Writing church newsletters is an important way of engaging your congregation through every day life. However, it can feel like a chore if not done right. The result is low open rates and near zero engagement from the church community.
This is a familiar situation for many church leaders. The feeling of always being short on ideas, not knowing if the design is right, wondering what is working well for other churches, or struggling to figure out the right schedule can be very overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be like that.
To write the best church email newsletter, you have to understand the right strategies, content ideas, tools to use and more.
In this article we are going to take you through how to write church newsletters that will drive high rates of engagement with your church community.
- Church Newsletters Strategies
- Content Ideas
- Church Newsletters sections
- Church Email Newsletter Tools
- Church Newsletter Templates
To begin with you should setup a free account on Get A Newsletter, add your church contacts and read on!
1. Church Newsletters Strategies
Pick a schedule
Churches can choose from very many schedules to send out newsletters. Some churches choose a weekly newsletter, others send out one newsletter every month. Other churches setup a series of newsletters sent out consistently to cater for various objectives.
Picking a schedule and sticking to it helps the church team to find a standing ground and plan their church newsletter releases. It also helps the congregation to anticipate receiving newsletters at certain set times. Picking a schedule is therefore an essential strategy to start you off.
Start with basic information
When not sure about what to send out to your church, always stick to the basics. In an effort to write the best church email newsletter, it is easy to forget about the basics and focus on the complex things.
However, every church needs the basic things that will forever live in your newsletters. Yes, forever. This include: scriptures, events, updates on church projects, volunteering missions, and welcome emails to new congregants.
Once you figure these ones out, you are closer to the finish line than you know. With a little more creativity, your basics become wins.
Provide useful information
In this internet age, people experience information overload on a daily basis. From social media and texts to emails from various companies, there is just too much information and very little time to go through everything.
This only means that to be relevant to your congregation you need to stand out. Providing useful information is a good and easy way to do that. Think of those times when people ask about bible study times and places, family-friendly events, creches for nursing moms, etc. This is useful information that can add a bit of an edge in your church newsletters.
Sense of humour
We know about the pastoral message, scriptures, events, and announcements in your newsletter. They are nice to have but….
Add some flavour to your serious newsletter content with some entertainment. Nevertheless, many church leaders are good at cracking jokes during sermons. Reach out to your inner funny and transfer the same energy into the church email newsletter.
Here are some ideas to flavour up your newsletters with some fun!
- Add funny videos in the newsletter (make sure to tell the church videographers to capture funny moments and not to delete those clips worth deleting 🙂
- Make use of some funny memes and GIFs
- Use punchlines that relate to common problems in a funny way
Integrate images, videos and other visuals
Do you like reading through paragraphs and paragraphs of text? I know I don’t. Quotes, images, GIFs, and playing with colours makes a newsletter very interactive and engaging.
As shown in the image above, visuals can be used to break text and make your church email newsletter stand out.
People like being directed on what to do. Call-to-actions in a newsletter are buttons with text that tell people “click here”, “register now”, “do this” or “do that”. When you are direct with your congregation on what you would like them to do, a good number of them will follow that direction.
Furthermore, tracking your click rates on these call-to-actions helps you figure out whether people are responding to your church newsletters. It is one way to measure engagement and is available with most email marketing software.
Ask for feedback
One underutilized strategy by churches when writing newsletters is not asking for feedback. When you notice that people are not responding well to your church newsletters it is good to find out why.
Talk to some of your congregants during church days or send word to bible study groups to collect feedback for you. Ask your church community what they would like to see in the newsletters. In addition, find out if they have any feedback for what you are currently sending out.
Chances are that you will get lots of feedback to improve the next church newsletters you send out.
Too many words in an email discourage people from reading their emails. It is an email, not a chapter in a book for heaven’s sake. Write short paragraphs. Be straight to the point.
When you need to explain more, link it out to a page on your site. The people that are interested in reading that will click to read for more information.
Create an Intriguing Subject Line
If your church email newsletter just says “church newsletter this week” there is a high chance people will skip over it. Always remember that people get overloaded with information and emails daily. A bland subject line simply doesn’t help you to stand out.
Create subject lines that pique your contacts interest. For example, a subject line like “Summer is Here and [Church name] is Ready!!” might raise curiosity. Inside that email, have details about summer events in church, or summer stories that warm the hearts of your congregation.
Content lists introduce a story and then add links for your audience to click for more. These work because they help you give a lot of information in a newsletter while keeping the church email newsletter short.
2. Content Ideas
Many churches struggle to find content ideas to send to their church members. We have collected a few ideas here to juggle your mind and keep you inspired. Here are some content ideas to consider when writing your church newsletters:
- A full roundup – This can be sent out weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly depending on the magnitude of your church. Smaller churches have less going on as compared to big churches. Therefore, big churches send this roundups more often.
- Welcome emails – Send a welcome message to new subscribers and church members. Provide more information about your church, sermons, bible study groups, and anything else new contacts might need to know.
- Inspirational topics and quotes – Occasionally send out some inspiring quotes, talks, or discussions to get your church community inspired to face life’s challenges.
- Interviews – Has the church leadership or team done an interview anywhere or interviewed anyone lately? Let the church community know. Also, pastors do lots of podcasts nowadays. Share those out as well.
- Monthly or weekly scriptures – A dose of scripture keeps Satan at bay … I made that up. Share scriptures to nourish your congregation with the word of God.
- Event photos and videos – If the church has carried out any new events, share in your newsletter photos and videos to keep everyone in the loop.
- Announcements and events – Do a roundup of this as a separate newsletter if there are too many announcements.
- Children ministry updates – The children ministry updates can also be shared as one newsletter because it is a ministry on its own. It helps parents know what the children’s church is up-to.
Starting with these content ideas, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get started or add more ideas into your current arsenal of church newsletters.
3. Newsletters sections
Newsletters can have various sections on them. Using the newsletter template pictured below, there are 6 sections to help you write and organize your church newsletters.
- The Title of the Newsletter – On the header you can have your church name and title of the newsletter
- Top Corner Image – Add an image on the header for an interesting look
- Subhead – This can be any subtitle to explain the newsletter further
- Edition Number and Date
- Newsletter body – The bulk of the newsletter is the body. Add texts, images, links, titles, etc.
- Short URL – On the footer section you can have a short link for a church campaign, registrations for an event, or volunteer sign ups. Also below this you have the church address and an option for the audience to unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive further newsletters.
These newsletter sections are not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, they are a good guide to start off with and they mirror how more than 90% of church newsletters are structured.
4. Church Email Newsletter Tools
In order to create a great newsletter, you need great tools. Avoid scenarios like this…
A great email newsletter tool has simple innovative features like adding, uploading, editing and deleting contacts, segmentation, templates, editor, and ability to send or schedule emails at once.
It is also important to consider how emails look like in email clients when you send them out. You can easily test this by sending a test email to any email clients like gmail, yahoo and outlook. You need your emails to be responsive when viewed on mobile, tablet or desktop.
One such tool is Get A Newsletter. It is a simple tool that helps churches write and send email newsletters. To get started, you can sign up for a free account for up to 100 contacts.
Here is what you get if you use this tool:
- Email templates ready to use and can be adopted for your church to save you the time of building one from scratch
- Responsive emails that look great on every device
- Tagging features to group contacts depending on various specifications
- Personalisation: add a birthday, name, or any personal data about your contacts
- Sign up forms that can be added to your website, blogs or articled sermons to collect email addresses of new subscribers
- Segmentation of your contacts into various groups: you can have parents, youth, bible study leaders, volunteers, and many other groupings right in your email newsletters account.
- Analysis: know who opened your email, who did not open it, which contacts bounced and who clicked on any links. This helps you to know the overall success of your church email newsletter efforts.
5. Church Newsletter Templates
Church newsletters can take various forms and structures. They can also be customized depending on the objective of various newsletters.
We found some church email newsletter templates that we liked. Take a look through the gallery below:
In addition, you might find it worth your time to check out the best church newsletter examples to get more inspiration.
The more newsletters you send out, the better you become at writing them. Practice makes perfect could never be truer. Make your next church newsletter better than the last one. Structure up your newsletters in terms of content ideas, creativity, visual attractiveness, and consistency.
Always remember that despite coming up with a schedule to write and send newsletters, emergency situations might require you to reach out to your church community as soon as possible.