How to Create a Newsletter for Your Facility: Step-by-Step Guide

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Written by Alexa Davidson, MSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Kayla Tyson Editor, B2C Content, IntelyCare
A nurse at her computer, figuring out how to create a newsletter for her facility.

Your healthcare organization is dedicated to preparing your community with the necessary resources to live healthy lives and access the care they need. It’s essential to deliver high-quality care when patients are ill — but what happens when they leave your medical facilities? It’s just as important to nurture relationships with past and prospective clients as they make decisions about their ongoing health needs.

If you’re searching for a way to foster these relationships and increase patient engagement, you should learn how to create a newsletter.

While the need for medical services is holding steady, research has shown that marketing is a beneficial tool for healthcare organizations. A solid marketing strategy can make you more competitive, build a positive reputation, and build patients’ trust, promoting a positive experience at your facility or residence.

There are several marketing strategies that your facility can put to use, such as crafting an engaging website, generating positive news through press releases, and managing your facility’s online reviews. If you want to regularly communicate with your audience, a newsletter is a great addition to your marketing plan.

Below, we’ll explore how to create an email newsletter by sharing some key considerations in the planning process. Then, we’ll share some tips for creating newsletters using online tools.

How to Create a Newsletter Strategy

Newsletters are a powerful branding tool that can serve a number of purposes: building awareness of your offerings, advertising new services, building community, establishing credibility, and expanding your audience. Some say that email newsletters are obsolete in the age of social media, yet this cost-effective strategy allows an organization to deliver quality content right to email subscribers’ inboxes on a consistent basis — something social media sites can’t do.

There’s a lot to consider when starting a new marketing strategy, especially when you’re seeking to earn patients’ trust at a healthcare organization. When you master the art of providing value to patients wherever they are on a health journey — without sounding pushy or salesy — you’re met with a loyal client base eager to learn more. Use the following questions as a guide as you formulate your newsletter plan.

Why Are You Creating a Newsletter?

Before getting into the details of how to create a newsletter, you’ll need to clearly define your organization’s goals. Ideally, the newsletter should be a part of a larger marketing plan. Discuss these questions with your team:

  • What do you hope to accomplish with the newsletter?
  • Do you want to grow a larger audience, promote new services, or something else?
  • How does the newsletter fit into your organization’s broader marketing strategy?

For example, let’s say your organization wants to get the word out about its new senior wellness center, which features aquatics training, group fitness, and free educational classes. Your team creates a newsletter with rotating themes that guide the content topics (like heart health to promote American Heart Month in February). You strategically advertise to individuals who’d benefit from the wellness center services, such as graduates of the hospital’s cardiac rehab program.

Who Will Receive the Newsletter?

Next, you’ll need to compile the list of email addresses that will receive the newsletter. This is often referred to as a mailing list database — an organized digital file containing all contacts. You might want to explore how to create a newsletter in Gmail for a simple way to group your newsletter recipients. Refer to the following questions as you create your mailing list:

  • Where does your facility keep their patient emails?
  • Do you need to convert any physical files into digital form?
  • How can you best organize the emails in your database into subcategories?

The list can be built using emails from past or current patients who’ve already shared their email addresses, such as during signup for an online patient portal. Another potential reader is a health consumer shopping around for care on your website. Grab their interest by giving them an opportunity to opt-in to an email list somewhere on your website. Here are some ideas for valuable items to share in exchange for their email:

  • A health quiz
  • Access to a study or article
  • A “free newsletter” sign-up

What Will the Newsletter Include?

One of the most important aspects of learning how to create a newsletter is determining what content you plan to focus on in your newsletter. Consider the overall goals and your intended audience, and determine what information would most likely be useful and compelling to them. It may be helpful to review email newsletter templates to see what types of newsletters would best meet your organization’s needs. As you do, use these questions as a resource:

  • What specific audience(s) are you targeting with your messaging?
  • What information would you like them to know?
  • What call to action (CTA) will you include so readers can take next steps?

The tone and style of your newsletter should be consistent with the educational material your organization provides. If you aim for a sixth-grade reading level in printed or digital patient education, do the same in the newsletter. Keep your readers engaged by choosing informative topics while avoiding complicated clinical language. Here are more tips for what to include in a newsletter:

  • Patient success stories
  • A staff member or provider-of-the-month feature
  • Quotes from providers to support health information
  • Practical examples of health and wellness tips, such as healthy recipes
  • The latest wins at your organization, such as breakthroughs in research

Here’s an example of how to create a newsletter based on patient-centered goals:

A hospital sets a goal of decreasing readmissions for chronic lung disease patients. The newsletter team centers the November issue around Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. Readers get education on the prevention, detection, and treatment of COPD and hear from a tracheostomy patient who was successfully weaned off oxygen. Thanks to a strategically placed call-to-action in the newsletter, there’s an increase in attendance to the hospital’s smoking cessation program the following month.

When Will You Send the Newsletter?

You’ll then want to choose the frequency of your newsletters. It’s a good idea to set a consistent schedule to build your brand’s reliability and get the word out. Make sure to communicate the schedule with your team to provide ample time for each part of the newsletter to be completed. These considerations can guide you as you plan:

  • What bandwidth does your team have to create the newsletter?
  • What newsletter frequency would match the amount of content you have to share?
  • Who will be responsible for managing the newsletter schedule?

Reminder: Federal laws outline regulations for commercial emails. Make sure to review guidelines such as offering the option to opt out of communications and being up-front about your messaging.

How to Create a Newsletter Online With Different Platforms

Once you’ve determined your messaging, sorted out your email list, and decided on frequency, you’re ready to tackle the “how” — creating your newsletter. There are several options for creating professional newsletters online and sending them yourself. Many email marketing platforms offer newsletter templates to help you get started. From there, you can leverage automation to engage and grow your audience by letting a platform send the newsletter for you. Here’s how to navigate some of the top budget-friendly platforms to create an informative newsletter.

Creating a Newsletter in Google Docs

  1. Navigate to Google Drive and select “New.”
  2. In the Google Doc dropdown, click “From a template” and select a newsletter option.
  3. Add customization to the template.
  4. Download the finished newsletter in your preferred format (PDF, web page, etc.).

Creating a Newsletter in Photoshop

  1. Open a blank document or select from a selection of newsletter templates.
  2. Customize the content to your organization’s needs.
  3. Save and download your completed newsletter in a variety of formats.
  4. Edit and revise as needed.

Creating a Newsletter in Canva

  1. Create a Canva account and sign in.
  2. Search for “Newsletter” in their template library.
  3. Select the template that best aligns with your branding and customize your design.
  4. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen and select “Share.”

How to Create a Newsletter in 5 Steps

Now that you’ve selected a platform to design your newsletter, it’s time to strategize on how it will reach your intended readers. Follow the tips below to plan, execute, and measure the success of a newsletter as part of your healthcare marketing campaign.

1. Create an Email Subscription Form

Before sending out a newsletter, your organization should have an email list database with potential readers. If it’s not a huge list to start, that’s okay. Many email marketing tools work for you by automatically building lists as people share their email addresses on your opt-in of choice.

2. Create a Newsletter Campaign

The next step is strategizing what happens after you collect someone’s email address. Decide the frequency, timing, and recipients of the newsletter — and how you’ll use automation to make it happen.

Newsletters can be incorporated into email marketing campaigns, or a series of emails sent after a subscriber signs up. An email campaign sequence typically starts with a welcome email followed by other informative or promotional content. It’s up to your team to decide how often you’d like to show up in a reader’s inbox — whether it’s one, three, or five times a week is up to you.

3. Compile Your Newsletter

By now, you should have an outline of the newsletter content. Sticking to a central theme will help the content flow and keep the reader engaged. If you get writer’s block, remember it’s okay to recycle content from your other online resources like a blog or research article. When the content is ready, compile everything into a visually appealing newsletter design from your desired platform.

4. Send Your Newsletter

Before sending your newsletter out, use your email marketing software to send a test email to yourself or another team member. This is a quick way to check for broken links, typos, or other errors. Using the plan you created for your email marketing strategy, begin sending the newsletter to your recipients. Don’t forget to provide an “unsubscribe” option for those who’d like to opt-out.

5. Measure Success

A newsletter can drive traffic to your organization’s website, blogs, or other online content. Tracking analytics helps you see how engaged your readers are with the information you’re sharing. It can also help you modify your approach to bring more traffic to your site.

You can check how well the newsletter is performing by looking at key performance indicators to measure engagement such as:

  • Click-through rates: The percentage of links people clicked on compared to the number you embedded throughout the newsletter
  • Open rates: How many people are opening your newsletter compared to how many are sent out
  • Bounce rate: The number of emails that are rejected by a recipient’s server
  • Unsubscribes: How many people no longer wish to be on your email list

Want to Learn More About Healthcare Marketing?

Engaging patients in online content is a strategic way for healthcare organizations to build trust and awareness. Now that you’ve learned how to create a newsletter, find more ways to support your community when you sign up for IntelyCare’s free newsletter.