Creating Newsletters

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Creating newsletters is a great, low-cost venue for educating the public about issues, giving specialized advice, or marketing products or services. The first and most important step, of course, is planning. All the design in the world doesn't matter if the content isn't rock solid and the audience isn't interested. Taking the time up front means avoiding problems down the road.

The question of reliable writers and assured content is probably the most important issue in creating newsletters. Several cautions are worth heeding. Develop a schedule of due dates for contributions. Never leave the burden of writing on one person. Be certain you'll have at least one fresh full-length article coming in the door for each issue. Build up an archive of canned material and outlined story ideas. In the best of all worlds, you'll have an entire issue "in the bag."

Let's presume, though, that all this is worked out. What you're left with now is sorting out the issue to issue production and schedule. Creating newsletters can be a delight or a chore. The delight comes when the details about reliable writers, a production schedule, and distribution are firmly in place. The chore comes when any one step has been skipped over too lightly.

Creating Newsletters: Design and Production

Thanks to electronic publishing and the Internet, the days of being constrained by folios--divisions of four or eight pages--are over. Newsletters don't even need to be printed and mailed by the postal system. Advances in software mean that you can produce an issue in any program you wish--Word, perhaps, or InDesign, or WordPerfect--and export it to PDF, ready for either email to a subscriber list or posting to a website. Depending on a service bureau, while always an option, is no longer necessary for a sophisticated product.

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