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Internal Company Newsletter Design?

Hello; I'm looking for an effective way to create an internal company newsletter that will look clean and attractive when users receive it in their email inbox.

I have heard of services such as Constant Contact and iContact; while the analytical features of these services would be great, the information in question is too sensitive to entrust to a third party email distributor.

What are my options, steps, templates, etc... for creating an internal newsletter; we use SharePoint 2007 (going to 2010 in a bit) if that can be utilized.
1 Solution
Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)Microsoft MVP ExcelCommented:

do you want to use SharePoint to publish the newsletter on the company intranet site? You mention that users receive it in their inbox. In that case, Sharepoint would not need to be involved, but rather a publishing software tool and a PDF writer.

If you use SharePoint to publish on the intranet, then your options are basically anything that will work on a web site. If you have a MOSS or SharePoint Server 2010 license, you have the publishing feature available. In that case, you can create page layouts to organise the page content.

How to create a newsletter that looks "clean and attractive" is not a SharePoint question, though, but rather one of layout and graphics design. And of course, personal preferences, especially when it comes to "attractive".

So, you need to decide what publication channel you want to use, and then select the appropriate tool to do the technical bits. The look and feel needs a graphics designer, not a techie, though.

cheers, teylyn
-PolakAuthor Commented:
I want to know what my options are past using a 3rd party provider like Constant Contact.

I mention SharePoint because I saw this template that generates something for distro via an email medium: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ianpal/archive/2008/12/30/create-and-manage-newsletters-with-sharepoint.aspx 
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
Word of mouth - whether by using some sort of grapevine, heirarchical (you tell department heads, they tell their employees), or group (host a company-wide meeting) - is an option
Traditional paper is an option.  
Some sort of e-mail - whether HTML or plain text - is an option.
A web page which users access via a shared link or on a schedule is an option.
A video broadcast - again, either by on-demand link or at a scheduled time - is an option.

Since you don't want to involve a third party, options like commercial e-mailers, commercial printers, and social media sites (like Facebook) seem to be off the table.
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
I would not use an external service to handle an internal newsletter.   Design templates for email are not that hard to come by (Mailchimp has templates for free) and since you are also on Sharepoint, you have their tools to work with.

Getting people to open and read it is a whole different challenge :)

Depending on who you are and where you are in the hierarchy, you can opt for a top-down or bottom up approach.  Top down involves you meeting with department heads and managers and getting them to buy into the newsletter and preach it downwards and drive adoption that way.  A bottom up approach works exactly in reverse...pick key people not in management positions and get them talking about it at meetings and get upper level folks taking notice that way.  A hybrid approach works too but that's a lot of work.  If possible, try to design something that prints to PDF nicely and consider leaving a few hard copies in strategic locations (water cooler, bulletin board, inside stall door in restrooms, etc) to help the process long.  
Pretty much anything you can create in HTML can be pasted into an outlook email, and sent to your company-wide distro list. If you are including images, you will want to host the images somewhere, so they are links in the email rather than each image being including in the mailing.

What I do is write each newsletter following an HTML template, then post it on a /newsletter directory of an internal website. Then, I open that page in my browser, hit Control A (to select all) and Control C (to copy it). I then switch to my email program, paste in the newsletter, then select the distribution list for recipients and add the subject line.

You can have the template designed by your web designer, do it yourself, or use any of a number that you can find online. There's also plenty of HTML editors that are free or cheap to edit it with.

-PolakAuthor Commented:
Awarding for the metion of Mailchimp
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