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Preparing a Newsletter Planning Document for Happening in the Hill

The weekly newsletter for Harrison Township, Happening in the Hill, is planned out 1 week in advance of delivery every week. This guide will show you how to build out the planning document for publisher review and approval.

Once the publisher has reviewed, updated and approved the document, we are ready for Newsletter Production.

Create a new planning document in Google Drive #

Go into the shared google drive folder and either select the month folder for the upcoming newsletter, or create a new folder for the next month (once this folder is created, you can create a doc in there).

Label the document: [Month] [DD] Newsletter
Ex – January 18 Newsletter

We’ll want to duplicate the “Useful Links” table from the previous week’s planning document. Navigate to the previous week’s planning document in Google drive, open the doc, and copy the top gray table in full. Once copied, go back to the planning document we are preparing and paste the Useful Links table at the top of the document.

Begin adding content to the current planning document #

We’re now going to be updating the planning document with content to promote in the upcoming Happening in the Hill Newsletter. We find content in a variety of places, but the best place to start grabbing content from in actually in last week’s planning document.

Last week’s planning document – events and “in case you missed it” for this week #

Events in the newsletter cover a 2 week lead time, meaning if an event is happening in 2 weeks of the newsletter send, it will be listed in the newsletter.

With this promotion timeline in mind, we’ll go back to the previous week’s event listing, and copy and paste them into the planning document for next week’s newsletter.

We will also feature any paid advertisements (getting local, expert articles, and other paid for promotions) to an In Case you Missed it section at the bottom of the planning document.

Adding promotions from CoSchedule, our Editorial Calendar #

Another place we find content to promote in the upcoming Happening in the Hill newsletter is on the CoSchedule app (find the login information on our Account Handbook).

Once logged in, you’ll want to find the calendar listings for the newsletter send we are preparing this document for. To clear out your view, you can toggle a view to see “Newsletter Promotion Entries” only.

Following the color coded calendar entries on the Thursday send, we’ll populate the rest of the document accordingly. Note: CoSchedule does not dictate the order of the newsletter entires. The order in the newsletter is as follows (typically):

  • Mayor’s Minutes
  • Events
  • Getting Locals/Expert Articles/Other important features
  • News
  • Community Bulletin Board
  • In Case You Missed It

Adding entries to the planning document based on site content #

We will use the site to add upcoming promotions based on some pre-determined publishing rules.

  • Events that are 2 weeks out should be listed in the planning document
  • The 3 most recent news posts should be listed in the planning document

To get events that are 2 weeks out, we’ll use the plugin Events Calendar Newsletter on the site (login information can be found on the Account Handbook).

Adding upcoming events using the Events Calendar Newsletter #

When you open this plugin, you be presented with a button to “Generate Newsletter Layout”. Click this button and the plugin will pull events published on teh website into a newsletter layout with all required details for promotion.

We are going to copy and paste the results (not as html – that is for newsletter production) into the planning document, following our 2 week promotion rule and also removing any recurring events so they are listed only once. We also do not want to promote any township meetings, so be sure to avoid copying these over, or just delete them after pasting the list of upcoming events.

Be sure to reset the text style on the planning doc – first setting everything to “Normal Text” and then updating event headlines only to a “Heading 2”.

Double check CoSchedule again to make sure any events that are outside the 2week promotion, but listed on CoSchedule, are also added to the event list in the planning document.

Adding upcoming News and Community Bulletin Board posts #

We will now go to the live site, and pull the 3 most recent posts from the News and Announcements page as well as any new posts on the Community Bulletin Board page.

Similar to pasting the results of upcoming events from the plugin, we are going to highlight the 3 most recent news posts, copy, and paste them into the planning document under the News heading. Again, we’ll format these to “Normal” text first to remove any styling from the site, and then set the post titles to a “Heading 2” on the doc.

If there are any news entries listed in CoSchedule, but they have not been posted yet, add them to the top of this list.

We will do the same for any recent community bulletin board posts, but if no posts are recently published (2-3 weeks ago) then on the planning document, we will set a Heading 2 for “Generic”. If there is/are recent community bulletin board posts, add them the same way we added news posts, but above the “Generic” heading.

Double check planning document against CoSchedule and recent posts #

We’re now in the homestretch! This last step is just double checking we have all recent posts from the site listed in the newsletter, and all pre-planned content from our editorial calendar.

Once everything is checked off, the Publisher will go in and update the newsletter accordingly. They may drop content based on amount of promotions, or move up a Getting local post into the events feed. Our publisher will also add content for us to use when provided by advertisers for listings like a Getting Local, Home of The Week, BeWell Mullica Hill or Mullica Hill Real Estate Report.

That’s it – you’ve completed the planning document for the publisher!

Now the document is ready to be used for the newsletter production run. Nice job!

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