Newsletter design for print and email

How do you produce both a printed and email newsletter with the same content? I design several newsletters each month in InDesign for print (letter or legal size, typically double-sided) and send my client a PDF. Is there a quick and easy way to transform this layout for email? My client uses MailChimp. Many of the client’s members would like the option of both a print and digital newsletter.

If an HTML email consisting of live content is the objective, the answer is no. To get that, you’d have to rebuild the elements into the kind of HTML/CSS layout that is mail-client friendly. It’s been a while since I dabbled in such things, but I haven’t heard of any major breakthroughs. Last I knew, it meant table-based structural layout with inline CSS styling.

Other options include PDF attachment, link to server-resident PDF, or link to browser-based view via InDesign’s Publish Online feature.

Does the emailed newsletter contain all the same content as the printed newsletter? If so, that’s makes for an awfully long email. When I’ve built these sorts of things, there’s typically been a website I could link back to from the newsletter to read all the stories in their entirety. I’m assuming that’s not the case here, though.

Anyway, to answer your question, no, there’s not really a straight-forward way to go from a newsletter prepared for print to an emailed newsletter since the formatting is wildly different. It’s really a matter of optimizing your workflow so that you can copy from InDesign and paste into the MailChimp template while minimizing the steps you need to go through to do it.

At my last job, we had around a dozen weekly emailed newsletters — each of which had both print and website equivalents. Using various techniques to save time, like custom RegEx/AppleScript filters, screen captures, automated Photoshop actions, etc, we cut down the time it took to move one to the other to only a few minutes each. It really was a matter of thinking through all the steps and figuring out ways to be as efficient as possible.

Yes, it is the same content: a letter from a missionary with photos. The letter is usually about 600-1200 words. Thanks for the responses!

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