concerning news and events in their community; this can sometimes lead to apathy among homeowners. One way to prevent this is to make it easy for homeowners to stay informed, and one of the most productive ways to distribute information is through a community newsletter.
Creating an effective newsletter can be time-consuming work, and that’s why it’s a good idea to utilize the talents of board members who can contribute to the HOA newsletter. Images and layout are important, but written content is the most important factor in determining whether or not your community newsletter will be successful. Newsletters should be written with proper grammar and an extensive vocabulary, but they should also be easy to read, relevant, and interesting to the intended audience.
For a newsletter to be effective, follow the basic guidelines below:
- Research topics and consider your audience. Carefully choose your topics and write meaningful content with your homeowners in mind. Present accurate information and eliminate repetition; new and up-to-date content makes homeowners want to read what you’re putting out there.
- Details matter. If you answer the important six questions – who, what, when, where, why, and how – you’ll create an effective newsletter containing pertinent information.
- Write with flair. Vary sentence structure and length, avoid passive voice, and use a conversational tone. Check for spelling errors and include informative headings and/or sub-headings.
- Be clear and concise. Clarity helps avoid confusion and conciseness saves time for both the writer and the reader.
Other important factors that will affect the success of your newsletters:
- Choose a typeface that is easy to read and avoid multiple fonts. Various fonts make the message hard to read and can be distracting to the reader. Twelve-point font is generally considered normal for most text, although headlines and subheadings should be much larger.
- Be aware that alignment affects appearance, as well as readability. Flush left/ragged right type is generally more readable because the equal word spacing helps the reader’s eyes move easily throughout the text.
- When formatting paragraphs, be consistent! If you indent the first line of a new paragraph, be sure to do so throughout. Indented paragraphs are considered more conversational and are used with a flush left/ragged right style. Skipping a line between paragraphs is considered more formal.
- Choose typestyle carefully. Typestyle (such as italics, boldface, and underlining) can be used to emphasize certain words, sentences, or paragraphs, but use sparingly, or they’ll dominate the page!
Finally, here are two more considerations when creating your newsletter – story ranking and images:
- Choose story placement carefully when choosing the layout of the newsletter. Stories should be placed in descending order according to importance.
- Utilizing artwork, photographs, graphics, or other images often supports the message within the text and can be eye-catching and interesting to the reader. If you choose to use images of any kind, consider visual appeal and always use a mixture of horizontal and vertical elements to add variety to the newsletter.
Newsletters are a valuable tool to ensure that everyone is properly informed of the happenings in their community, and to communicate effectively with homeowners. Informed homeowners are more likely to take active roles within the association and are less likely to feel apathetic toward the board and/or their community.
If you need any additional help creating a fantastic newsletter, we are glad to assist here at Spectrum!