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And, it may seem obvious, but if you send out a text email newsletter, separate paragraphs with double returns. Don’t try to use tabs or spaces to set off a new paragraph - in many cases formatting will go astray and your readers won’t know you’re starting a new paragraph.
If your original document doesn’t use double returns, you can change it over quickly and easily, using our old friend, Find & Replace function in your word processing program. Put one return symbol in Find field, two in Replace field, and hit Change All (or whatever your program uses for these terms).
One thing you can generally ignore is font or typeface (unless, as noted you’re setting line lengths). Many readers will set their email programs to display all text messages in a font of their choosing, and likely won’t see font you use anyway.
After drafting your newsletter, email a copy to yourself before sending it to your list. Even better, send it from one program and receive it with another. If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised at problems that pop out when you do this. Not only content, but also formatting and links may look different, and you’ll likely find errors that were not at all obvious in original version.
While we’re on this subject, don’t forget to test links you place. Click on each one to make sure it takes you where you want it to send your readers.
Summing up, be conscious of your formatting techniques when you create a text newsletter. A little bit of extra attention will keep text itself from getting in way of your message.
Robert F. Abbott, the author of A Manager’s Guide to Newsletters: Communicating for Results, writes and publishes Abbott’s Communication Letter. Read more articles about Internet communication, as well as email and printed newsletters at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com/ic.html