The school newsletter is an essential tool for building an inclusive community. Thanks to the shift to digital communications and going paperless, more and more schools are publishing their newsletters online via online newsletter publishers.
More than that half of all emails are read on mobile, so newsletter content contributors need to learn to write copy that is suited to digital consumption.
“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” (Copyblogger)
This post is about becoming better at writing for school newsletters. It’s about finding ways to make your life easier, by improving the writing of contributors from your school. It’s also about working smarter and spending less time editing contributors’ submissions.
Most of all, it’s about getting more people reading your school newsletter.
TIP #1: Write Compelling Headlines
Your school newsletter is a waste of time if your headlines don’t encourage parents to read further. Including useful information in a concise headline, with a hint of urgency, is the best way to keep parents reading.
TIP #2: Be Concise
People have shorter attention spans than ever. There is constant competition for your readers’ attention. A newsletter is far more likely to get read if it looks easy to read!
Using short sentences, that are easy to understand quickly, is the best way to do this. The Hemingway Editor is a valuable, free tool for assessing the readability of copy.
TIP #3: Make It Scannable
Readers online don’t read every word. Instead, they scan to find what’s relevant. Making your newsletter easy to scan lets your audience find the content they want to read, keeps their attention longer and will increase your readership.
As well as using clear headlines, you can use a number of other formatting techniques to break up your message, these include:
- Creating bulleted lists
- Format text with bold or italic words
- Including images or video
- Writing single-line paragraphs and mixing up the sentence length*
TIP #4: Use Short Words
It might go against a school teacher’s instincts, however, your newsletter isn’t a homework assignment. Simple words are likely to convey your message more clearly than long words and complicated language. Stick with short, uniquely English words instead of more complex latin-based alternatives.
- get rid of vs. eliminate
- help vs. assist
- facilitate vs. obtain
- show vs. indicate
TIP #5: Make it feel like a Conversation
The best newsletters feel like a friendly chat at the school gates. Imagine having a casual conversation with a parent about what’s happening in class. You reader will appreciate an open and inclusive tone and look forward to the next update.
Over to you
Time to polish your contributors online copywriting skills? Share this article with your community or download it as a PDF.