HOAs need to keep their homeowners and tenants up to speed about events and happenings in the community, and a newsletter is an excellent way to do that. Newsletters can inform, engage, and publicize and can build energy around initiatives and shared interests.
If your HOA doesn’t have a newsletter and you don’t know where to start, we’ve got some tips on creating one that actually gets read – and a template to get you started. If you already have a newsletter, keep reading! These pointers are designed with HOAs in mind and will help you craft a relevant and topical newsletter that people will love to receive.
14 Top Tips for Creating a HOA Newsletter with Impact
Newsletters should accomplish two things: inform and engage. HOAs always have information they need to share with the community, whether it’s about upcoming maintenance, upgrades, or a decision made at the last board meeting. Aside from day-to-day news like that, it’s always good to add articles and items that interest your residents, as that will keep them coming back for more.
1. Write valuable content
Newsletters are for sharing relevant news items – in other words, things your community needs or wants to know. Keeping your content topical and focused is the best way to ensure readers stay engaged and will open your newsletter when it arrives in their inbox.
2. Profile community members
Shine the spotlight on people in your community doing exciting or noteworthy things. This could mean anything from winning an award, a milestone birthday, or profiling an individual who has an interesting story. People love learning about their neighbors, and a mention in the newsletter will surely spark a conversation or two!
3. Write about topics of interest
Activities like gardening, grilling, hobbies, or home improvement are always good attention-getters. Post a monthly recipe, DIY how-to, or health information – what you choose should be informed by your community and their interests.
4. Tip sheets and checklists
Seasonal activities like vehicle maintenance, holiday checklists, back-to-school, or moving and organizing tips are valuable checklists you can publish in your newsletter. Make each tip sheet a full page so people can print and post them on the fridge. The more value you bring to the community, the more eagerly your newsletter will be anticipated!
5. Publicize upcoming events
List events happening in the community and around the neighborhood to help people plan activities and get involved. Encourage members to submit their event for publication and research what’s happening nearby to provide people with a go-to event calendar each month.
6. Talk about past events
Provide some editorial on past events. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy article; a paragraph is usually enough to review highlights and how much fun was had by all. Holiday picnics, charity events, fun runs – if your people participated, let them know you were paying attention!
7. Celebrate milestones
Business launches, birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, graduations, births, and deaths are all important parts of life. Commemorate milestone events in your newsletter with a photograph and a few words about the person or business in the spotlight.
8. Post surveys
There’s no better way to gauge the temperature of your community for certain decisions than by asking them directly. Digital newsletters enable you to link to a survey or embed it directly into the newsletter. People love to weigh in, and it’s a great way to understand how people feel about topics and events.
9. Run contests
Engage your members with periodic contests. It could be anything from a trivia question to a puzzle, a photo contest, best garden – you know your people best. Choose a fun, lighthearted topic and offer prizes like gift certificates to local businesses. You could even trade ad space in your newsletter for goods to give away.
10. Include high-quality photos
Be sure your photos are of the best possible quality and are optimized for fast viewing in a web browser. Whether you take the pictures yourself or ask your members to submit them, establish a baseline for quality to ensure a consistent, high-quality look and feel.
11. Advertise judiciously
By judiciously, we mean choosing well and not going overboard. Having paid advertising is a great way to offset the costs of creating a newsletter and could also put money into the reserve. But be sure it’s relevant to the readership. Try to stick to local businesses or companies that provide services beneficial to your community.
12. Solicit content from community members
Every community has a few writers among them. Whether they are professional or just love to write, working with them to create content will reduce your workload and engage them in community-minded activities. They’ll love to see their words in print and will no doubt encourage others to read them, too.
13. Make the newsletter accessible
Not every resident will want to read their newsletter online. Many still prefer to read newspapers and have a physical copy. Providing both options ensures nobody is left out. Send digital copies by email and print several that can be picked up in common areas.
14. Brand your newsletter and keep the format consistent
Using a template for your HOA newsletter enables consistency and gives your readers a sense of comfort as they’ll know where to find the content they most want to read. For example, perhaps you post your recipes on the back page, HOA board announcements on page two, and a nice splashy feature on page one. Ads and listings can go towards the back, like the classifieds. Plus, your template will help you format stories and news more quickly, as you’ll know precisely how much space you have for an item and where it will go.
On that note, choosing a newsletter template that’s easy to work with is essential. Think about the software you use and choose one that’s compatible. For example, if you’re using Microsoft Word, there are built-in templates you can choose from the file menu. Just select “new from template” from the drop-down and pick your design.
Adobe In-Design or Adobe Express are also excellent for creating newsletters, and you’ll find hundreds of pre-built templates just by doing a Google search. We recommend Adobe Express as it’s free, has drag-and-drop functionality, and does not require downloading any software.
Here are a couple of pages to get you started:
For more tips and insights on creating community in your HOA, connect with us today.