What is The Newsletter Plugin?
The Newsletter Plugin (sometimes referred to simply as “Newsletter” within WordPress) is a plugin that allows you to easily create newsletters to send to subscribers. While you can use it to send out a generic email with static text, the real benefit comes from it automatically pulling your website’s posts and formatting it all automatically.
Newsletter Core Concepts
Adding subscribers can be done in two methods:
- Mass import of email addresses by a website admin
- Have website visitors sign up via your website
NOTE: These two options are not mutually exclusive—you can use both, if desired
Related page in Dashboard: Newsletter > Subscribers > Import
If you are going to mass import subscribers, odds are you have already pulled a list of email addresses from some other datasource. However, if you are wanting to mass import subscribers and have not already gotten a list of email addresses, reach out to your IT contacts for assistance. Once you have the list, you can either upload a CSV (most easily done by saving an Excel file as a .csv) or by directly pasting in a list of email addresses. In almost all cases, the default import settings will be what you want.
Related page: Newsletter > List building
This method is a bit more complex as it requires dropping in some custom “snippets” into your page(s). As such, please reach out to email@example.com for assistance if you wish to implement this.
Related page: Newsletter > Newsletters
The Newsletter Plugin provides a drag-and-drop interface to help “build” (layout) your emails. If you are familiar with popular page editors (such as WPBakery Page Builder, Cornerstone, Elementor, etc.), odds are this won’t be too foreign.
When building the email, you do so with “blocks.” As a general rule, your email should have some sort of header, a body, and a footer. The header is often an image created outside of WordPress with the usual “[Ram Head] Colorado State University | [Your Department].” Your footer will most likely contain other static content such as social media links, copyright information, unsubscribe link, etc. As these elements will be consistent across your newsletters, it’s highly recommended that you “Duplicate” a previous newsletter whenever you start work on a new newsletter. It will save you time and ensure consistency.
As for the body, you’ll most likely be finding yourself wanting to pull in a list of posts you’ve published in WordPress. To achieve this, you’ll want to use the block title “Blog Posts.” Within this element, you can control its appearance such as the number of posts you want to show, font colors, etc. While having the ability to control its appearance is useful, you’ll most likely be wanting to also filter what posts get pulled into the newsletter.
The easiest way to achieve this is by ensuring that each post [you want in your newsletter] is categorized with a category created specifically for your current newsletter. For example, most offices will make sure all their related posts are categorized with a category title “April 2020 Newsletter.” This allows you to, within the newsletter editor, specifically select posts that are categorized with that specific category.
It is also important to note that, if you want to have images shown for each post in the newsletter, you’ll want to make sure each post has a “Featured Image” uploaded for it.
Test, test, and test again. Before sending out any newsletter, be sure to send test emails to yourself and, preferably, other coworkers as well. In order to send a test email to yourself (and/or others), you must first add your email address(es) as subscribers just as you would any other email address. The only difference is to make sure that you mark “Test Subscriber” when adding them. Then, when you go to the “Test” tab in the newsletter editor, you will see all email addresses that the test will be sent to.
After you’ve thoroughly tested (and proofed) your newsletter, you are finally ready to send the newsletter. Please note that, depending on how many subscribers you have, it can take between 1 to 15 minutes to send all of them out.