Copywriting for newsletters
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Examples of print and PDF newsletters
Newsletter copy differs from other copy you would compose for a brochure or flyer in that you are aiming to highlight things you have done over a given time period for a sympathetic audience. Brochures on the other hand require a more succinct, persuasive style due to their space limitations, and flyers typically advertise something, like an event.
There are plenty of templates available for free on the Internet. If you do choose to design your own from scratch, you can visit the respective topic in the desktop publishing section.
The scenario we are using throughout this website is that of a fictitious community group, the Seattle Garden Collective. We’ll assume that they have decided to put out two kinds of newsletter: a four-page, longer one which will be printed double-sided and then folded in half in order to be mailed, and a one-page version which could be produced more often and turned into a PDF and posted to a website or emailed (technically the 4-page newsletter could also be distributed this way in order to save funds).
For this exercise we will focus on the process of brainstorming, then writing copy for these brochures. While we included this entire section in the section on brochures as well, we’ll have to assume that you haven’t visited that page. If you have, simply jump to the resources or Step 4 for final remarks.
Step by step
Step 1: Brainstorm
- garden collective
- community group
- we reclaim abandoned city lots and put gardens on them
- the gardens provide fruits and vegetables
- the neighborhoods are usually low-income
- there is no infrastructure in these neighborhoods to speak of, mostly convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, which contributes to bad eating habits
- people in these neighborhoods can’t afford long trips to the supermarket
- there is no easy way to get to a supermarket with public transportation
- children/families who are poor are also food-insecure
- even if they get WIC, they still have to be able to get to a supermarket
- we not only grow the food and distribute it, we also teach people how to use the produce
- the Seattle Garden Collective was founded in 2017
- we are a community group and have 25 members; the inaugural group was 5 people (Jim Smith, Sam Doe, Janice Miller, Joe Miller and Mara Myers)
- we meet twice a month (regular meeting) and from there organize events, activities and more
- there is no membership fee; people contribute what they can
- we have some community sponsors (HomeMart and Landscape Depot)
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Step 2: Write
Who we are:
In December of 2016, friends Jim Smith, Sam Doe, Janice Miller, Joe Miller and Mara Myers came together in a coffee shop near Pioneer Square to discuss an issue that had been on all of their minds for some time: food deserts throughout the Greater Seattle area. Since then, the Seattle Garden Collective has grown from this founding group of five to now 25 members. We may have started on a cold, gray winter day, but ever since we’ve been working hard to dot Greater Seattle with all the colors that should be found on your plate, one abandoned city lot at a time.
What do we do?
The Seattle Garden Collective reclaims abandoned city lots in order to convert them into community gardens, thereby restoring community in low-income neighborhoods while contributing to a healthier diet and curbing food insecurity in the immediate area.
What issues do we solve?
A healthy diet is a human right! The Seattle Garden Collective works to bring healthy food to underserved, low-income neighborhoods. We collaborate with local residents to establish community gardens on abandoned city lots, teaching them organic gardening methods in the process, as well as ways to use the produce grown in these gardens. This empowers neighborhood residents to take charge of their diet and builds community at the same time, ending food insecurity and the need to travel long distances on unreliable, expensive public transportation to satisfy basic human needs.
Some statistics we want to share:
Since our founding in late 2016, we have successfully reclaimed five abandoned lots and converted them into community gardens. These gardens now feed an average of 10 families of four each, for a total of 200 local residents whose quality of life was changed for the better.
“Even with WIC I was not able to provide my kids with the nutrition they needed because it was so hard to get to the grocery store without a car. This garden has been so great for us, and I’ve been learning so much about growing food and how to preserve it.” – Debra S., local resident, about the inaugural garden established in February of 2017.
A big thank you to:
We would like to thank our sponsors, HomeMart and Landscape Depot, for their continuing support. Without their in-kind and financial help the Seattle Garden Collective would not be able to change people’s lives like we have.
We are also infinitely grateful to our members and volunteers who keep putting in countless hours to dig up beds, build sheds, hold classes and more.
Please consider donating your time and resources to this very important endeavor. Whether you can spare a little or a lot, it will make a difference in people’s lives! Please refer to our website at OURDOMAIN.com for a current list of urgently needed items. You may also use the form below.
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Step 3: Refine
When preparing your text, keep it short and sweet. The reader should be able to grasp the main points by simply glancing through the piece. If you bury your messages in dense text, the reader may simply decide that it will be too much work to read your newsletter and just throw it away.
- Speak directly to your audience.
- Use headings and subheadings to group ideas and help the reader focused on items that are of interest to him or her.
- Avoid jargon and acronyms, even if you are sending the piece to people who “should get it”. Use clear language that everyone can understand.
And last but not least, make it easy for people to take action.
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Step 4: Finalize
Below are two examples of a newsletter, one being a little longer, the other one a one-pager. Both can be distributed printed, as a PDF, or you can include the verbiage on your website as part of a “Latest News” or “Newsletter” page. Please refer to the section on desktop publishing regarding designing a brochure from scratch, and to the section on software for questions as to what software to use. Of note: if you include a mailer section in your newsletter like in the example provided, you need to make sure that your page count is even.
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