There are many ways to create an email newsletter. To get the most professional results with minimal effort, you can sign up for a paid newsletter service like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.
If you want to do it yourself but have the widest range of newsletter formatting and styling tools, you can use Microsoft Word and merge your contacts from Excel.
But perhaps the easiest way to create your newsletter is to use Microsoft Outlook.
How to start a newsletter with Microsoft Outlook
Creating a newsletter template
The first step is to create a template that can serve as a consistent backbone for your newsletter every time you need to send it out. The template will define the background and font selection, as well as the overall structure of the newsletter, so you’ll just need to replace the text and images each time.
1. In Microsoft Outlook, click on “File” and then in the flyout on the left, choose “Options”.
2. In the Outlook Options window, click the “Mail” tab.
3. Click on “Stationary and Characters”.
4. Click on “Theme”.
5. Browse the themes and find the one you want to use. Some themes have custom background images, while others only customize the font style and color. When you find a theme, click “OK” to exit each dialog and return to the main Outlook window.
6. Click on “New Email”. The blank email should open with the theme attributes you just specified.
7. Now use this new email message window to create your email template. Create headings, sections, body text and insert images as needed – it’s up to you whether you want to create your first newsletter in its entirety or just use standard temporary text. Either way, create a backbone that you can edit with new text every time you want to send a new newsletter.
8. When you are done with the template, click on “File” and then “Save As”.
9. In the “Save as type” drop-down menu, choose “Outlook Template”.
10. Give your newsletter template a name and click “Save”.
You will probably want to go back to Outlook Options and reset the theme to the default, otherwise all future emails you send out will use the same theme you just selected for the email newsletter.
How to open and fill out a newsletter template
Once the template is saved, you can use it every day, week or month to send a new newsletter.
1. In Outlook, click “New Items” from the “New Email” tab and then, in the drop-down menu, choose “More Items”, then “Choose Form”.
2. In the Choose Module dialog box, click the drop-down menu for Look in and choose “User Template in File System”. You should now see a list of all the templates you have created and saved in Outlook.
3. Choose the template you want to use and click “Open”.
4. Now edit the standard text and images you entered while creating the template.
How to create a mailing list for your newsletter
If you create a newsletter using Microsoft Word, you need to merge your contacts from Excel because Word cannot handle email addresses by itself. But it’s much easier in Outlook, because as an email app it already has a contact database.
You simply need to create an email group so that you can send the newsletter to the right group of people quickly and easily.
1. In Outlook, click the Contacts icon at the bottom left of the window. Outlook should switch to Contacts view.
2. On the “New Contact” tab, click “Contact Group”.
3. In the untitled contact group window, click “Add Members” in the ribbon, then select “From Outlook Contacts”.
4. In the contact list, double-click each name you want to add to the group. You should see the name appear in the field below.
5. When you have added all contracts to your group, click “OK”.
6. At the top of the contact group window, type a name for the group (such as “Newsletter Distribution List”) and then click “Save & Close” in the ribbon.
How to send your newsletter to a mailing list
Now that you have created your mailing list, sending the newsletter is simple: in the Bcc field at the top of the email window, type the name of the group you created. As you type, you should see it appear as an auto suggestion. Select it and then click “Submit”.
You should always enter the mailing list in the Bcc field so that recipients cannot see the email addresses of others. This is a good newsletter etiquette because it preserves the privacy of your mailing list.
How to create a recurring newsletter reminder
If you plan to send out a newsletter on a regular basis, be it daily, weekly, monthly or with other schedules, Outlook can automatically remind you of the upcoming date. You simply need to set up a recurring event in your Outlook calendar.
1. In the lower left corner of Outlook, click the Calendar icon.
2. In the ribbon, click “New Appointment”.
3. Fill out the untitled appointment window. Enter a title, for example “Monthly Newsletter”. Enter the earliest start date and time.
4. In the ribbon, click “Recurrence”
5. In the Task Recurrence window, specify how often to receive the reminder. Select whether it should be daily, weekly or monthly, for example, and set when the event should repeat itself. When done, click “OK”.
6. When the reminder is all set up, click “Save & Close”. Outlook will now let you know when it’s time to prepare your newsletter.