Ekklesia 360

​7 Tips to Make Your Best Church Newsletter Ever

Posted by Joanna Gray



What are some of your favorite ways to keep your congregation in-the-know? Do you like to keep it old school with weekly Sunday announcements from the pulpit? Do you keep a bright and vibrant up-to-date bulletin board? Or update your Facebook page and/or church website? Whatever method keeps you busy, one thing is for sure: you need to provide an easy way for your church members to digest their need-to-know info while also bringing your community together.

It might seem old skool, but we've still found that one of the best ways to spread the word is to send out a consistent newsletter to your members. But it's not just about slapping some news bullet points into an email and sending it out—there's a lot of strategy and brain power that goes into an effective newsletter.

Here are some of our favorite best practices while creating a church newsletter for you to start drafting today!


#1. Give it a Purpose

Every church newsletter needs to have a specific purpose—and that purpose shouldn't just be "because it's August. Without a plan, the whole email can end up looking really messy and really pointless, really fast. We know that what makes a newsletter, well, news-y is that it features multiple articles and content regarding your church, but that doesn't necessarily mean every "Click Here" button and article should have the same prominence.

Try to choose one main call to action, or purpose, for each newsletter. And think of the other content as supplementary.

For example, let's say your church is hosting a local food drive for the Thanksgiving season and is looking for volunteers. You could have one obvious "Click here to sign up!" button at the top, along with a photo and a short description. The rest of the newsletter could be the "just in case you want to know" information where you feature your most recent sermons posted online, articles about your recent mission trip, prayer intentions, etc.


#2. Less is More

In general, people don't like reading long, word-y emails. If you want a guarantee that your audience will not click, send them a wall of words and no pictures!

It's best to keep your newsletter simple and straight forward to make it easy for your subscribers to digest. Remember, it's about providing them with helpful, relevant, and interesting content about your church. Zoom in on your primary focus and your newsletter can be—no matter if you decide to use Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Ekklesia 360, or any other email platform you like.

If you're stuck on finding a pretty design, we offer several newsletter modules and templates for churches who choose to work with us, but there are also a plethora you can find with a simple Google Search.


#3. Test, Test, Test!

We want to encourage you to do some testing to find out what works for your church and your list of contacts. Every church is different, meaning different people will prefer different pieces of content, different subject lines may work better than others, and certain designs may reflect your church better than others.

In addition to testing your newsletters to find one that best fits your church, we also want to emphasize that you need to test for errors. Nothing is more embarrassing than sending an email to the wrong list of recipients, or sending one with several spelling errors, incorrect dates, and broken or misdirected links. And it would be embarrassing to send out a newsletter that has a subject line like, "Your subject line here." Speaking of subject lines...


#4. Do Create a Fun Email Subject Line

Even though your members signed up for your church newsletter, there's no guarantee that they'll actually open and read it once they get that inbox notification. We understand that you want to give a sense of familiarity in your newsletter, but it's more important to write a subject line your readers will actually want to read. Think of something that will make your readers want to read this specific email at this particular moment. Because "July Newsletter," "August Newsletter," and "September Newsletter" can get old real fast.

Instead of, "St. John's Baptist Church July Newsletter," try some more interesting ones like:

  • Summer Bash at St. John's: What's Ahead!
  • Our Biggest Fundraising Event to Date is...
  • St John's Outreach Events Calendar Is Here!


#5. Optimize it for Mobile

Did you know that 65% of email opens are a mobile phone or tablet? Given the odds, most of your newsletter subscribers will be reading your church newsletter on their phones, and if your email is too difficult to read because of size and format on their 3- x 5-inch phone screen, they'll swipe left and may never look at it again!

You may be reading this blog at your desk right now, but go that extra mile and make sure your email is mobile responsive because it will be opened opened on a phone. Your readers will appreciate not having to squint or zoom in to read.


#6. Make it Easier for People to Unsubscribe

This sounds counter intuitive. We don't want to lose people! Not ever! Except when you do. :) First of all, having an unsubscribe option is a legal requirement when sending automated email. But even more than that, allowing your readers to control their settings is the key to an active, engaged subscriber list. If your recipients don't want to read your newsletter, it's important to give them an option to unsubscribe. Don't use confusing language like, "Change your communication with us," and make it easy for them to find the unsubscribe link. Having a clear unsubscribe process will keep your newsletter from being marked as SPAM.


#7. Set Boundaries and Timelines Internally

Your church newsletter is an excellent way to make sure your staff members feel supported, that they know their information is being talked about, and that they always have a chance to get their word in. But in order to keep things running smoothly, use this tip to keep you and your staff sane.

Nothing makes a job harder than a bunch of people throwing information back and forth kind of at random and at the last minute. This is even more true for a newsletter as the day of pushing "send" approaches. Set clear boundaries, guidelines, and timelines to make sure your internal staff gets information to you in a timely manner. Make a consistent send date, like the second Monday of every month and provide a submission cutoff that is reasonably before that. You'll usually only have to say "no" once to help your internal staff get a firm grasp on timelines.

Topics: Best Practices, Strategy


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