This week’s webinar at Nonprofit Marketing is “Ten Easy Fixes for Your Boring Print Newsletter.” It’s on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern (11:00 a.m. Pacific). Registration is $49.

Not sure if you should take this webinar or not? See if your print newsletter is showing any of these signs of being really boring:

1) The “Letter from the Executive Director” is on the cover or takes up a whole page. This is a tell-tale sign that your newsletter is more about what you think is interesting than what your audience cares about, which is the number one reason that nonprofit newsletters are boring. Even if it is not on the cover, if your executive message fills a whole page anywhere in your newsletter, odds are it’s boring.

2) You’re talking about stuff that happened months ago. Don’t summarize an event that happened three months ago in your newsletter. That tells me that you don’t have enough good stuff going on now and in the future to fill your pages. I’m not against event summaries in newsletters, but make sure they are very recent or that you’ve turned them into some other useful form of information, like a how-to article. Otherwise it’s just boring old news.

3) The photos are all grip-and-grins and fig-leaf lineups. Yes, we want people photos, but the same ol’ award ceremony and big check photos are uninspiring and have nothing to do with your mission. Same goes for the fig-leaf lineups (you know, where everyone is standing with their hands crossed in front of their privates). More on bad photo poses.

4) The word “You” is rarely used. People want to read information that is relevant to them and the word “You” in headlines, subheads, and first sentences of paragraphs signals that the writer is talking directly to the reader. If you aren’t talking to me, the reader, why should I care what you have to say? In other words, talk to me directly, or I’m bored.

5) You’ve reduced the type size to make everything fit. This usually means that you either don’t want to edit what you’ve written or don’t know how, and either way, unedited, rambling text with too many tangential details is really boring.

If you see your newsletter here, register for the webinar on Wednesday. One of my freelancing friends from my days in Washington DC, Ruth Thaler-Carter, will join me in answering your questions. Ruth is a veteran nonprofit newsletter writer, editor and designer and will have lots of great tips to share with us.

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