Three Ways to Combat the 30-3-30 Rule

Recently I presented the workshop “Creating Newsletters People Actually Read” at the Church & Change Conference in Milwaukee. Apparently, this topic interests many because the turnout was great and we had interesting discussions.

One point I made is the “30-3-30 Rule.” This theory says there are three kinds of readers: 30-second readers, 3-minute readers and 30-minute readers. Unfortunately, 30-second readers make up 80 percent of the average newsletter audience.

Certainly this percentage necessitates greater efforts in good design and concise writing. But inventive editors have come up with other ideas, as well. I researched and found a few.

Write Creative Headlines
Advertising authority David Oglivy knew the importance of a good headline.
In his book Confessions of an Advertising Man, he offers four proven headline types; the How To, the Question, the Top 10 Reasons, and the Testimonial.

Challenge Readers
When I was a kid, I would scour issues of Highlights Magazine, searching for the hidden images. Some newsletters create the same challenge by “hiding” a member’s name (or other identifying information) in the text of the newsletter. The first member to spot it and call the office, wins a prize. What a fun way to hook young and old readers alike.

Feature New Members
People are naturally interested in other people. Particularly new people. Introduce new members in your newsletter, together with a nice snapshot. It immediately gets newcomers involved in the newsletter and also is a great way for members to get to know them.

Pass Along Ideas
What’s proven successful for your church newsletter?
Please share!


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