The first step to creating a newsletter is composing a draft. Drafts can be used to send more than one newsletter and reused for future mailings.
The fields for creating a draft are:
- Title: Used to identify the draft within the admin interface only
- Subject: Used as the subject line of emails sent to subscribers, as well as to identify the newsletter within the queue and public archive
- Event Dates: Select the range of dates from which events will be displayed in the newsletter
- Send to Groups: Select which subscriber groups to send the newsletter to
- Note: You cannot send a newsletter without at least one group selected, and that group containing at least one subscriber with a valid email address. For more information on creating subscribers and adding them to groups, see the Subscribers section.
- Template: Select a newsletter template
- Archive Status: Adding the newsletter to the public archive will allow site visitors to view a copy of the newsletter while browsing the public calendar
- Custom Message: Write a custom message to be included in the newsletter. This field utilizes a WYSIWYG editor where you can format text, insert images, links, and other media, and other editing options.
Select Save Newsletter Draft to finish.
Selecting "Create Newsletter" from the menu will bring up a list of all newsletter drafts.
Newsletters containing events that have already happened are highlighted in red. There are three options for each draft:
- Create Newsletter
- Edit Draft
- Delete Draft
Deleting a draft removes it permanently. Edit draft takes you to the Newsletter Draft Settings.
Selecting "Create Newsletter" takes you to an overview of the draft contents. You cannot change any of the newsletter settings from here.
If the newsletter is what you want to send, select either Approve or Approve & Send Now. Selecting Approve brings you to the Newsletter Queue (see below). Selecting Approve & Send Now takes you to the Sending Newsletter screen.
Select the "play" button to send the newsletter. As sending an email to hundreds of addresses can take a while, there is an option to pause the process. Do not navigate away from the page while a sending is in progress, as that will stop any remaining emails from being sent.
The queue can be accessed both from the Newsletters menu and by selecting Approve when creating a newsletter. From here you can delete a newsletter, send it (or pause a sending), and if available, view the newsletter archive and newsletter report.
In OU Calendar, you can manage templates used for newsletters, as well as some limited options for configuring subscriber groups.
Selecting "Newsletter Templates" brings up a list of all newsletter templates configured for OU Calendar. You can preview, edit, or delete existing templates, as well as adding new ones.
Adding a new template or editing an existing one brings up the following fields:
Selecting "Show Variables" expands the list of all variables available for use in the template, along with tooltips explaining the function of each variable. For example, if the variable [events] is used, when the email is sent out that variable will be populated with a list of relevant events. If the variable [firstname] is used, it will be populated with the first name of the subscriber.
Configure your template in the WYSIWYG editor, which as the ability to insert links, images, and other media, as well as various formatting options.
When done, select Save Template to save changes. You can preview what your template will look like by selecting the magnifying glass icon.
Groups can be configured to segment subscribers and send target mailings to specific groups (e.g., creating an Athletics groups to specifically send Athletics newsletters to). From selecting "Subscriber Groups," you view a list of all existing groups in OU Calendar, with the ability to edit and delete them, as well as create new groups.
The group "All Subscribers" is created by default, comprised of all subscribers in the system, and cannot be deleted, or edited beyond changing the name.
Editing an existing group or adding a new one brings up the subscriber group information.
The fields are:
- Description: If the subscription group is visible on the public calendar, the description helps subscribers determine which groups they want to register for
- Status: "Admin Only" or "Public." If "Public" is chosen, the group will be available for subscribers to select when subscribing to newsletters.
If you wish to manually add a subscriber to a specific group, that is done from the subscriber information page, not via managing groups.
Users can subscribe to your OU Calendar to receive newsletters and be informed of new events. When subscribing to the newsletter from the public calendar, users fill out a form with authentication, subscriber information (such as name and zip code), and subscription options such as which category of events they are interested in. If there are public subscriber groups available, they can also choose which of those they wish to subscribe to.
After signing up, subscribers receive a confirmation email with a link that they must follow before they are added into the system as a subscriber, to prevent spam subscriptions.
Subscribers can also be manually added by admins by selecting "Add Subscriber" from the Newsletters menu. This form contains the following fields:
Opt-In Confirmation Email
Strongly recommended so the user knows they have been subscribed, and to reduce complaints of spam.
- First Name
- Last Name
- Birth Year: Users under 13 years of age are not allowed to subscribe
- Zip Code
- Link Format: Select from "Full Site," "Mobile," or "Adjust to Device." This determines which default theme is set when the user clicks an event link within the newsletter
- Subscribe To: Select which subscription groups the user is a part of
Select which categories of events the subscriber will receive information on.
Select Save Subscriber to create the new subscriber.
Selecting "Manage Subscribers" brings up a list of all users subscribed to the calendar. From here subscribers can be edited or deleted.