Employee Newsletter is a newsletter creation and management platform available as a paid add-on. It is an add-on product to the core Simpplr intranet and will require an additional license to use. Simpplr currently supports the legacy Newsletter feature for existing customers. For info on the legacy Newsletter feature, click here.
Note:Your Simpplr instance must be on the Ida release or later to implement Employee Newsletter. You will also need to have your IT team whitelist Simpplr's dedicated IPs depending on your org's security settings. Otherwise there is a risk the Newsletters will be sent to Spam. The IP addresses are 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11.
- Reusable templates
- Drag-and-drop “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editing
- Smart content blocks
- Multi-channel distribution
- Enhanced analytics
- Recipient fields
- Newsletter archive
- Newsletter end user experience
In order to set up the send from address or addresses, App Managers need to configure the DNS for each address. As of the Ida release, there is an option in the Manage application > Setup menu for Newsletter where this can be configured. For more info on this, click here.
Once enabled for an organization, the newsletter will be accessed as it is now. Simply go to your user menu dropdown and select Newsletter.
Note:For the Jackson release, the Newsletter option will be in the Manage dropdown.
Once on the Newsletter landing page, you will notice a new and improved user interface. Updates include better filtering options, an easier to read table, and more intuitive column sorting.
For organizations that have upgraded to Employee Newsletter from the core offering, you’ll also see an option to View past newsletters in the top left corner. This will take you to a read-only version of the core newsletter UI where you can view analytics for any newsletter sent in the previous system. Newsletters scheduled to be sent out in the core system will be sent out as scheduled, but no changes will be able to be made.
Components and flow
The Employee Newsletter is a template-based newsletter builder. To start building a newsletter, you must create a new template or select an existing template from which to start assembling a newsletter. Once the template is selected, you can drag and drop various standard newsletter components into a WYSIWYG editor. Once satisfied with the look and content, you can preview, save as a draft, or move on to schedule and send the newsletter.
Creating templates & themes
There are three options to create a new template.
From the list page, you can:
- click on the Templates & themes tab and then click New
- click the caret next to New and select Template
- click New template to begin creating a template
Once you've started, you will be taken to the template editor. From there you can adjust standard settings for:
Name: Each template must be named. The name of the template will not be visible to employees. To add or edit the name, click the upper left header (for new templates it will default to New template) and add a name.
- General blocks
- Smart blocks
Creating and Choosing a Theme
Themes allow you to customize the branding for your newsletter, including the header and what social media links to include at the bottom of the newsletter.
By default, you'll be given the option to select your org's intranet branding> But you can navigate to the link "templates & themes" to create a new theme specific to this newsletter template. This will take you to the Templates & themes tab.
To get started in creating a new theme:
- Select Themes, then New theme.
- You'll be taken to the theme editor, where you'll find two tabs; Navigation and Settings. In the Navigation tab, you'll see options to customize the Header, Social media and Mobile promotion.
- Header: Layout will allow you to place your company logo anywhere on the header, or upload a custom image if you wish. We recommend using an 800 x 100px (minimum) image size. Note there is no height maximum, and the banner will scale to meet your image's size requirements, but we recommend keeping your image height to around 100px to have a better looking banner.
- Header color: This changes the header color. By default, this will match your app branding, but you can change it to Primary color, Light, Dark, or a Custom color.
- Logo: choose to use the application/org logo, or upload a custom logo.
- Navigation links: Choose to show the links at the top of the header to help users easily navigate the newsletter. These can be toggled on or off.
- Social media: Choose whether or not to include your org's social media links in the footer of the template. If you choose to include these, you'll be asked to enter the full URL for each platform.
- Mobile promotion: Here you can enable or disable the Simpplr mobile app promotion links from the Apple App Store and google Play Store.
- In the Settings tab:
- Background: Choose what color background to make your template.
- Page width: This will adjust the width of the newsletter to its background.
- Block spacing: This allows you to change the default spacing between blocks for the template. Choose a smaller value to automatically have blocks appear closer together, a larger value to have them appear further apart.
When you've finished customizing your theme. Click Save at the top of the editor. The theme will be saved to your running list. Head back to the Template editor and assign your newly created theme to it.
When you've finished customizing your template, click Save. Now when you create your newsletter, you can assign it the template you just cerated.
Note:Custom fonts are not supported in the newsletter.
Creating a newsletter
To create a newsletter, on the newsletter list page click new when on the Newsletters tab, or use the caret on the New button to select New newsletter.
Once you have selected to create a new newsletter, they will need to select a template from which to start. Any of your pre-made templates will show as options, or you can create a new one.
Now you can use the drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor to create a newsletter. You can choose from any number and configuration of general blocks and smart blocks. You can move the blocks around, preview, and change/add columns before proceeding to schedule it to be sent. Or you can save it as a draft for collaborators to look over.
General blocks are the basic building blocks of any newsletter. They encompass any user-entered content such as free text, images, embedded outside content, etc. Once dragged onto the editor, it will show the given options for the block on the control panel located on the right side of the screen. To later adjust the options for the given block, simply click on it and the control panel will now show again.
- Button: Buttons are links that show up as buttons in a newsletter. They have two options for style and appearance. The button block also allows you to select alignment as well as standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin. Buttons require the user to add a fully qualified URL for the link.
- Divider: The divider block can be dragged anywhere on the newsletter to create a light grey divider line to break up content. It has standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
- Embed: The embed block allows you to add public content from outside their intranet and show a rich preview of the content in their newsletter. It can be used for any URL. If the URL points to a public blog or article the basics of said page will be displayed or if a link to a video on a site like YouTube is added it will show the video thumbnail with a play icon. Once clicked it will open a new browser tab with the content. If the embed is not for a video, you can choose the format to be a large showcase item or as a standard item. All embeds have standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
- Image: The image block allows you to add an image anywhere in your newsletter. You can either upload a new image from their computer or take advantage of integration to search Unsplash to find the perfect royalty-free image right from your newsletter editor. Once chosen or uploaded, you can change the size of the image while maintaining the aspect ratio by using your mouse to adjust the size by clicking on one of the corners and dragging it to the desired size. Optionally the image can also be made a link by clicking the checkbox and adding a URL. The image has standard settings to adjust alignment as well as in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
- Image Sizing: Images will be displayed at your specified dimensions, except on mobile where we ensure that image widths are never wider than the device’s screen.
- Text: The text box allows newsletter creators the freedom to add text where they need to. It can be as simple as adding a heading, an introduction paragraph, or as much as is needed to convey the message they need. Once text is added, a user can highlight and stylize the text as needed. Style options include font size (normal, title, heading 1/2/3/4, subtitle), bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, font color, alignment, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and hyperlinks. Text blocks also have standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
- Spacer: This adds space between blocks. You can set this to Small, Medium or Large spaces.
- Video: This block is available for those who have purchased the Simpplr Video add-on. Here you can add videos directly to your Newsletter.
Smart blocks dynamically add intranet content to a newsletter at send time for each recipient. This allows newsletter creators to add content and make sure it is fresh and relevant when the newsletter is eventually sent.
Content: The content block is the most dynamic block in the newsletter. It allows you to either manually choose content from their intranet to send in the newsletter, or use the popular or latest options in the control panel to have content added only when sent. If choosing the dynamic content, you can further specify content types to include, the source of the content, the number of items to display, and the appearance of each item ranging from a large showcase item to a list item. Dynamic content will be based on and tailored to the user. The content block also has standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
Custom content summary: When adding a smart content block to a newsletter you’ll be able to show the excerpt of the text for each of the page or album using the Show excerpt checkbox. If you do not fill out the Custom summary field, it will display the first few lines from the content body.
Based on the layout of the content block, it will limit the text as below:
- showcase view: max 150 characters
- list view: max 100 characters
- layout view: max 70 characters (when you choose to split into two columns)
- People: The people block allows you to include intranet user profiles in a newsletter. You can select as many profiles as they like with the built-in search and then decide how to display the profiles from large cards, to a list, to avatars only. In addition, standard alignment options are available as well as standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
- Sites: The sites block allows you to quickly link to your intranet sites. You can choose to add featured sites or choose specific sites to include. You have control over the number of sites displayed as well as, their appearance (cards or list), alignment options, and standard controls in-editor such as remove, split into columns, and remove/add margin.
While the Employee Newsletter is a fully functioning WYSIWYG editor, it can be helpful to preview how the newsletter might look in someone's mailbox. In addition to a standard preview mode, the Employee Newsletter can now preview what the newsletter will look like on a mobile device.
Sending/Scheduling a newsletter
Once happy with a newsletter draft, click next to proceed to the scheduling and sending of the newsletter.
- Confirm the newsletter name
- Choose a subject line
- Select an email address to send from
Choose either everyone in the organization, a prebuilt Simpplr audience, or members of a specified site to receive the newsletter.
All newsletters will be sent out by email like before, but now you can choose to also send an SMS (text) message with a link to read the newsletter in a browser. The SMS will be sent to users in the recipient list that have a valid mobile phone number listed in their profile. A link will be sent out so that the employee can view the newsletter, if logged into Simpplr.
Employee Newsletter analytics have been updated for individual sent newsletters. All aggregate analytics for newsletters under the content tab have been retained and individual sent newsletter analytics have been completely re-imagined.
Recipients, opens, and clicks are still tracked but now there is reporting around what devices opened the newsletter, how the clicks break down by content type, as well as what the exact click count per link in the newsletter is. In addition to the analytics overview, there is also a heatmap view that allows you to view the newsletter with the click data overlaid onto the screen.
- Segments are currently not supported
- Anyone with permissions to access the legacy Newsletter access before will have access to Employee Newsletter
Categories can be added to newsletters. When creating a newsletter, you can select a category, or add a new category, under Details.
The Categories tab lists all newsletter categories.
Click a category to view its analytics.
Recipient fields allow you to tailor text fields to the recipient using Simpplr data. By adding the Name recipient field, for example, users who receive the newsletter will see their Simpplr name populating the field.
To add a recipient field to Newsletter text, click Recipient fields in the toolbar. Or, you can input < to open the list of available recipient fields.
To access an archive of all newsletters that have been sent to you, go to User Menu > Newsletter archive.
Your newsletter archive is searchable, and searches can be filtered when looking for specific newsletters.
Newsletter end user experience
For your users, the newsletter will be sent via email by default. They have the option to view it in their email, or open it in a browser. By choosing View in browser at the top of the email, the user will be taken to the intranet to view the newsletter.
If you are the sender of the newsletter, when viewing it in a browser, you'll be given the extra option to cycle through past sent newsletters.
The newsletter is great! Since the newsletter is tied or connected to users, is there a way to view or download metrics by users - who viewed, links clicked, locations, etc. Thanks!
Hi Scot, great question! As of now you can't see any user specific metrics with Newsletter. There is a product enhancement request open for this feature though.
What are the recommended size for the banner, logo etc in the template
I don't see that you can do it now, but a GREAT feature would be to set up an autosend for new employees. It would be a great way to promote the site for folks who might not use our standard browser with intranet homepage.
Hi Maureen. The minimum recommended banner size is 800x100 px. This will ensure the image does not get distorted when uploading. Technically there is no height limitation, but a taller image isn't necessarily the best choice for a banner image.
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