Automated is an extension for Newsletter WordPress plugin which generates and sends automatically newsletters, created from the latest blog contents.
Automated creation of newsletters can be planned daily, weekly or monthly in a great variety of ways.
Blog contents can be filtered by category, post type and an infinite number of channels can be created letting subscribers to choose among your great information stream offer.
Automated the natural evolution and replacement of Feed by Mail extension.
Since version 4.2.5 we’re introducing compatibility with WPML on default theme where the language can be chosen to extract only localized content.
Setting up a channel
A channel is a set of configurations which describe how Automated should extract posts, compose a newsletter (using a theme) and send it over a time plan to targeted subscribers.
Subscribers are targeted using a list which is linked to that channel: subscribers, on their profile, can activate a list and start to receive the periodic newsletter. More on this topic below since there are different marketing strategies that can be used.
Adding all subscribers to a list
If you already have a set of subscribers, you can configure a list to be used to target who should receive your automatic newsletter and assitate to that list all your subscriber from the maintenance panel. If you want each new subscriber to be part of that list, set it as a default list on subscription configuration panel.
Planning is weekly or monthly. On weekly schedules, the days of the week can be selected. You can setup a single Monday issue or double week issues, for example on Monday and Thursday. You can eventually offer a channel with a weekly summary and another one with a daily summary (selecting every day in the week).
Monthly scheduling is based on days of week: first Monday, second Monday and so on. There is a reason: sending an email on first day of a month means to send it one time on Monday, another time on Sunday, another one on Thursday. This is not usually a good idea.
Posts to extract
Posts can be extracted without filters or selecting one or more categories. Custom post type are supported but sometime a theme customization is need to extract from them all the custom fields.
There is not a correspondence between your blog categories and Automated channels. Since usually readers don’t care too much about your internal category organization, is up to you to create channels with one or more categories that can be of interest to your subscribers.
Read, for example, how to organize the channels for a Magazine blog.
Post are extracted applying those filter and starting from the date of the last newsletter, so the posts which are added are always unread posts (anyway a theme can add a list of “old posts” in the lower part of the newsletter).
Themes and previews
In the theme panel, a theme can be chosen and once saved its options panel is loaded. The theme is able to show the extracted posts, offering few options to control the layout or other kind of content (header, footer and so on).
Two previews are available:
- the theme preview is built extracting few posts and composing a generic newsletter: it helps to get an overview of how the theme looks.
- the newsletter preview is the real newsletter that would be sent if generated in that moment. This preview can be empty if there is nothing to send to subscribers (no new content from the last delivery).
You can make your own custom themes, they must be placed in the
wp-content/extensions/newsletter-automated/themes folder. Read more about themes.
Last delivery date
The last delivery date is used to extract fresh posts (and to check if there are fresh posts). This date can be changed on the status panel. Usually there is no need to modify it but there are few cases (usually server crashes) where it could be a smart choice to move back that date to regenerate the newsletter. Just a dramatic example.
The status panel shows even the new posts which will be part of the newsletter.
Generated newsletters and statistics
The tab “Newsletters” lists all the generated newsletter for that channel, their status (sent, sending) and gives action buttons to delete the newsletter or access the statistics.
Subscription to channels
As said, every channel is connected to a list, so you can think of a list as an option for the subscriber which wants to receive updates. Upon regular subscription you can offer the subscriber one or more lists he can decide to opt-in, or you can automatically opt-in one or more lists forcing those lists to the new subscribers (see the subscription configuration panel).
Promoting a single channel
With the new short codes you can even create a specific form for subscription to a specific list. So you create a landing page with that form:
[newsletter_form button_label="Go!" list="1"] [newsletter_field name="email" label="Your best email"] [/newsletter_form]
Just remember that an already subscribed email address is correctly managed by Newsletter: the subscriber experiences a regular subscription but the collected data is merged with the old one.
Promoting your brand new channel to old subscribers
If you setup a brand new channel and you want to promote it to your old subscribers, the best way is to make the associated list available as public (at least on subscriber’s profile – see the lists panel) and send a newsletter inviting people to activate that option. Or, to be more aggressive, you can associate every subscriber to you channel list and then send a newsletter to inform about your new free service (with the option to disable it modifying the profile). It’s up to you!
Generating the newsletter even without new posts
Since verson 4.1.6.
In some special situations, usually with a custom theme, you may need to have Automated to generate the newsletter even if there are no new posts. Enabling that special feature, Automated invoke the theme passing it an empty list of posts.
The custom theme can extract/generate the content in a different way that using the latest blog post (for example extracting special post types or like). If the theme detects there is nothing to send it can exit before generating any content and Automated will detect it stops.
In the plugin subfolder
themes/samples there is a theme named “always” which can be used with the option this special option active. Copy the theme in the
wp-content/extensions/newsletter-automated/themes folder to start using and customizing it.