The Online Newsletter system is a part of Spike@School's Newsletter Sets module and is included at no extra cost.
We've designed the Online Newsletters system to be quick and easy to get started with. Follow the instructions below and you'll have your first newsletter done in no time.
I love the new newsletter function. It was so very easy to use and it looks great too. Lynsey Northey - Hutt Intermediate School
Creating an Online Newsletter
Navigate to your Newsletter Set and click Add Newsletter. Your Newsletter Set will probably have newsletters in it already (PDF's and/or Links) and that's ok. You can continue to mix these types as required.
Give your newsletter a name and customise the other attributes as you wish. Choose Online as the type. Since this is your first Online Newsletter you won't be basing it on any past newsletters but in the future when creating a new Online Newsletter you can choose to copy aspects from a previous newsletter (such as the header, sections, notices and even articles) to save time. When you're ready, click Add Newsletter.
You'll now see your Online Newsletter at the top of the list of newsletters (unless you chose a date for your newsletter that is prior to others in the list). You'll notice that Online Newsletters have some extra options and are not 'Published' by default. This means the newsletter won't appear on the website until you explicitly click the switch next to Published?. You can take as long as you like to get your newsletter ready, so you could start several days before the publication date. You can even publish it after the Publication Date you set when creating or editing the newsletter as these two things are unrelated.
Now we come to the exciting part! Click Edit Content and you'll be taken into the Online Newsletter to edit it.
Let's start with the header. Click the Header dropdown and set a Background Colour or upload Background Image. Click Edit Title and change the title plus set an optional Subtitle if you wish.
Next, choose Upload Logo from the Header dropdown menu and upload your logo. Having a version of your logo made with a block colour behind any fine elements will make it stand out from the background image or colour.
If you've uploaded a background image, click Pan Background Image to adjust the cropping to suit the header. After playing for a bit you should end up with something like this:
Now let's add an Article. Newsletters are made up of Lead Articles (not in a section) plus Sections with further Articles in them. Your articles and sections will be summarised in the In This Issue menu for easy access as you add them.
Adding an Article
Click Add Article Here. To begin with we're just going to be creating the text of the article. Enter a Title, Author, Leader (which is some introduction text to the article), and the Body of the article. When you're done click Add.
You'll notice your article has been immediately added to the newsletter and the menu has been updated. If you click on the article summary in the menu you'll be jumped down to view the article. We'll now give the article a Hero Image. Click Upload Hero Image and select an image from your device.
Once you've selected your hero image, it'll be uploaded and added to the article. Again you can crop the image as you wish or you can click the Contain button to show the entire image within the allocated space. You may also have noticed the menu update itself with the hero image showing instead of a text summary for this article.
You can edit Links and Files and also set captions for your Images by clicking the edit button on them. If you want to change the order of these items just drag and drop them. You'll also notice there's an Edit and Delete button for the article itself.
Let's move on to adding a section.
Adding a Section
Scroll down a bit and click Add Section Here.
Sections are very simple, just a Name and a Background Image. Once added, you can add articles to them. The articles within sections are exactly the same as Lead Articles.
You can Edit and Delete your section and also Pan the background image. If you delete a section, don't worry, we won't delete your articles, they'll just be added to the previous section or will become Lead Articles if there is no previous section.
If you'd like to highlight upcoming events at your school you can use the Important Dates area to do so. The Important Dates area is located between the lead articles area and sections. To add a new Important Date simply click Add Important Date.
You need to enter a Title and a Starts and Ends date but the rest is optional.
Visitors can add events to their calendar by clicking the calendar icon on each event.
Now let's move on to Community Notices. Use this area for what would commonly be on the back of a newsletter (e.g. holiday programme advertisements, sponsorships, and other community related notifications). When copying your newsletter to make a new newsletter you can choose to bring these notices with you each time so you don't need to add them again.
Community Notices are split into three columns and you can drag and drop notices between the columns. To start with, scroll down and click Add Notice Here in the column of your choice.
A notice can consist of just an Image, or a Body or both! Once you've added your notice you can also attach Files to it.
Finally let's look at adding Contact Details to the newsletter. Scroll down and click Add Contact Detail.
Add as many contact details as you need. There's a Custom type for anything that isn't catered for by the built in types. You can override the Label, Text, and URL of contact details if you need to.
PDF Export & Email
Still need a print copy of your newsletter?
We've got you covered! Simply click the Print button at the top of the page when editing your Online Newsletter and a PDF will be downloaded to your device. You can then print this out for those families that need it. Try to avoid sharing the PDF digitally as it's better to just refer readers to the web based version of the newsletter on your site so they can take advantage of its interactive features.
Can I send an email alert to parents when a newsletter is published?
This is something we're going to be working on in the future but we didn't want to delay the Online Newsletter module launch further so we've decided to complete this at a later date.
Many of you will already be notifying your parents in various ways about new newsletters. If this is the case you can simply link them to the front-end view of the online newsletter rather than sending them a PDF.
That completes our tour of the new Online Newsletter system in Spike@School. We hope you enjoy using it, and please get in touch if you have any suggestions or get stuck anywhere on your journey of using it.