If you haven’t guessed, I like writing.
My first experience was when I worked as a school chaplain. I wrote a weekly column in the school newsletter reflecting on life as a working mother and what I did at school. Over the years, many parents would say to me “Oh you’re the lady that writes in the newsletter”.
When you open up your own life a bit, people feel like they know you. They get comfortable with who you are and what you do. It made the rest of my job much easier when it came time to connect with parents.
So if you’ve decided it’s time to start writing a newsletter, here’s some tips on how to write, and 50 topics to help you get going.
Why write a newsletter column
Most schools and churches have a newsletter. And there’s often space in your local paper if you work in another youth setting.
Writing a regular column lets people get to know you; to feel a sense of connection with you. It’s a great way to share information with your community. It helps you spread the word about things that are coming up, or what else is in the area that people might not know about.
People are busy and the number of people reading newsletters drops every year, so don’t see this as the only way to connect. It needs to be short, punchy and entertaining.
How to write newsletter articles
Every newsletter is different, so find out how much space you can have and how frequently you can publish. Commit to doing it regularly. If writing isn’t your thing you might be better off doing it once a month.
Writing a newsletter column should be about building a following. Getting people to look forward to what you write. So pick a topic, tell a short story and give them something to take away from it. Try to stick to 250 words or less.
Start writing your column by getting your thoughts on the paper. Let your mind flow and don’t get too caught up in getting it right the first time. Once you’ve got your story out. Walk away from your writing for a while. Let it clear the front of your mind.
There are some great tools you can use to help make your writing better. Two I use are Grammarly and Hemmingway. You can use Hemmingway to check your writing is easy to read and has good structure. Grammarly makes sure you get your punctuation, spelling and yes, grammar right.
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” – F Scott Fitzgerald
Newsletter topics for when you get stuck
Coming up with a new column every week can be hard, so if you’re not sure what to write about, here’s 50 ideas to get you started:
- An invitation to an upcoming event
- Introducing yourself, what led you to this role
- A reflection on something that happened last week
- An insight into what a typical day at work looks like for you
- A story from your own life
- Unwrapping an old wives tale or myth for modern life
- An “on this day” look back in time to how things have changed
- Something topical from your community
- A funny experience in your own life
- A statistic that people can relate to, like how common anxiety is, or how much money is being spent on fast food
- A misfortune you experienced and the lesson behind it Looking at the meaning of word that young people are using
- Looking at the meaning of word that young people are using
- Something you’re obsessed with – write about passions and how you love your favourite sporting team or Thermomix
- A recent report
- A reflection on your own youth comparing it to today
- Where you’re going on your next holidays and what you’re looking forward to about it
- A news story
- A tip on relationships, parenting or being organised
- Something new – a new toy, tool or trick you’ve been having fun with
- A reflection on something you heard on the radio or a television show
- An explanation on an upcoming national day
- Something you learned at a course or seminar you attended
- Your views on a sporting victory or loss
- Reflect on a conversation you had with a young person – just change it enough that you don’t breach their confidentiality
- A superhero or television character you admire
- A gift you received and how you felt about it
- Summarise an article or blog post you read
- Give people information about how they can donate to the work you do or support it by volunteering
- Reflect on a special day coming up, like Christmas or Remembrance Day
- Write about something you observed that warmed your heart
- Your favourite season of the year
- A “how to” guide
- Sunrise or sunset and what it means to you
- Your favourite food
- A person you admire, either famous or someone local
- A wedding or funeral you’ve been to and what those gatherings say about people
- Your experience at a shop
- Something you’re grateful for
- Your current efforts at forming a new habit
- A crush on someone famous you had as a teenager
- A project you’re tackling in your spare time
- Something on your bucket list
- What your dream job was when you were a child
- What book week character you’d like to dress up as
- A difficult time where you had to persevere
- Your favourite memory as a child
- The last movie you watched
- Something your mother or father told you that has always stuck with you
- A book you’ve been reading
- A review of a local service that families might find helpful
It’s a long list, so if you’d like to have a copy to keep, download this printable.
Having a newsletter column is a great way to connect with the people you work with. Pick a frequency that works for you and then go with the topics that help them to get to know you.
And if all these ideas overwhelm you more, maybe your own column won’t work for you. But you can still offer your readers something to sink their eyes into – purchase my newsletter bundle of 10 parenting article for just $10.