Automatic Email News Blasts


Please Note, our Email Blast service has been retired for the time being as we have discovered both a security flaw and a server performance flaw that have forced us to pull the function and review whether or not to repair/replace it. For the time being, we are suggesting the use of Mail Chimp and their free service for groups under 1000 members. Thank you.

Setting up your Email Subscription Settings

Premium Plan Members and above have the ability to allow users to subscribe to their sites’ New Posts via email. This feature will automatically email all subscribers when you post a new news article with an email. Emails can be sent immediately, once daily or weekly, depending on your preferences. This functionality can be used to replace email blasts or in conjunction with your normal email newsletters.

Post Expiration and Email Subscriptions are not Compatible

If you are using our Post Expiration Plugin you may encounter missed deliveries on posts that have (or have had) post expiration dates set. We Do No Recommend using Automatic Email News Blast and the Post Expiration Plugin at the same time. We are continuing to develop that plugin and hope to resolve this conflict in the future.

MailChimp vs Automatic Blasts

Many of our groups already use Mail Chimp (or another email service) and are curious about the advantages and disadvantages to using the Automatic Blast Service. The Automatic Email Blast service is designed primarily for groups that are not currently using another mail service, but all of our members are welcome to use this service. If you are already using Mail Chimp and are happy with the way things are working, we recommend sticking with them, but if you are struggling with getting emails out to your community (whether due to time restrictions or technical ability) our email blast service is perfect for you! If you have a large mailing list (over 1000 subscribers) we suggest using Mail Chimp as well.

Some of our larger schools that are already using Mail Chimp are also enabling the blast service we provide but not importing all of their subscribers. They are allowing subscribers to sign up for more “instant” notifications of news in addition to the standard email newsletters they receive. Users can sign up via the FOLLOW button that can be activated in the plugin.

If you have any questions about whether the email blast service is right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us for some advice. We’re happy to assist you in your decision making process!

View our Mail Chimp vs Auto Email Blasts Comparison Chart Here

Step 1: Activate the PlugIn


If you have not yet activated the plugin, this is the first step. Go to PLUGINS > ALL PLUGINS and then find the Automatic Email News Blasts Plugin and click the ACTIVATE link.

Step 2: Click on Subscriptions > Settings


Next you will want to get your settings adjusted. Click on SUBSCRIPTIONS > SETTINGS to access this page.

Step 3: Enter the From Sender Name


The first thing you will see is the General Settings. Enter the name of your Parent Group (or whoever you want shown as the sender of the email) in the Notifications From Sender field.

Step 4: Enter the Notification from Email Field


In the next field, enter the email address that you want the notifications sent from. This is typically the email address for your Parent Group. Remember, this is where replies to your notices will be sent, so it’s good to use a general email address here. You can also use an address like [email protected] if you do not want to receive replies.

Step 5: Enter the Subject Line of your Email


Now enter the Subject Line of your email in the Mail Subject field. It’s good to use something like “News from (Your Parent Group Name)” or something that makes your messages easy to know what they are about. You can also use the code %title% to display the title of the article you just posted.

Step 6: Set your Email Frequency


There are a number of options for the frequency your emails are sent. You can have emails sent Immediately after you post (not recommended unless you only post one news post per week), you can have a Daily Digest of emails sent, or you can have an email sent once per week with the previous weeks posts.

Our top choice is the Daily Digest, but this will depend on how frequently you are updating your website. If you add something daily, it might be best to use the weekly emails. It’s really up to you, but please be aware that most of your community members probably do not want a TON of emails per week from your Parent Group.

Step 6a: Immediate Email Delivery


If you wish to send an email to your subscribers immediately after you post an article on your website, you should set the Email Frequency to Immediately when a new post is published. Keep in mind that if you publish 3 News Posts in one day, your subscribers will receive three emails from you. This option is best to use if you only post once or twice per week with an “Update” post, vs posting many individual posts.

Step 6b: Weekly Email Delivery


The Weekly Email delivery is great for Parent Groups that want to send out one email per week with a summary of everything that’s been posted the previous week. Some schools will make all of their news posts on Mondays for example and then have the weekly email go out on Tuesday. The weekly email will have a list (summary) of all the news posts with a short blurb from each post and a link to read more about each post.

To set this option, first set the Frequency to “Send a weekly digest” and then specify the day of the week that you want emails to be sent out. The time of day is determined by our servers and can’t be controlled, so if you set your date to Tuesday (for example), be sure all the news you want included in the email is posted to the site by Monday evening.

Step 6c: Daily Email Delivery


The Final option is to have your email notifications sent Daily. This is a great option if you do all of the updates to your site once a week and want to let people know the same day you post. This is also a good option if you typically add content on one day, but occasionally add important content on additional days and don’t want to wait for the news to be delivered.

To set up Daily Delivery option, select Send a Daily Digest for the Email Frequency and then specify the time of day that you would like your emails to start being sent. Keep in mind that if you post something after the time you determine, it will be sent the following day. Also keep in mind that all emails are not set at once, so if you have a large list, this is the time of day that your emails will START to be sent, but it may be after this time when they finish sending.

Step 7: Adjust your Mail Batch Size


99% of the time it is best to leave your Mail Batches set to 80 per 30 minutes, but if you are experiencing delivery issues, you can change that to something smaller (like 30). Another thing to check if you are experiencing delivery issues on daily emails is the time of day they are sent. If you send in the evening (late) or early in the morning you may have better delivery success.

DO NOT MAKE YOUR BATCHES BIGGER THAN 80 or you will experience delivery issues. Accounts sending Batches larger than 80 may be suspended from this service.

Step 8: Optional Admin Notifications


If you would like to receive an email when a user subscribes or unsubscribes from your notifications you can check the Get Notifications box. We do not suggest doing this, but you are welcome to receive emails if you would like to.

Step 9: Optional Subscription Page


This is another option we do not suggest, but if you want to set up a page for users to subscribe and unsubscribe, you can set that page here. This functionality can be buggy, so it may not work on your theme. You have been warned :)

Step 10: The Follow Button


This is a cool feature that adds a little “Follow” link to the bottom right side of your pages. It makes it very easy to subscribe to your email notification list from any page. Check the box if you would like this added.

Step 11: Save your Settings


When you are ready to proceed, click the SAVE CHANGES button to record your settings.

Step 12: Optional Content Settings


If you click on the CONTENTS tab, you will see a variety of options for your email deliveries. If you want to only send certain categories of posts in your email news alerts, you can set that up here. If you are using the Premium Plus Calendar as well, you can also opt to send email alerts when a new event is added to your calendar.

In most cases it is best to leave these settings as they are, but you are welcome to change them as needed. Be sure to Save Changes if you alter these settings.

Step 13: Setting up your Mail Template


If you would like to make design changes to the mail template that is sent, click on the Mail Template Tab. In this Tab you can adjust the colors, add your school logo and preview your email (in addition to some other things). This is not required to use this plugin and is optional. The default settings work just fine if you don’t want to mess with this page.

Step 14: Add your Logo (optional)


If you would like to add your schools logo to your emails, you can upload your logo with the UPLOAD LOGO button. Try to upload a fairly small logo (200 pixels wide at most) so that it’s not huge.

Step 15: Header Colors


If you want to make the header colors match your school, you can change the Header Color and Text Color here.

Step 16: Additional Text Options


You can set up your Subtitle Text and Footer Text in the next two fields. The Subtitle text will go under the title of the email and the footer text will go at the very bottom of your email. Additionally, if you check the Show From Sender box, the email header will include your From Name you added earlier. This is suggested.

Step 17: Email Confirmation Template


This section contains the text for the email that is sent to a subscriber when they register to follow your website. They must confirm their subscription in order to start receiving updates. Please edit this text as you would like and make it relevant to your websites needs.

Step 18: Show Featured Images


If the website theme you are using offers featured images (like the Graphene 2.0 theme) this is a great option to check. If you are using featured image, the email will include the featured image next to the article blurb. This is very effective as long as you are using the featured images.

Step 19: Refresh Changes & Preview


The bottom of the page will show you a preview (with jibberish text) of what your email will look like. After you have made your adjustments, click the REFRESH CHANGES button to see the updated version of your email blasts. You can also send a test email to your account if you wish.

Step 20: Save your Changes


As soon as you are happy with your changes and adjustments, be sure to click the Save Changes button to record your options and selections.

Step 21: View your Subscriber List


If you would like to see a list of your subscribers and their status, click on the SUBSCRIBERS link in the Subscription settings. You can manually confirm subscriptions here and also cancel individual subscriptions for subscribers.

Step 22: Manually Add Subscribers


If you would like to manually add subscribers to your list, you can do that in the ADD SUBSCRIBERS options. You can type names individually, or upload a list of emails in a .csv file. You have the option to not send the confirmation email if you want subscribers added instantly.

Learn How to Download Email Addresses from your Built In Forms Here.

Step 23: Exporting Subscribers


If you want to export a list of all your subscribers, you can do so under the EXPORT SUBSCRIBERS section.

Step 24: View Sent Emails


Click on SENT EMAILS if you would like to see a list of all the emails that have been sent. This page will tell you the subject of the email as well as how many were sent out.