I’m not a fan of church bulletins. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I picked one up. I don’t read the bulletin. That’s scary coming from someone who works for the church. If I don’t read the bulletin, what makes you think that anyone else does?
I think a lot of people pick up the bulletin on their way out of church because of their sense of obligation. Most churches have someone handing out the bulletin at the door as people exit. They don’t want to seem rude, so they take the bulletin home with them.
How do you get people to actually read the bulletin?
I am not a professional bulletin creator, but I can tell you from my own experience that these are the things that you can do to make me more likely to read the bulletin. I propose 7 ideas:
- Use color. I can understand why churches don’t print color bulletins. They are expensive to print! But I’m tired of reading gray scale bulletins. There’s nothing exciting about gray scale that jumps out at me and says, “read me, read me!”
- Use more graphics. No, I’m not talking about clip art. Actual pictures make a big difference. The images you use in your bulletin attract the eyes of your reader. The more appealing the images, the more likely someone is to read the bulletin. And ditch the clip art.
- Use less words. For better or worse, we live in a culture of bite-sized nuggets of information. People want the information to pop out at them. Most bulletins look like heavy novels. Use your words to get to the point. State the point clearly and obviously. Don’t write more words just to fill space.
- Use bullet points. People like to read bullet points. It looks like a list. It’s easily scannable and people can read it quickly. Their eyes are drawn to bullet points.
- Use bold and italics wisely. Just like bullet points, bolded and italicized statements draw the reader in. It gives the reader something to focus on. Bold and italicize key facts or statements. When the reader focuses in on these statements and they find it interesting, they are more likely to read the entire article or bulletin. But don’t overdo it!
- Create Attention-Grabbing Headlines. This is all about your article titles. Use headlines that grab immediate attention that is important to the reader. Don’t title an article, ”Religious Education Registration.” Try something like, “3 Reasons to Register Your Child in Religious Education Today.” Not only does this title let people know that registration is happening, but it gives people reasons why they should register their child for the program. Not only will the read the article, but they will likely register their child, too! That’s the point of letting people know registration is open.
- Don’t put contact information and mass times on the front page of the bulletin. When I see the phone number for the pastor on the front page, I’m not encouraged to read the bulletin. The front page should be used for an attention grabbing article, not mundane information that never changes week in and week out.
Question: What would you like to see improved in your churches bulletin?