Strategic, Effective, Digital Communication Tools

Here's what I've learned on my journey to develop the weekly "Tech Tip" emails for my school district (with the goal that folks will actually read them and learn something).

Auto-Play Witiin Emails
Within email, videos will not play (you must click on the link and open the video in a new tab to watch it).  GIFs (animated images) will play within the email because technically they are images not videos. 

Creating GIFs
I use a paid program called Camtasia to create GIFs and videos. If you search for free GIF creators, you will find oodles of options, but I haven't used any free ones to recommend specifically.  

Email Templates and Responsive Design
You can use third-party tools to find email templates that will automatically adjust to any device (responsive design). For example, if I view the email on my phone, my iPad, and my laptop, it will adapt and look awesome on all three! Here are a couple responsive design email template options:
Graphics, Images, Icons, & Logos
A picture is worth a thousand words... especially a consistent, clear, strategic one! To create your own logos and graphics, my two favorite sites are:
You can filter your Google Images search to only show you images "labeled for reuse," so you avoid violating copyright. To do this, search for your image, then click "Tools" under the search bar. This will expand the drop-down menus, including "Usage Rights."

Google Slides for Newsletters
I LOVE using GOOGLE SLIDES for newsletters.  They are free, unlimited, and easy to involve multiple collaborators. You can  insert photos, videos, and text. You can even set the videos to play automatically when the viewer goes to that slide. (To do this, right-click on the video in the slide, and select "Video Options.")  

When sharing the Slides newsletter, create and send the "Preview" version of the sharing-link, so it feels more like a newsletter than a 'file.'
Here are some slides about tools for sharing stories and newsletters. This is a "preview" link, so you can experience what it could be like if a newsletter were shared in this way.

*Click here to learn from Tony Vincent how to modify your Google file links.

Other Newsletter Tools
  • Adobe Spark is free. You can create videos, posts (social media), and pages (newsletter-ish).
  • smore is popular and embeds directly within email, but you only get a certain amount for free.
  • Piktochart is free and has templates for presentations, infographics, flyers, and more.


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