If you spend any amount of time either working on or reading the newsletters of financial institutions, you’ve probably come to a singular conclusion — most are about as interesting as watching paint dry.

Actually, if it was a nice light pastel, I’d rather watch paint dry most of the time.

Here we’re talking mostly about bank and credit union newsletters. After many years of both writing, producing and reading them as a consumer, I can verify that the vast majority are just plain boring.

Yes, they contain information consumers must have. This includes things like disclosures, upcoming business and new product and service announcements.

But holy cow – many financial institutions basically reprint the same newsletter every quarter, and just slap a new date on the cover. Inside, you’ll get the same old spiel — here’s our exciting new used auto refi loan promotion, here are the required annual ATM safety tips, here is the annual call for candidates for the Board of Directors, ad nauseum.

It’s no wonder fewer and fewer consumers actually take the time to read these things. And any information that you might really want to get across to them is drowned by the sea of anticipated boredom.

To help bring new content ideas into your boring newsletter, consider the following ideas.

  • Write about your consumers. People love to read about themselves. Therefore, make every effort to include consumers, their pictures and their stories in your newsletter. This could include things like people celebrating milestone anniversaries with your financial institution, their kids with awards and sporting achievements, etc. Get more of your consumers in print and they are more likely to read your content.
  • Drop the dry and boring financial talk. Yes, sometimes it’s necessary to get the point across about a particular product or service. However, here we’re talking about your vernacular. The vast majority of your consumers are not suit-and-tie financial institution stuff-shirts. Write to people in a language and a tone with which they are comfortable. This doesn’t mean that you dumb-down your language – rather, it means that you choose your words and your tone in such a way that it meets your consumers in their comfort zones.
  • Stop trying to constantly sell something. This is really going to drive your VPs crazy. The simple fact of the matter is, however, people hate to be sold (although they love to buy). Therefore, try to keep your newsletter to a roughly 80/20 principle. That is, 80% of your newsletter should be educational/entertaining and about 20% should be soft-pitch sales.
  • Don’t write about yourself. Your consumers simply do not care about the internal workings of your bank or credit union. I hate to tell you that, but it’s the truth. Unless it directly affects them and their relationship with your financial institution, they just don’t care. They want your doors open at 9 AM, short teller lines and decent rates. Other than that, they just don’t care. So don’t write about it.

Tedious. Dull. Monotonous. Repetitive. If any of these words come to mind when you or your consumers think about your financial institution newsletter, consider a few of the ideas listed above to help improve your newsletter.