One of the things that continues to strike me so strongly is the importance of the newsletter's title. A good title invites reading; a bad title sets the relationship off on a negative note that's virtually impossible
As the most noticeable element on the front page, the title of your newsletter sets the tone for the contents that follow.
There are two common
mistakes which I see repeated over and over again. These include:
- Unnecessary words. Words like "the" and "newsletter" create unnecessary clutter, detracting from your newsletter's main message. "The" is not needed because, if readers want to supply it, they will
unconsciously voice it as they read your title. "Newsletter," likewise, is usually unnecessary because it should be obvious from its contents that your newsletter is a newsletter and not, for example, a flyer or
- Unnecessary pride of ownership. Although your firm or association's name may be very important to you, your firm or association's name usually does not represent the best choice of words for your
newsletter's title. This is because, in most cases, there's no benefit associated with your firm or association's name.
Consider a publication entitled "The Montana Lighthouse Foundation Newsletter."
One problem is that "The" and "Newsletter" take up a lot of space, and the more words you include in the title, the less space there
is for each word.
Second, what benefit does "The Montana Lighthouse Foundation Newsletter" offer you? The words may describe the newsletter, but they do not arouse the reader's curiosity nor tease them into reading
more. The words also do not do anything to describe the purpose of the Montana Lighthouse Foundation or the newsletter's editorial goals.
Searching for benefits
alternative, start by searching for words that describe the purpose, or primary benefit, that your firm or association or your goal in publishing the newsletter.
For example, As of your firmthe including several words
means that A much better alternative is to search for words which either:
- Purpose: the reason for your firm or association's existence or the goal you are striving for.
- Benefit: the benefit that readers will enjoy when they read your newsletter.
Thus, instead of "The Montana Lighthouse Foundation Newsletter," a better title might be: "Montana Lighthouse Preservation."
So, the first lesson is to identify the purpose or need your firm or organization serves
and use that as the basis for the title of your newsletter.
Building visual contrast into your titles
Another formula that often works very well is to combine a short
word set in a large type size with the typically longer firm or organization's name set in a considerably smaller type size.
In the example above, the key word "Preservation"--the word with the most emotional
appeal--could be set larger than "Montana Lighthouse" which merely identifies the subject and location.
The contrast created by the differing type sizes adds visual emphasis to the top of your newsletter and permits
you to emphasize the key word.
Another idea is to create your newsletter title out of an action verb that describes your firm or association's principle activity, i.e.
create the title out of a verb ending in "ing."
Let's say that you are redesigning a publication formally called "The Maine Desert Biking Association Newsletter."
Needless to say, with so many words in the title,
the original title lacked both visual interest and fails to communicate any enthusiasm-building momentum. (No wonder the previous editor was asked to leave!)
Instead of titling your newsletter "The Maine
Desert Bicycle Enthusiasts Newsletter," consider setting the the association's key activity, i.e. "Desert Biking," in a large type size and set the association's name considerably smaller, i.e. "Published By The Maine
Desert Bicycle Enthusiasts."
Again, this solution both creates visual interest through the use of contrasting type sizes and emphasizes the association's primary activity.
So, the second lesson is to identify the
key verb associated that best describes your firm or organization's purpose or activity and add ing to it.
Search for words with news appeal
As a last resort, combine your firm or
association's name (set relatively small) with a word (set considerably larger) that communicates news value. News is the purpose of your newsletter, right?
The following is a list of words that can be combined
with your firm or association's name to create an attractive newsletter title:
Your firm or association's name can be set in smaller type before or on top of the above "news" words, or you can combine the "news" words with a "Brought to you by (name of firm) subtitle placed below the key words.
You can also combine the above words with a word or phrase desribing your firm or association's activity, i.e. "Preservation Alert" or "Maine Enterprise" or "Desert Biking Today."
So, the third lesson is to combine
your firm or association's activity with a "news" word, and use a "Published by (name of firm) subtitle.
Great things are likely to happen once you break out of the
"obvious title" and begin to think in terms of benefits, action words and news words.
Use these simple techniques to breath new life into a tired newsletter or when searching for a name for a new newsletter.