Church Newsletters: 15+ Awesome Communication Strategies
What are church newsletters?
Church newsletters are publications that inform readers of the current events in and around the church. They go by many names, including bulletins and magazines.
Many newsletters are passed out during the church service, but there are also email newsletters that allow members to receive news wherever they are.
Other names for church newsletters
What Should They Include?
Scripture of the month
A message from the pastor
Topics of inspiration
Profiles of Members
When do you send newsletters out?
Question 1: How large is your audience?
Larger churches may run into the issue of having too much to report too often. For instance, you may have 5 weddings in the span of two weekends. In order to give all of these announcements fair treatment, you may consider sending out weekly or biweekly publications.
Smaller churches, by that same logic, may have fewer updates to report, and therefore would only need to send out a monthly newsletter. They may only have enough to fill up one bulletin a month, but that one bulletin will definitely be a quality publication!
Question 2: What info are you including?
More in-depth articles and profiles on figures in the community necessitate thorough research, writing, and editing time. If you’re aiming to include top-notch content in every newsletter, you might find it best to stick to a monthly schedule.
On the flip side of that coin, if you’re merely including quick updates, upcoming events, and itineraries, you can more easily crank out a weekly newsletter. Saving all of that up for a monthly newsletter could become overwhelming.
Question 3: Who will be in charge?
A designated writer
If you have room in your budget to employ someone to be in charge of church communications, then you should absolutely take advantage of that and send out more frequent updates. It may also be a volunteer effort that’s coordinated by a few people.
If you don’t have a designated writer or volunteers to take care of the newsletter, you may consider lightening your church administrator’s load by decreasing the frequency of publication. To read more about the job of a church administrator, click here.
Question 4: Will you use email or paper?
It’s important that you send out an email newsletter in addition to your paper bulletin for all of your members who weren’t able to attend the service. This may mean publishing weekly as well as monthly.
Having a paper newsletter to pass out during the service means that you’ll have to create one for each week. Many of your constituents may enjoy this option in addition to your email newsletter.
Where do you send them?
Have greeters pass them out
Before or after each church service, have your morning greeters pass out the week’s newsletter or bulletin.
Send emails to subscribers
Make sure you update your subscriber mailing list as soon as you receive new email addresses from new or existing members.
Mail out paper newsletters
For those that request them, send out paper newsletters to keep the whole congregation in the loop.
Who should write your newsletter?
Pastors, Ministers, Preachers
Staff and Leadership
How long should a newsletter be?
Email newsletter length
When you’re writing your church’s email newsletter, make sure that you keep it under 500-1,000 words.
Also be sure to cut out extra words, but not images, and to minimize your paragraphs to 1-4 lines.
Paper bulletin length
As you’re putting together a paper newsletter, keep in mind that 2-3 pages should be the max. If you have more to say, you can print on both sides of the paper.
You may also want to break up articles into columns (as you would in a newspaper) to make it easier to read.
Best Practices for Writing a Church Newsletter
Perform A/B subject line testing
Use a personal tone in your copy
Draw attention with formatting
Ask for direct feedback
Link out to relevant content
Pick an objective for each letter
Tips for Stellar Newsletter Design
Craft a header with a logo
One of the first things readers will see is your newsletter’s header. Make sure it’s properly branded with your church’s logo, colors, and font.
Establish a color scheme
Maintaining a consistent color scheme throughout your newsletters guarantees that they’ll be easier to read and instantly recognizable to your members.
Use a sans serif font
While serif fonts, like Times New Roman, may work best for printed publications, sans serif fonts, like Arial, are much easier to read on the web.
Few things break up a newsletter better than subheadings. Make your newsletter more scannable by adding headings and subheadings throughout.
Stack content for mobile users
Many of your readers will be opening your newsletters on their phones. Stack your content vertically to ensure mobile users can view them easily.
Balance text out with images
A picture is worth 1,000 words. Try to balance out large chunks of important text with meaningful images to enhance your readers’ experience.
Tips for increasing readership
When your members see that you’ve incorporated their feedback into the church newsletter, they’ll be far more invested in your publication. People enjoy when their voices are obviously being heard.
Bonus: Having an open dialogue with your members means they’ll be more likely to engage across the board.
Encourage members to subscribe
Whenever you get the chance, encourage new and existing members to subscribe to your email newsletter. Take time before, during, or after services to gather email addresses for your subscription list.
Bonus: Pass around an email sign-up sheet at all of your church events and watch as your subscription list grows!
Add social media sharing buttons
Adding a social media sharing button (or two or three) to your email newsletters will increase the chances that your newsletter spreads to others who might be interested in joining your church.
Bonus: The more social media buttons you add, the more opportunities you’ll have to spread the Good News.
Track Key Metrics to Improve
If more people clicked on certain types of content within your article, you know to continue writing that kind of content going forward.
The larger your subscription list grows, the more likely it is that you’ll see an increase in church membership.
Your average delivery rate should be 95%. If it’s lower, it might be time to clean up your mailing list.
Track forward rate by including a call-to-action with a trackable link to forward the newsletter to a friend.
Switch up your layout
Select another layout
Many email newsletter templates have several layout options within them. If you’ve been using the same layout for years, it may be time to change it up a little.
Play around with different layouts until you find one that adds a little more life to your church newsletter.
Choose a different template
If you’ve tried switching up your layout, but you have yet to find something that works, you can always choose a different template.
Try to pick a template that has multiple layouts that could potentially work for your church down the road.
De-clutter your content
Few things are more distracting to a reader than chunky blocks of text and cluttered content with no pictures to break it all up.
To optimize a reader’s experience, cut down on the number of lines per paragraph and the number of paragraphs in each of your articles.
Update your calls-to-action
Whether it’s signing up for the latest retreat or giving to this month’s charity, it’s important that your calls-to-action remain up-to-date.
Switch up your calls-to-action at least once a month to keep readers clicking on them and following through.
Look for fresh content ideas
Try out quote generating sites
In order to spice up your newsletter each month (or week), try using a site that generates fresh, applicable quotes on a regular basis.
Give video content a whirl
Visual content, videos especially, can actually add a great deal of value to your church’s email newsletter.
The best email newsletters contain videos of pastors addressing the congregation, highlights from events, and any other pertinent clips.
Conduct a round-robin interview
Gather together a panel of interviewers (or interviewees) and ask an array of questions to get the most well-rounded responses.
Host a content contest
The person who comes up with the best new ideas for newsletter content should get to guest author an article or two.
Why you should use email software
Software allows you to send emails in bulk
You’ll likely have hundreds of subscribers once you get on a roll (thousands if you have a larger church).
It’s important to use an email platform that allows you to send out as many emails as you need without tipping off spam filters.
You can find an array of templates
Most email software providers should offer some type of template for your church to choose from.
It’s crucial to find an email provider that offers the kind of variety and options that your church is looking for.
You can schedule your newsletters
You may find that the best time to send out your church’s email newsletter is in the middle of the night so that it reaches your congregants first thing in the morning.
In cases like that, it’s nice to be able to rely on a service that automatically sends out your newsletter whenever you schedule it.
Software lets you review analytics
If you can’t keep track of your email newsletters’ performance, you’ll never be able to improve your techniques.
That’s why it’s incredibly vital to find an email software provider that allows you to analyze your emails from multiple angles.
Add a way to give or tithe directly
Email donation buttons
Email giving buttons allow your church’s members to give without ever leaving their inboxes. All they need to do is select the amount they’d like to give, confirm their payment, and their credit or debit cards will automatically be charged.
The best part? It only takes 2 clicks for church members to tithe.
Online giving portals
Online giving portals also allow church members to give swiftly and securely. With Snowball’s suite of online and mobile giving options, your church’s members only need to input their info once to give across the platform.
The best part? You can insert the link anywhere within your newsletter.