E-Newsletter Layout: Add White Space to Improve Readability
White space in newsletters is like pausing in conversation. Take a breath now and then to avoid overwhelming the reader.
It's tempting to pack a business e-newsletter tight with content. After all, goes the rationale, the piece appears more substantial, more authoritative.
However, in the audio book, "Sound Advice on Publishing E-Newsletters," author Michael Katz says that laying out text in big, chunky paragraphs creates an obstacle to effective communications.
Katz relates a recent experience with newsletters written by a professional services company. "What they had in place was actually pretty good - professional design, good content - and yet something was wrong." The newsletters were difficult to read because the great content was too dense.
Katz sites three important reasons for inserting frequent paragraph breaks to increase white space.
First, it's hard to read on screen. "By breaking up newsletter paragraphs into little pieces, you make it easier for your readers to get through the material.
Second, people like to skim. "Studies of online habits," says Katz, "show that people jump around. Shorter paragraphs help readers pick out things of interest to them."
Third, white space makes the text feel more conversational. "Think about the way dialogue in a book is laid out on a printed page. Lots of short, one or two sentence paragraphs. When your e-newsletter writing uses this same approach, it has a much more personal rhythm to it."