Do newsletters resonate?

During our 25-year history we’ve been lucky enough to have strong associations with clients from many sectors: non-profits, governments, private companies and corporations that have engaged us to design and produce their newsletter as a part of an overall communications strategy. Some have lasted years others have fizzled within 12 months due to lack of resources and/or commitment.

Of course, I’m going to defend all the pieces we’ve been involved with as being initially well thought out, designed and engaging to the core readership, whilst compelling to those  involved in producing content, motivated and engaged to move onto the next issue.

Looking at our past has given me some insightful opinions about what works and what doesn’t, not merely from a design perspective but from a commitment to ensuring your newsletter (online or in print) has resonance with a given audience. During our early years when working with corporations like Weldwood and NGO’s like The Red Cross and First Nations Family and Childcare Workers Society or more recently with colleges such as The BC College of Social Workers. Newsletters only have meaning for their audience when they can be expected. It’s rather like your own personal habits when wanting to get the latest news from a local or national newspaper. You expect  consistency and a timely produced publication with current and engaging content, in print or online.

The following are a sampling of the newsletters we designed for print and those we have recently (within the last 6-years) designed and produced, providing our clients with a CMS driven (Content Management System) which then publishes and distributes each issue via an email database. David Lach, our senior web developer, also designed a pdf generator for ease of printing these documents.

A broadsheet 4-fold newsletter and the employee yearly response guide. (click to enlarge).

  • Weldwood of Canada’s Dialog, which we designed and produced for well over 8-years, was an employee driven communication tool providing them with updates on: safety, company wide mandates for improved performance, shareholder information and more importantly, individual and group achievements within the communities they operated. The marketing department never missed a deadline and every year we were asked to design and produce an employee survey for feedback on Dialog, and other employee incentive packages ensuring these products had merit and reasonable return on investment. This newsletter was a success and served the readership well, becoming a crucial part of the Weldwood culture and PR/HR program. Weldwood of Canada Ltd, was acquired by West Fraser Timber Co Ltd, December 31, 2004.

Talking Stick 24"x12" 8-page broadsheet. (Click to enlarge).

  • First Nations Family and Childcare Workers Society’s, Talking Stick newsletter covered issues of interest to the workers who were the society’s members. This publication lasted about 24-months and was first published in 1997 to applause from its readers. Talking Stick, written by core executive members and edited externally by a freelance writer, would have been more successful had the executive delegated more of the initial research and content provision to the external writer. The core executive were inundated with personal day-to-day work and realistically could not adhere to the grueling additional work required for research and writing of this planned 4-issue a year, broadsheet newsletter.

InStep and BCCSW 8.5" x 11" 12-page newsletters. (Click to enlarge).

  • College of Occupational Therapists of BC, InStep and the British Columbia College of Social Workers, College Conversation are both 12-page newsletters whose audience are the respective College registrants. We redesigned InStep in 2006 and College Conversation in 2008. In both cases they were to be published 4-times a year. Similar to the issues faced by the First Nations example above, the pressures on the Executive Directors’ to provide core content and direction have impeded that goal and neither have managed to produce 4-issues consistently over a 12-month period.

Email, online newsletters with a pdf generator. (Click to enlarge).

  • BC Health Match, Advance and Recruiter eNewsletters, both designed in 2009 and more recently updated in 2011 as custom designed – David Lach was the chief developer – CMS driven publications which have been successfully published on a regular basis, due in large part to the organizations commitment to employ professional communicators to drive content. The Executive Director approves material, but isn’t involved in every facet.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, I’m always open to comments and look forward to your feedback on this and any other material we might publish. If you would like to contribute to our blog please don’t hesitate to contact us, or provide ideas for future issues.

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