There are so many things to be thankful for this holiday weekend. One thing I’m grateful for is to live in a city where we have numerous dance companies and the arts are thriving. Oregon Ballet Theatre is not only Portland’s pre-eminent ballet touring company and school, they also put out a heck of a newsletter, and it’s one that dance studio owners can take a few good points from.
Here are 6 tips for creating a studio newsletter (that people will actually read):
- Think about your audience –
Who is most likely to read your studio newsletter? Who would you like to read your newsletter? Are these the same people? If your newsletter is just for dance parents and adult students, your content should reflect that, but if you’d like to get the whole family involved, you can add a fun dance quiz or game for kids or interesting dance facts that would appeal to a younger set.
- Decide on content –
Include several topics and sections to make your dance studio’s newsletter more interesting for all readers. Besides notices regarding rehearsal schedules, the need for volunteers, and the date when costume deposits are due, congratulate those who have a birthday or have recently accomplished something. Let readers know about what’s going on in the dance world on a national level (ie: “National Dance Day is this Saturday”) and on the local level (ie. “renovations of a local performance hall are coming along nicely”).
- Make it a fun teaching tool –
Oregon Ballet Theatre’s newsletter includes items to expand upon a dancer’s knowledge of the history, techniques, and famous figures of the dance world. They’ll include a biography of George Balanchine, for example, or explain “port de bras” and how dancers use their arm movements to convey emotion. They do it in a fun, breezy style that makes people want to read more. You can easily do this too in your studio’s newsletter. A nice bonus is that you will be viewed as even more of a dance expert!
- Research your information –
Chances are good that some of your dance knowledge was learned quite early (which is fantastic), but when sharing this knowledge with others in newsletter form, do make sure to double check the facts. When you do your research, you won’t fall prey to common misconceptions passed down to you through dance instructors ‘back in the day’, or dance term misspellings that may have slipped through the cracks. You can breathe easy knowing you’ve done your due diligence.
- Make it readable!
Using short, clear, and easy-to-understand language will improve the readability of your studio’s newsletter. Although newsletters can be a wonderful tool with which to teach students and parents about dance topics, do avoid overly technical language, as people will quickly lose interest. Keep sentences short and use bullets where appropriate. On the OBT newsletter, they use short, punchy ‘teasers’ on each topic they’re writing about. When you click to read more, you are taken to their WordPress blog site and the full article(s). Although having an accompanying blog would be overkill for most studios, the user friendly format is good to keep in mind.
- Proofread before sending –
You’ve written a fantastic newsletter, and (if you’re like me) it’s taken longer than you expected. You want to send it out immediately, but before you do… proof it! Already proofed it? Do it again! For good measure, have your office manager and/or front desk person proof it, too. Don’t let spelling or grammatical errors mar an otherwise lovely newsletter.
Take a look at this issue of OBT’s newsletter (I’m quite sure they won’t mind), and consider how they fare in each of the 6 points above. Note what works and doesn’t work, in your mind. And then see if you can utilize one or more tips in your studio’s own newsletter!