Have you ever been caught in a situation where you had to create and post an obituary but didn’t know how to go about it? This article may help you with the sudden need to post and circulate obituaries in the most noticeable and accessible manner for its intended audience.
An obituary is a humble way of announcing a loved one’s passing, be it family or friend. This is an important piece of information as there are hardly a few methods to announce anyone’s sudden passing at such a dire state of affair. Most people would still be dazed and confused, and posting an obituary is the easiest and least invasive method to convey the news to the world.
You can post an obituary online or submit an obituary to a local or national newspaper based on the intended recipients. This article will take you through the basics of how to post an obituary. Read on to find out more about the platforms on which you can publish an obituary and how to submit an obituary based on your preferences. Newspaper and newspaper websites are among the most common methods, and this article will discuss those in detail.
Funeral homes can be of great help at these times as they also handle posting an obituary online or submit an obituary to the local newspapers. This can simplify your task, especially if you are new to the process. Contacting the funeral director can help in setting up this process. If you are still choosing to post one by yourself, read on for the details.
Where can I post an Obituary?
You may choose one or many of the following platforms to post obituaries based on the intended audience of your obituary:
- Local or National Newspapers
- Obituary Websites
- Cremation or Funeral Home Websites
- Church Publications
- Church Websites
- Social Media or Personal Blog
- Community newsletters
Posting an Obituary in the Newspaper
For someone who needs to submit an obituary in the newspaper, it is essential to know the format and content required for writing the same. An obituary in the newspaper has the following content:
- Full name of the deceased or a nickname that he/she went by
- Date and location of their birth and death
- Date of the wedding along with location, if applicable
- Cause of death if required
- Place of employment
- Military and national service if applicable
- Name of Spouse
- Membership in any organization if applicable
- Succeeding family members like parents, children, siblings, etc.
- Family members who preceded in death
- Burial and Memorial announcement
- Details of contact for information
- Details of donations or wishes or flowers to be sent to
- Burial and memorial hosts information
- Personal message by family/hosts if any
With regards to obituaries posted in the newspapers, the payment depends on the word count or the amount of space allotted to each obituary. Some newspapers may not charge, but this is quite rare, and most newspapers charge a nominal fee.
Obituaries must be submitted well in advance before the funeral or the memorial service so that there is enough notice for the publication and the audience to receive the information via the newspaper. Some newspapers may also ask for additional documents such as death certificates. If you are creating or hosting a funeral through a funeral home, the funeral home’s details may suffice. But in most cases, the newspapers may need additional information to verify the content before being published.
Steps for Posting an Obituary in a Newspaper
1. Make a list of the newspapers to publish the obituary in
The first and foremost thing would be to choose the local or national newspapers that you would like to publish the obituary in. This requires careful selection of the state and local areas that the deceased may have spent most of their time in, such as school, college, jobs, retirement, services, etc. If the loved one has moved frequently, then it is better to choose a national newspaper.
The newspaper chosen can also depend on the friends and distant family locations where they reside. If you have less contact with such people and wish to announce the loved one’s passing but do not know how to contact them, a newspaper obituary is the best method to reach such an audience. For a list of newspapers in your area, you can visit the Legacy.com website. This website has a death notice section and categories for various newspapers and their links. The website also helps you to write an obituary that fits the newspaper’s format specifically.
2. Researching the facts
To post an obituary in the newspaper, you can dig the newspaper’s website. You should be able to post one under the Obituaries tab on the website. The option usually has a format or asks for you to submit a written form of the obituary. You can dig through the website for the specific format and the form that needs filling out in accordance with the publication of the obituary. If you do not find the relevant information online, you can always call the Obituary Editor. The contact information is also usually present on the website.
Things you must find out before posting the obituary is listed below:
- The cost of the publication of the obituary
- The format of cost calculation for the publication of the obituary
- What are considered as characters, such as spaces or blanks, and if they are, whether you are charged for it or not
- If you can include photographs, and if so, are they chargeable or not
- The specific format that needs to be followed
- Death certificate or Funeral home certificate requirement, if any.
- The deadline for submission of the said obituary
- Method of submission, postal, personal or email or website, etc.
- Format of the file that needs to be submitted
- Any validation that needs to be filled or submitted along with the obituary
Submitting the wrong information or the incorrect format can lead to unintended loss of time and hamper the funeral announcement’s smooth delivery. Therefore making sure that you have all the correct information at hand before making the obituary and posting it is very important.
You must always compare the details from various newspapers and choose the easiest and most cost-effective process. But make sure to start this process well in advance so that you still have enough time to do the research and send the obituary.
3. Comparing costs between various newspapers
Once you receive the quotes, make sure to compare the process for posting an obituary and the prices for the same. The amount of money and the processing time is important, and therefore keep that in mind while choosing the best newspaper for posting an obituary.
4. Proofread the obituary before submission
Once done writing, make sure to proofread the obituary with the rest of the family. Ensure the personal details are all correct and the spelling of the family name and relative names are all accurate.
Also, make sure that you do not mention birthdays, residential addresses, or mothers’ maiden names, which may lead to identity theft. If you find errors, rewrite the obituary while keeping the deadline in mind.
5. Submitting the Obituary to the newspaper editor
The final step is to print out the final draft and post this to the editor of the selected newspaper’s obituaries column. Make sure to hand this over well within your deadline to minimize any errors or delays in receiving and eventually publishing the obituary.
Pricing details for posting obituaries in the newspaper
Once your obituary is ready, make sure that you have chosen the right newspaper that you need to send it to. After carefully selecting the newspaper based on the location, you must be ready with the fees that they need to pay to the newspaper for posting the obituary. Now, most newspapers charge you per line, which is roughly 50 to 60 characters per line, but some other newspapers might not charge at all. Some newspapers do obituaries for free as part of their community outreach program.
Other newspapers charge per area of the column occupied. A said measurement of space may cost you a specific amount of money. You might need to pay extra for exceeding the space if the obituary is longer. Photographs usually cost extra, but some newspapers consider them part of the package. Make sure to have this information at hand.
Before turning in the obituary, make sure everything is in the right format. You must print out hard copies in A4 sheets, and if you are emailing the soft-copies straight to the editor, you should send them by noon. Find out the last hour for submission and send well within this time. Make sure the photograph is also printed out and sent across. If you are sending it online, make sure the photograph’s format is known beforehand to avoid confusion.
Local newspapers are always cheaper than national newspapers. There is a considerable difference in prices between the newspapers in the city and the ones in smaller towns in local newspapers. The local newspapers in the small towns are much cheaper to publish an obituary in, and sometimes they are even free.
Before sending out the obituary, make sure to include the following details of the sender as well:
- Name of the sender
- Phone number of the sender
- Address of the sender
- The obituary that needs publishing
- The photo that needs to be included
- Name of the funeral or cremation home taking care of the arrangements
- Contact details of the funeral home or the cremation home
- Certificates from the institutions, if applicable.
- The date for which the obituary needs to be published on
- The date and location of the funeral or the memorial service
The obituary editor would probably contact the sender for payment before the obituary is finalized and published in the newspaper.
Advantages of Printed Obituaries in Newspapers
A printed obituary is a traditional method of announcing the passing on of a loved family member or a friend. Many people rely on the newspaper to learn about the death notices of someone they used to be friends with or are related to. It is an age-old tradition and is irreplaceable by the older generation.
For those in their elder years, newspapers are their source of all information, and switching over to anything else may not be easy. Such people will always rely on finding out about the deceased in the newspapers. The newspapers are sometimes preserved in scrapbooks or diaries to cherish the memory of a loved one. A heartfelt obituary can be preserved by a family member for years together.
Unlike other media, newspapers are tangible and are available anytime in local libraries. You may use them for genealogy study and family history purposes as well. Newspaper obituaries are more emotional and sentimental and hold more value for most people.
Another main advantage is that the newspaper obituary is not open to comments, critics, or unwanted discussions, which may hurt the deceased’s family and friends, unlike the other media platforms.
Posting an Obituary Online
Posting an obituary online is a result of one of the recent advances in lifestyle and technology. An obituary published online can help save a lot of money as it is much cheaper and stays a long time on the internet than print media, which tends to get lost after a few days or months. Online obituaries are very cost and time efficient and remain for public access at any point in time. Anyone can look up online obituaries at any time, unlike newspaper obituaries that are only available in certain places.
Steps to posting obituary online
The method of posting an obituary online is quite different from print media. Below are the steps to follow:
- Choose an online forum to post your obituary.
The first and foremost step is to identify the online platforms or forums where you may post obituaries. The main thing to keep in mind here is that this online forum or platform must be easily accessible and more frequently viewed by most of your intended target group or audience. The online forum’s reach is the most important factor; otherwise, there is no purpose behind posting obituaries because it does not reach people. Some important forums that you can publish an obituary are:
- The website of the funeral or cremation home
- Online newspapers
- Online newsletters circulated in communities
- Local religious/social newsletters
- Church group forum or website
- Online obituary websites
- Social Media of the deceased and the senders
- Message boards or groups
1. As part of the funeral home or cremation home facilities
Many funeral homes or crematoriums advertise the deceased’s funeral to make the news reach the maximum number of people. They do this, intending to create awareness of the passing of the deceased loved one. Funeral homes may have private message boards or even publish on their website as well. This may get the message through to most of the local audience.
2. Enquiring the cost of the obituary
The most important part is to enquire about the cost of posting an obituary. Most funeral homes and crematoriums do this as a part of their package. Still, some forums such as newspaper websites and newsletters may charge a price for posting an obituary through their online portal.
3. The procedure of posting the obituary
Many forums have a specific format to follow while posting an obituary. Ask the editor or the website manager for the requirements and the format of the obituary before writing the obituary and posting it online.
4. Submit obituary to the website
The final step is to submit the obituary to the website or the content manager of the website. Make sure your obituary is in the right format before submitting it. Make sure to include all the necessary details as required by the format. Include photographs in the proper format. Submit the obituary a few days before the funeral or memorial service to ensure the message gets through to all the intended recipients in time.
Advantages of Posting an Obituary Online
Online Obituaries last forever on the internet, and anyone anywhere around the world can look them up. There is no fear of losing the published material, and so it will always remain safe. Most youngsters are now using online forums to post and know about obituaries; therefore, it is easier to spread the information online than via newspaper.
Newspaper obituaries can be easily misplaced or missed out, but anyone who comes across an online obituary would definitely register the information upon seeing the notice of death. Most importantly, online obituaries are very cheap and sometimes free and therefore saves a lot of money and hassle for the obituary’s sender.
Online obituaries are very creative and can be custom-made, unlike the black and white limitation of newspapers. These obituaries are very interactive, and loved ones can use them for sharing stories about the deceased amongst other friends and family who receive this information online. You may also customize these obituaries to reflect the taste, personality, and aura of their deceased loved one. The obituary can be shared among various social media platforms as well, improving the range and the audience of the obituary posted online.
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