In our mailboxes or our inboxes, newsletters are today's voice for organizations, businesses, clubs, associations, and even Christian schools. Generally speaking, a newsletter's purpose is to periodically inform an intended audience of relevant news and upcoming events, as well as provide contact information for general questions.

Writing a newsletter may sound straightforward; however, an effective newsletter needs planning and organization to be a powerful tool for advertising your Christian school! Because newsletters are ideally designed to create interest, reach prospective subscribers, and partner with other local organizations, they are a great resource to create credibility and build loyalty. Plus, newsletters promote open communication, a key component of any successful relationship.

If you need help starting a newsletter or your existing newsletter needs to be revamped, here are some valuable steps and tips for creating an effective newsletter.

What to Decide Before You Start
Before you begin your newsletter, you will need to make some important decisions. First, decide what the main purpose of your newsletter is and who your main audience will be. In your Christian school's case, your audience will most likely be the parents of your students, and the purpose will be to inform parents of happenings on your campus. Next, appoint a main "go-to" person to be responsible for maintaining the newsletter. This person will serve as the editor and be a contact person for the content and any questions that writers or readers of the newsletter may have.

Like most Christian schools, you're probably wondering who has enough time to spearhead such an effort. While most school newsletters are led by school administrators and teachers, remember that useful information and direction also can come from volunteer parents and even your own students!

Next, choose the format of the newsletter for your school. Newsletters can be printed, emailed, or both. Depending on the number of your subscribers and the length of your newsletter, you may want to consider an e-newsletter option to reduce cost. This can be as simple as making a PDF of your document and emailing it! If you want to do a print newsletter, your school can secure a sponsor with an ad within your newsletter or put on fundraisers to cover the printing costs. (Tip: Make sure any ads are appropriate for your readers and are related in some way to your school).

Four Steps to Newsletter Success
Once you've decided the purpose of your school newsletter, who is going to run it, and what kind of format you're going to use, you're ready to begin!

1. Name your newsletter and create a tag line. Have fun and be creative! Pick something related to your school. (Tip: Creating your newsletter's name can be as simple as using your school's name (i.e. "Miami Christian School Newsletter") or your school's mascot (i.e. "The Crusaders' News). Your favorite Bible verse could also be used as the tag line. In reality though, the sky is the limit! You may even want to hold a school-wide contest to name your newsletter.

2. Create a content outline and template. Decide what articles you want to include, deadlines for the content, and the layout of the newsletter. Make sure the content is valuable and helpful to readers, or no one will read your newsletter! When you first begin your newsletter, two to four pages is a common length.

In writing the content, be sure to use short, to-the-point information, bulleted lists, and a positive tone. Also, don't forget to add pictures of students and graphics to increase the aesthetic appeal! If you're not a designer, look into free newsletter template software that let's you simply copy-and-paste your content. (Tip: Have a second person proofread your newsletter. Nothing's worse than an embarrassing typo!)

3. Determine your newsletter's frequency and stick to it. When deciding the frequency of your newsletter, consider factors such as when main school events occur, when staff can help, and most importantly, how often parents want to receive it. Monthly or bi-monthly is a great place to start, but be consistent! Telling your subscribers when to expect a newsletter and delivering on that promise is the key to communication and marketing success.

4. Syndicate your newsletter. You've done all the work to put the newsletter together, so don't forget to spread the word! Add your newsletter to your school's website, add it to your school's Facebook or Twitter accounts, email or mail it to your local newspapers, and send it to your local churches and faith-based groups.

Four More Tips to Turn Your Newsletter from Good to Great!
1. Not sure what to include in your school's newsletter? Here's a list of possible articles to get you started:

    • Student of the Month
    • School Events
    • Announcements
    • Faculty Updates
    • Letter from the Principal
    • Inspirational Articles for Parents
    • Student-written Articles or Poems
    • Curriculum Updates and New Courses
    • Testimonials
    • Referral Program
    • Contests
2. Don't have time to write your own articles? Try free online article websites* that allow you to download and insert generic articles in your newsletter. Search for terms such as "education" or "parenting." For examples, view these websites below:

www.easyarticles.com
www.articlecity.com
www.articlesbase.com
www.articledashboard.com

3. If you like an article in Alpha Omega Publications' School Messenger, use it in your Christian school's newsletter! Find helpful articles on AOP curriculum updates, new course listings, and more that can be quickly modified and copied-and-pasted into your newsletter. Perfect for keeping parents up to date, including AOP's articles in your newsletter can showcase how forward-thinking and advanced your school is for partnering with a leading Christian curriculum provider!

4. Delegate responsibility. This is the most important tip to newsletter success! Organize who is going to do what and put a schedule in place, so your newsletter doesn't trickle out before it has an opportunity to get started. Involve people from all aspects of your Christian school. As aforementioned, school administrators, teachers, students, and even volunteer parents can all contribute to a successful newsletter! (Tip: Have a monthly meeting to discuss newsletter content, so everyone is on the same page!)

Remember, your Christian school newsletter is a tool to reach current families and advertise to potential families. Helping you communicate with parents and students alike, a school newsletter can be an effective source for enriching their lives and ultimately reaching more souls for the glory of Lord. Don't wait! Start your school newsletter in four easy steps today!

*Alpha Omega Publications® is not responsible for content on third-party websites. Please be aware that the content on third-party websites is not reviewed, monitored, controlled, endorsed, or affiliated with AOP.