A regular newsletter is essential to keep the owners informed.
There are tricks of the trade to increase its effectiveness and readability
Keep Articles Short. Get to the point. Headings & bullet points grab reader’s eyes as they scan. Put important information in boxes.
Include Good Stories. Newsletters can be much more than information. Profile your board committee members, include a newcomers section, promote events, and include a Q&A section.
Put “Hook” into your Headlines. A good headline reels a reader in. For example, “Board Raises HOA Fees” will pique more interest than “Board Passes New Budget”. Use puns, rhymes plus movie, TV and book titles into your headlines. For example, if a windstorm tears off a room, try “Gone With the Wind”.
The Facts. Stores should include who, what, where, when, and how information. If the cover story announces a new rule, explain why the rule was enacted, who it applies to, when it’s effective, and how it will be enforced. Don’t leave them with more questions than answers.
Lead with Power. Lead off with high impact information. For example, instead of “The board discussed ways for getting residents to comply with the pet policing policy, try “The Board discussed a new enforcement policy using the stock and pillory for residents who don’t police their pets”.
Proofread. Use a second set of eyes and always double-check the spelling of names.
Use Photographs. Photos help neighbors meet neighbors. Black & White photos will generally reproduce better than color photographs although using a laser printer eliminates most of the difference. Actions shots work best. Include descriptive captions.
Share the Good News. This is a golden opportunity to publicize accomplishments and things to come.
Standardize your Look. Software like Microsoft Publisher offer attractive templates. Google “newsletter templates” for ideas, pick one and stick to it.
Use White Space. White space frames the content and gives the page breathing room.
Use a Readable Typeface. Serif typefaces like Garamond, Times Roman and New Century are easier to read than san serif typefaces like Helvetica, Futura and New Gothic. San serif works for headlines. NEVER SET BODY TEXT IN ALL CAPS – it’s difficult to read and intimidating. Use italics and bold sparingly…mainly for impact. Use no more than three different typefaces to avoid a busy and cluttered look.
Humorize. Include jokes and cartoons to liven it up.
Post it online. The internet is a terrific way to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Anything you can lay out on paper can be done on your own HOA website.
Newsletters can inform, tweak and pique interest. Informed owners tend to be more supportive of HOA business
and more likely to become involved as volunteers.
Use newsletters to unify and harmonize your community.