Sending a Newsletter - Step by Step


  1. Overview
  2. How to create/change a mailing list by uploading from FileMaker Pro
  3. Sponsor Ads
  4. Preparing Articles to be placed in a newsletter
  5. Filling out the Newsletter Form
  6. Making text Bold or Italic
  7. Sending your newsletter to an existing mailing list
  8. Viewing the current status of a mailing, or past mailings


Overview of creating a Newsletter
Bulk emailing a newsletter is done by creating a newsletter and then sending it to a mailing list. Newsletters are organized much like a print newsletter and are different from sending an article as a bulk email and an invitation.

The mailing list comes from FileMaker Pro and is uploaded to the website and saved so that any number of bulk emails can be sent to the same mailing list. You can even store several mailing lists on the website for your mailings.

The newsletter is built by going to the "Newsletter" link on the Adminpages screen. Prior to building the newsletter however, you should have created any articles to be included in the newsletter - which includes filling in the "Newsletter" fields for the article. Also you should upload any sponsor ads to the photo gallery ahead of time. Information about each of these steps is below.

The Features of a Newsletter

CLICK HERE to view a sample newsletter with the different sections highligted.

Issue Name: The issue name will appear at the top of the newsletter.

Articles: Articles chosen from the inventory of articles on the website are the meat of the newsletter. They are shown on alternating background colors in the body of the newsletter with links to them in the table of contents in the margin.

Announcement Sections: There are two announcement sections. ( 1 ) a large announcement section (Body Announcement) where you can place any amount of text and it will appear after all the articles in the body of the Newsletter. ( 2 ) A small announcement in the margin (Left Margin Announcement) that will appear after the Table of Contents. Both announcement sections are optional.

Now Showing section: This is a small section in the left margin that will list links to articles on the website. Add articles to the Now Appearing Articles section and be sure to edit the article itself and fill in the Newsletter Margin Link text to set the text that will appear in the list of links.

Sponsors: Sponsor ads can be added to the newsletter and placed in either the Left Hand Margin or in the body of the newsletter. In either case you can control the order in which they will be placed, but where they are placed is automatic. The ads need to be uploaded to the image gallery first before being placed in the newsletter. There are essentially 3 sizes (described below in the Sponsor section) of ads you can sell and should be offered at different price levels.

You can change the text that appears above the ad with the Tag Above Picture textbox. By default the text is "SPONSOR". You may change it something such as "ADVERTISEMENT", or choose to not have any text at all by blanking out the textbox. It is recommended though that when the picture is an advertisement you indicate this by using the suggested wording above. All wording will automatically be converted up upper case and has a maximum length of 20 characters.

If you choose to, you may use the Sponsor Pictures for other purposes such as placing a picture of a member and linking to a member page. In this case you may want to leave the Tag Above Picture blank.



Creating and uploading mailing lists from FileMaker Pro
You can upload as many different mailing lists as you wish. Your bulk emailings can then be sent at once to one or more of these mailing lists. Any names that appear in more than one list selected will only receive one email.

Read the Creating and uploading mailing lists from FileMaker Pro section of help for the Step-By-Step bulk emailing for step-by-step instructions on how to upload mailing lists.


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Sponsor Ads
You can include any number of sponsored ads in the newsletter. Small ads that are tall can be placed in the margin and short, wide ads can be placed in the body of the newsletter. You choose the order of the ads, but the ads will be placed automatically.

In the Left-Hand Margin: The first ad is placed the margin after the Left-Margin Announcement section. Any remaining margin ads are placed after the "Now Showing" section.

In the Body of the Newsletter: Ads are automatically placed after all of the articles, but before the Announcements section. Any remaining ads are placed at the end after the Announcements section.

Upload the ads to the photo gallery and choose the option to keep the actual size of the picture. You should also insist that advertisers supply you with the correct ad size ahead of time. The ideal ad sizes are as follows:

Small Left-Margin Ad: 160 pixels wide x 80 pixels high

Large Left Margin Ad: 160 pixels wide x 160 pixels high

Wide Body Ad: 400 pixels wide x 75 pixels high


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Preparing Articles to be Placed in Newsletters
Place articles in the newsletter by choosing them from the Articles section. Articles are placed in the newsletter in order and automatically added to the Table of Contents that appears in the left-hand margin. By default the title of the article is used as the article heading and in the table of contents. However, in many cases you will want to shorted the title to fit nicer. A link to the article on your website will automatically be placed at the bottom of the article in the newsletter.

After placing an article in the newsletter you can click on the Edit link in order to jump directly to the article to edit the Newsletter related fields described below.

TIP: It's important to preview the newsletter and make sure your wording LOOKS neat.

To change the title and other aspects of the way the article looks in the newsletter you need to go in and edit the article itself. Here are the different features of the article you should edit in order to make the newsletter look the best:

Your article should have a TOP photo assigned to it. This will automatically be placed in your newsletter.

Fill in field #5 (Newsletter Title). This will be used as the heading for your article in the Newsletter. This should be short and catchy. By default the title of the article will be used, but in many cases the heading in the newsletter should be worded differently. Fill in this field with the wording that fits best for the newsletter.

Table of Contents Link
Fill in the field #6 (Newsletter Margin Link text). This field is used in two cases. ( 1 ) as the text that appears in the table of contents in the newsletter and/or ( 2 ) as the text that appears in the "Now Showing" section. This text should be very short. Keep it to 2-3 words.

Article Text
The text that appears for the article is drawn from field #7 (Newsletter Article). Enter a short few paragraphs to appear in the newsletter. Any email addresses or web addresses placed in the text will automatically be converted to live links in the newsletter. The text will wrap around the photo (if there is one for the article), so make it enough text to at least wrap past the photo.

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Filling out the Newsletter form

  • Fill in the information for each field that applies, only the Issue Name is required.
  • You can leave fields blank.
  • In the Issue name field enter text such as "December, 2008" or "Issue 1, Vol. 12".
  • URLs and email addresses in the body of your newsletter will automatically be converted to live links. You will see this when you preview the newsletter.
  • Follow the instructions below for making text italic or bold. Don't make any text bold in the headings.


Making Text BOLD or ITALIC
Don't make any text bold in the headings - this will make your newsletter look odd.

To make text italic enclose it with the red characters in this example: This word is <i>italic</i>.

To make text look bold enclose it with the red characters in this example: This text is <b>bold</b>.


Sending your invitation to an existing mailing list
After completing the Invitation Form follow these steps to send it off to an existing email list:
  1. After filling out the Invitation Form click the Preview Your Newsletter button
  2. Examine your newsletter and make sure you are satisfied with it. Be sure to double-check that any URL links, email addresses, and the Registration Link in the invitation works properly. If you need to make changes to the invitation click the Make Changes button at the bottom.
  3. When you are satisfied with your invitation click the Send... button. Don't worry, you will have the opportunity to make further changes or cancel after you click the Send... button.
  4. In Step 1, choose one or more mailing lists that this should be sent to.
  5. In Step 2, give your email a subject line and a return email address. The return email address will receive any replys to the email as well as all of the un deliverables caused by incorrect email addresses. This email may receive many messages due to undeliverables. For this reason the default is set to be This can be changed, but you may not want to use your own email address.
  6. In Step 3, enter an email address where you would like to have a test email sent.
  7. Click the TEST>> button. An email will be sent to the test email address, and NOT sent to the entire mailing list yet. You will be brought to Step 4 and it will indicate who received the test email.
  8. Wait to receive the test email in your inbox. Look it over and make sure it is what you want. If you need to make changes to it you can click on the Return to Article link at any time to go back and make changes.
  9. In Step 4, we ask you to verify that the mailing lists chosen are correct. To change the mailing lists you have selected click the << Back button.
  10. In Step 5, asks you where you would like the completion notice sent, this defaults to the email address given for the test email.

    Depending on how large your bulk emailing is it could take a while before the entire mailing is sent. When the last email in finally sent a completion notice will be emailed to this email address stating that the email has completed and indicating any problems that might have occurred in the process.
  11. When you are satisfied with everything indicated on this page click the Send! button and the physical process of sending the emails will begin.
  12. You will be brought to the Bulk Mailing History screen where you can view the history and progress of your mailings. Your current mailing will have a status of In Progress until it is done. You do not have to stay in this screen, or even leave your browser open. The mailing will go on behind the scenes and the Completion Notice will be sent when it is done.

Viewing the current status of a mailing or the past history of mailings
You can view the details of past mailings by logging into the Admin Page and clicking the Bulk Mailing History link in the Bulk Emails section. If there is a mailing in progress it will be indicated with a Status of "In Progress".