E-mail newsletter ideas & tips: The easiest way to create an e-mail newsletter

Company newsletter publisher: CompanyNewsletters.com

The easiest way to create
an e-mail newsletter

by David Kandler

Editor's Note: The author of this article, David Kandler, is founder, owner and president of CompanyNewsletters.com, an Internet firm that produces newsletters for companies throughout the United States. Learn more about how his firm can help your company produce printed and electronic newsletters.

Web press
A PDF newsletter can be designed to look just like a printed newsletter. This is the cover of a PDF version of a customer newsletter that CompanyNewsletters.com created for a seafood restaurant.
You’ve been put in charge of creating your company’s e-mail newsletter. After a little research, you’ve likely found out that it’s much more difficult to do than you originally thought.

You’ve probably discovered that recipients of the e-mail newsletter usually have different e-mail programs that they’re using, many of which don’t display your colors, typefaces and graphics correctly.

You’ve likely learned that you can’t insert photos into your newsletter unless you have the photo files hosted on a separate Web site, and have a reference in your e-mail to that photo on the Web site.

And you’ve probably also discovered that if you put a lot of full-length articles into a one page e-mail newsletter, it looks way too lengthy, and can be awkward for recipients to navigate or print.

The good news is there is an easy, inexpensive solution to these problems: a PDF e-mail newsletter.

A PDF newsletter is named for the letters used in the extension at the end of it’s file name, for example, “newsletter.pdf.” This type of file can be opened, viewed and printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader, software that most people already have on their computers. If they don’t have it, they can download it for free.

PDF newsletters can be sent out as an e-mail attachment, or they can be placed on a Web site for downloading by your readers. If you choose the latter option, you have your Web master place the PDF file on your Web site, and then you send out e-mails containing a link to the PDF file that recipients can click on and download the file.

How to create a PDF newsletter

The beauty of PDF newsletters is that, if you want a simple newsletter design, they are easy to create from a common word processor, like Microsoft Word, or similar applications, such as Microsoft Publisher.

Or if you want an advanced, professional layout like the ones CompanyNewsletters.com creates for its clients, PDF newsletters can be created from professional design and layout applications such as InDesign (download a sample of a professional PDF newsletter that CompanyNewsletters.com created for a client).

Most popular word processor and layout programs allow you to create PDF files from within the application. However, if your word processing or layout program doesn’t allow you to create or export a PDF version of your newsletter, you can buy Adobe Acrobat software, and make a PDF file from just about any software application. Once you have Acrobat installed, you can create a PDF file from virtually any application by choosing “Adobe Acrobat” as your printer in the printer dialog box.

Benefits of a PDF e-mail newsletter

On the reader’s end, the PDF file will maintain the same look, with the same typefaces, photos, graphics and design, as the original newsletter layout in its original application. This also applies to very complex designs, which work very well in PDF e-mail newsletters, but not necessarily in other types of e-mail newsletters.

PDF newsletters are also an excellent electronic complement to a traditional printed newsletter. If you already have a printed newsletter, and you’d also like to be able to send out an electronic version, a PDF version of the printed newsletter can be created and distributed quite easily. In fact, when clients hire CompanyNewsletters.com to create printed newsletters for them, we also provide them with a PDF version of their newsletter for no extra charge.

Customers love having an electronic version of their newsletter available to e-mail out advance copies, or even to place current and back issues of their newsletter on their Web site, so readers have unlimited, easy access to them.

Also, PDF newsletters are the best type of e-mail or electronic newsletter for people who will print out the newsletter and read it offline. That’s because PDF newsletters can be created in full color, and printed in full color. And a PDF e-mail newsletter looks the closest to a traditional printed newsletter, on screen and when printed on a desktop printer or even on a commercial printing press.

Disadvantages of a PDF e-mail newsletter

There are two primary disadvantages to a PDF newsletter compared to other types of e-mail or Internet newsletters.

The first disadvantage is that a PDF newsletter isn’t as easy to read and navigate on-screen as, for instance, a Web newsletter that is viewed on your Internet browser. This is not a major drawback … it’s just that readers may need to zoom in and out and scroll up and down more to read the articles in an email PDF newsletter. That’s why CompanyNewsletters.com usually recommends a Web newsletter for those publications that will primarily be read on screen, rather than printed out and read offline.

The other disadvantage of a PDF newsletter is that, for complex designs, the large file size of the publication — which could easily be 2 megabytes or more — can make it cumbersome for e-mailing. But in that case, we recommend putting the file on your Web site, and then e-mailing your readers a link to the file for them to download directly from your Web site.

An ideal choice for an e-mail newsletter

For most people, the many advantages of a PDF e-mail newsletter outweigh the relatively minor disadvantages.

Compared to other types of electronic and e-mail newsletters, a PDF publication is easy and inexpensive to create using software, that you probably already know how to use. A PDF e-mail newsletter is good for both simple designs, like you could create with Microsoft Word, and advanced, more complex designs, such as CompanyNewsletters.com might create for a client. For all those reasons, a PDF newsletter should be among your first considerations for an e-mail newsletter.

Read more newsletter ideas, tips and "how to" articles from CompanyNewsletters.com.

To learn more about the author's firm and how it can produce printed or online newsletters for your company, see http://CompanyNewsletters.com or call 952/892-6943.

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