There are two kinds of mail (email) that we receive everyday. We get bills, checks, and other important stuff that we open right away. And then there is the junk mail that we toss aside to discard later.
Where Do You Want Your Newsletter To End Up?
Do you want your family newsletter to end up in the trash? Or would like it to be eagerly anticipated and a joy to read?
In order to create a newsletter that is enjoyed by all, you need to follow these three simple rules for your content:
1. Keep the tone fun and informative
2. Write to all age groups (Separate the newsletter into sections, e.g. Kid’s Corner)
3. Create a variety of content that is unique and engaging
But I Don’t Know How To Create Unique And Engaging Content?
We figured as such. The reason why many family newsletters never get off the ground is due to a lack of great content. In most cases, the person responsible for creating the newsletter cannot find enough ideas or topics that are interesting. They put out a flat newsletter filled with facts and prose that puts the reader to sleep.
In order to create great content, you will need great ideas. Use the list below as a starting point and try different combinations of each in your newsletter.
Use funny photographs instead of old ones of ancestors long gone by. Both have their place but fresh new pictures of kids doing something funny is always engaging and ripe for further conversation.
Post family videos on your family reunion website and provide a link (Email) or the actual URL if you are sending out a physical newsletter. the videos can be of any topics so long as they don’t embarrass any one family member. try to post funny videos, or ones that show recent accomplishments like graduations, birthday parties etc.
As you get more videos, you can continue posting them on the family reunion website and have an archive that can be accessed by everyone. The videos will provide a visual history of the family as it grows.
List a bunch of interesting facts about different people in the family without actually naming the person. Have family members guests as to which one matches home. Post the answers in the following issue so that people have something to look forward to.
Talk about recent achievements that have occurred. Recent business ventures, job promotions, or even a recital by your eight year old niece. Any subject that will put a smile on people’s faces is ripe to be mentioned.
If you are not aware of family history then get to know it well. talk to relatives who know your family’s history in great detail and take some notes. When looking for information about your family’s history, don’t go with vague questions. Focus on a single ancestor and ask specific questions about their education, occupation and any funny stories that the relative may be aware of. By asking specific questions, you will get very detailed historical information that you can use in the family newsletter.
Birthday’s, Anniversaries, Etc.
Towards the end of the year, include a birthday section in your newsletter. Every family member’s birthday should be mentioned along with contact information. This issue will be the one that most people stick to their refrigerators as it will provide a constant reminder of upcoming birthdays in the entire family.
Family Reunion Updates
A family newsletter is a great way to provide updates on upcoming family reunion information. You can use a section of the newsletter to bring people up to date on things like hotel room block information.
In our newsletter, we always had a standard family reunion update on the first page of every newsletter to serve as a reminder and also reflect its importance to everyone.
Letter From Family Reunion Chairperson
When announcing the family reunion, have the family reunion chairperson write a letter addressing the family.
Highlights From The Last Family Reunion
Another great topic of much interest is a recap of the previous reunion. Once your family reunion is done, make sure the next newsletter includes a well-written recap of the events. Include lots of pictures and links to videos on YouTube. This will not only delight those who were there, it will also help catch up the folks that couldn’t make it.
Family Recipes And Cookbooks
You’d be surprised at how many good cooks there are in your own family. Many will gladly hand over their most treasured recipes to share with the rest of the family if only you asked.
Recap Of Past Reunion
The very next newsletter after a family reunion should be filled with a recap along with pictures and links to videos. doing so will bring everyone who couldn’t attend up-to-date. It will also provide a good historical document for future family reunions.
Another option to include in the newsletter is a family tree. You may want to use family tree software or a spreadsheet to create this section. Simply insert the names of each family member starting with the heads of the family and moving downward. Be sure to include spouses and children for each branch of the tree.
Get To Know Your Family Profile
Post a new profile of one family in every issue. Include their occupations, hobbies, interests and a family picture. For relative that haven’t seen each other in a while, this would be a conversation starter.
While the ideas above sound great, we know what your next question is?
But Where Do I Get All This Information From?
Having great ideas is not enough to create a great family newsletter. You also need information from the family. On a quarterly basis send out a request for information e-mail with very specific questions.
Here are some sample questions:
- Are there any recent changes in your family that you would want to announce (pregnancies etc.)
- Has there been any new job promotions or career changes?
- Where did you last vacation and can you send us pictures that we can share?
- Have you had any recent purchases like a house or boat or even a houseboat?
- Are there any funny instances that you want to share with your family? anything that would make others in the family laugh out loud?
- Can you send us your most recent family picture along with names and ages.
- Would like to share any new recipes with the rest of the family?
Producing a newsletter for your family is a great way to keep everyone up to date on the latest news. Follow the content guidelines and ideas above and you will great great masterpieces that won’t ever see the bottom of any trash can.
What should you do next?
Since you’re planning a family reunion, take a look at our family reunion planning guide.
Image Credit: Interspire