How do I set up a newsletter?

This article will guide you through the process of setting up a new newsletter within Continuum.

Some notes for legacy admin users before we begin:

  • Content zone shortcodes are no longer visible in Continuum. Instead, layouts are primarily managed by a Drag and Drop user interface. You'll be able to drop in content originally dictated by shortcodes and edit each zone individually. 

  • All Rendering Options are now called Layout Options. Some are still required to build a new newsletter. We’ll get into these later.

Our drag and drop editor provides a simple and powerful shortcut to embed content, and when combined with our newsletter tools, you can gain a lot of control over the newsletter's layout. We recommend a basic layout right out of the box, but you can customize it much further. This article explores the building blocks for your newsletter and the options available to you.

Step 1 - Create the Newsletter

In Continuum, create a new Newsletter by navigating to Editorial > Newsletters. Your existing Newsletters will load to the right of the Continuum navigation. 

Click the + Add Newsletter link at the bottom of the newsletter list to create a new newsletter. Give it a title and click the checkmark to save it.

Before you do anything else, it’s important to set up your first issue next (it’s ok if this is just a test newsletter issue). This way, as you’re making edits to the newsletter’s layout, you can preview them in real-time. From the Newsletter Manager navigation at the top, click Issues, then click +Add Issue. Then give it a title and click Save Issue.

Now we can go back to the main newsletter and set up any other newsletter details and Layout Options (we’ll cover Layout Options next). 

Click the Edit Newsletter link from the Newsletter Manager main navigation and populate any of the following fields you’d like:

  • Description

  • Teaser

  • Topic

  • Site Placement

  • Classification

Click the Show More Fields button to show the following additional fields:

  • Internal ID

  • External List ID (This will become your Mailing List ID)

Once you’re finished, click Save Newsletter.

Step 2 - Add Layout Options

As previously mentioned, Layout Options are what we previously referred to as Rendering Options in our legacy tools. 

Some Layout Options are required, while some are optional.  Please reference this Knowledge Base article for a list of all available layout options.

The following Layout Options are required:

Name: layout

Value: true or false

This toggles the normal web page layout (logo, right rail, etc.) from showing when viewing the newsletter in a browser (false = off, true = on). You’ll likely want to set this to false.

Name: newsletter.width

Value: This is the width that the newsletter will be rendered. Please note that you do not use a “px” after the value. Base this value on the width of your widest ad if you have a leaderboard ad. For example: 768 

Name: template

Value: newsletters/newsletter_default

Using this value allows you to use the functionality of the new Layout Builder.  

To set these up from the Newsletter Manager, once you’ve got your new newsletter selected, click Edit Newsletter on the main newsletter navigation, then click the +Layout Options button above the main newsletter navigation (not the Layout link within the main newsletter navigation - that’s the Layout Builder which we’ll cover next).

Provide a name and value for each of the Layout Options you’d like to add. Click the + to add additional Layout Options. Click the x to remove any Layout Options. Click Save Changes when you are finished.

Step 3 - Add components in the Layout Builder

The layout builder is where you will choose the type of content to include in your newsletter and how it displays. Associating a specific piece of content will come in the next step.

To access the layout builder, select your Newsletter and navigate to the Layout tab. Here you will find a variety of components which you can drag and drop into your newsletter.

If you are editing an existing newsletter that was created in our legacy tools, you will see your content zones rendered here. The functionality associated with the zones and their shortcodes will persist on existing newsletters, however we are moving away from building newsletters using zones and shortcodes. We encourage you to follow the instructions below for an easier user experience and replace your zones with components from the layout builder. Please note that if you remove a zone using the layout builder that it will also delete the associated Editorial Content area for that zone, so you will want to plan your transition carefully. 

From the left hand pane, choose your component and drag and drop the component into place. Next, you will edit your component to choose how the component will render. To edit, hover over the component and click the edit button. 

You will then see the attributes for the component. For example, the article list component will allow you to choose how many articles, number of columns, to display the associated image, etc within the component. You will see how these layout options correlate to the shortcodes you used in the legacy tools. Once you're finished adjusting the component's attributes, be sure to click the green save button with the checkmark.

Continue to build out your newsletter components and remember to save each component along the way.

The Title field in the components appears in ALL CAPS in the Newsletter. To override this setting, go to Advanced > System Settings > and change the setting from False to True. This will follow the Title field or the Taxonomy Title field if Taxonomy ID(s) is being used.

Ad zones

Use the layout builder to insert your advertisements here. You can directly copy and paste the html ad code into the Advertisement component, save, and your ads will render.

Editorial Content

If you have not converted your existing Legacy newsletters to the Continuum component system, your newsletter zones will all be rendered as EC areas.

Editorial Content areas in the newsletter function the same as EC areas in Continuum but are managed in the Newsletter Layout section.

Drag an Editorial Content component to your newsletter layout and enter html code that you want rendered in the newsletter issue.

The EC area is displayed by default. To disable the EC area from displaying, hover and click on the Edit icon. Switch the setting from Disabled - False to Disabled - True.

The message "This Editorial Content area is currently disabled" will display on the component. The EC area will not be included in your newsletter issue until it is enabled again.

Step 4 - Associate content to your newsletter issue

Once your components are in place, start building out your newsletter issue with content. Go to your issue, or create a new one, and associate articles, products, classifieds, images, and files. 

You will see as you associate content that the newsletter will render on the same screen. You will see a useful Mobile view to verify the layout on mobile devices.

Be sure to save along the way and generate the creative copy when you are satisfied with the issue.