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20th January 2016

4-minutes read

Make your newsletters look perfect

We often get asked by clients to design their magazine or newsletter – they're a great way of communicating with customers who find them more engaging than standard sales literature.

From your point of view, a regular magazine or newsletter helps you to build a subscription list, which has long term marketing benefits. Copy for newsletters and magazines doesn't have to take ages to write either - a simple article of 200 words can easily fill a page if the content is designed well.

Here are some top tips for writing effective content for your magazine or newsletter...

Word count

It might surprise you to know that the entire word count of this three page article is only 720 words. If you overload your page with text, it loses its appeal (it'll look too much like a set of terms and conditions) and it becomes harder to read. Use the examples here as a guide to the ideal word count for each style of page. Remember that you'll also need to allow space for headers, footers, page numbers and photo captions.

Relevancy

Your content must be relevant to your target audience. Having read it, they should feel better off in some way, either because you've taught them something useful or updated them with news they find important.

Imagery

This is probably the most important aspect of any article! Good photos improve the appeal of your newsletter enormously, which means that more people are likely to read it.

If the photo accompanying your story is too small or blurry, badly composed or is taken in bad light, you can't use the story as a lead article.

On the other hand, if you have a great photo, then make the most of it – use it prominently and your article gets an immediate boost.

You should invest in good photography or stock imagery for every important story in your newsletter.

Chop up your content

Nobody likes reading long paragraphs of text. Divide your content into sections and use sub headings to make your articles easier to read.

People don't read newsletters or magazines in the same way they read books – cover to cover, reading each page completely – and so by highlighting key sections with titles, you will better engage your reader.

This also makes it easier for your designer to layout content on the page as sections of independent text can be shuffled around to fill the space in the best way.

Pull quotes

A "pull quote" is information that's "pulled out" from the main body of text.

Pull quotes are used to emphasise key information, as well as being a useful design feature. Your designer should know when and where to add a pull quote. Statistics / percentages work well as the numbers can be made bigger to add visual interest.

Get it printed

A printed newsletter / magazine is likely to be more widely read than an electronic version.

There's more cost involved in printing and distributing your newsletter this way but what's the benefit of sending it electronically if no-one wants to read it? People tend to skim read email newsletters and decide quickly whether they want to spend more time on it; with printed materials, it's more likely that someone will look at it "properly", which is exactly what you want!

Also, you have more scope to design an impactful newsletter if it's going to be printed than is the case with one you send by email.

And finally...

It's tempting to save money by designing your newsletter or magazine yourself... but if this is going out to your customers, its visual impact will reflect directly on your business.

We've seen many amateurish attempts and our honest advice is to get a designer to put your document together… or not to do it at all! A badly-designed newsletter will position your business alongside the local primary school or Scout organisation where this style of communication is expected.

If that isn't the impression you want to create, use a professional designer. And if this is beyond your budget, try different ways of getting your information out there: add it to your website and publish it through social media. It's better not to do a newsletter at all than to do one badly!

Mark Wilde

Mark Wilde

Creative Director

Mark Wilde

About the author

This article was written in January 2016 by Mark Wilde, Creative Director at Rubiqa.

Having worked in the design industry since 2000, Mark understands that creativity is as much about achieving tangible business results as it is about generating original creative ideas. His work always has a strong commercial focus and in the years of being a Creative Director at Rubiqa, he knows how to achieve the best results from our clients' investments. Mark's expertise crosses many disciplines including digital, brand development, editorial, advertising, and packaging design. Away from work, he's interested in electronic music production, travelling and learning piano.

Connect with Mark Wilde on LinkedIn

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