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Working with the Plone Email Newsletter Template

The AgSci Plone environment allows you to easily create and distribute newsletter digests of your news via email.
Example of an email newsletter

Example of an email newsletter

The Plone Newsletter Model

You can (and should) add News Items frequently, rather than adding them all at once in preparation for a newsletter. The newsletter is simply a digest that you'll email out to a listserv periodically, rather than a standalone item. This allows visitors to your site to constantly see updated news, and allows you to send a summary of the most important news to your subscribers. The Plone Newsletter allows you to select a set of News Items, and does not need to contain every News Item added to your site.

Common intervals for sending a newsletter are weekly, monthly, or quarterly. The appropriate interval depends on how frequently news is added to your site.

You can view the traffic generated from this newsletter to show how many subscribers are visiting your site from the newsletter, and which articles they viewed.

Adding News Items

News Items should be added under the current year folder (in the right column) within your News section.

The Working with News Items How-To has more information.

Creating a Listserv

Email newsletters are generally sent to a listserv. If you do not already have one of these, see the How to Create a PSU Listserv How-To for instructions on creating a Penn State listserv. This may take two days, so be sure to do this in advance.

Once the listserv is created, Add an Unsubscribe Footer in order to be in compliance with anti-spam policies.

Selecting the Articles

Once you have the News Items added, you can choose which items you'll want to include in the newsletter.

Log in to Your e-Newsletter Template

  • Go to the logged-in (https://) Newsletter URL. This will be provided to you when the Web Services group creates your Newsletter, but can usually be found by appending "/newsletter" to the end of your News URL (e.g., extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/news/newsletter) or by going to the "Contents" tab of your News section.
  • Select which News Items will be shown in the Newsletter by checking the "Enabled" box. We recommend around 5-10 News Items per Newsletter.
  • Choose which News Items will be shown in a "Spotlight" section at the top of the newsletter by checking the "Spotlight" box. We recommend no more than 1-2 Spotlight items.
  • Click "Save" to save your changes.

Preview Your e-Newsletter in the Browser

  • Log out of your newsletter (http://) view by clicking the "Go to the logged out view before emailing." link in the yellow box at the top.
  • Hold the Shift key and click refresh on your browser
    • This clears your cache to assure that you're viewing the latest changes

Emailing the Newsletter to the Listserv

If everything looks correct, you should send a test email of the newsletter to yourself and anyone else who wants to preview it.

You can find the instructions for emailing newsletters in the Send Plone Newsletter In Body Of Email How-To.

If the test comes through without any issues, you can now send it to the listserv.  Remember to add an appropriate email subject line.